Community-Based Leadership and Development

The Certificate in Community-Based Leadership & Development is designed for students who want to be positive change agents and who seek to effectively engage, center, and empower community members when working towards social justice. In order to train students in this vision of leadership, the curricula prioritizes student learning within and across the following three areas: 

  • Participatory democratic skills, paths of civic engagement and personal empowerment;

  • Knowledge and analysis of the operation of power and inequality in politics and policy, across social groups, and within institutions and organizations;

  • Applied, engaged, community-based service work and research in our metropolitan community.

A core element of this Certificate is its focus on courses with service-learning projects and/or collaborative research with community organizations, to give you practical experience in current and local efforts, exposure to types of community organizations and processes, and applied understanding of concepts and theories from coursework. The Certificate can complement your major or it can be taken as a stand-alone credential.

As an interdisciplinary Certificate, students will have the opportunity to choose among a variety of electives in different subfields, such as health and the environment, community development, Michigan politics, entrepreneurship, and gender and sexuality.

Certificate Requirements 

15 credits are required for the certificate.

Non-degree students are required to take one Foundations course focusing on civic engagement, cultural competency, and/or diversity, including but not limited to:

FNDS 1202Democratizing Democracy: Expanding, Suppressing, Idealizing, & Ignoring the Right to Vote in Amer3
FNDS 1205Understanding Global Cultures3
FNDS 1301Trauma, Text, & the City3
FNDS 1309Let’s Talk about Talk!3
FNDS 1601OK Boomer: Gen Z and Civic Engagement 3
FNDS 1602Hope and Joy in Queer and Trans Lives3
FNDS 1604Biology is Not Destiny: Exploring the Role of Culture on Human Biology3
FNDS 1605DIY in Detroit3
FNDS 1606The A to Z of Aging and Why it Matters NOW3
FNDS 3201Weeds, Wastelands and the Salvation of the World3
FNDS 3301Restless Women3

Degree and non-degree students must complete one of the following courses:

SOC 200Understanding Society3
HHS 210Intro to Social Work3

Degree and non-degree students must complete one of the following courses:

HHS 350Comm Organizing for Health3
POL 334Organizing and Leadership3

Degree and non-degree students must complete one of the following courses:

AAAS 304Detroit History and Culture3
BA 320Project Management and Leadership Skills 3
HHS 250Intro to Environmental Health3
POL 322Michigan Government, Politics, & Public Policy3
POL 323Urban Politics3
POL 484Revitalizing Cities3
URS 300Urban and Regional Studies3
WGST 404Dissed: Differ, Power, Discrim3
WGST 451Family Diversity & Power3

Degree students complete 2 and non-degree students complete 1 of the following courses:

AAST 3151Public History in Arab Detroit3
AAST 3634History of Islam in the US3
ANTH 376Power & Privilege in Southeast Michigan3
COMM 364Writing for Civic Literacy3
CRJ 363Crim Justice Syst and Policy3
CRJ 417Crimmigration3
CRJ 483Justice, Crime and Environment3
ENT 403Social Entrepreneurship3
HHS 313Metro Impact of HHS3
JASS 315Media Production for Metropolitan Community3
SOC 435Urban Sociology3
SOC 476Inside Out Prison Exchange4
URS 450Senior Capstone in Community Research3


  1. If a course changes to be non-ASL or community-engaged it will no longer count toward this list, to be determined by the Director of the Urban & Regional Studies Program.
  2. Students may petition to transfer in 3 of the 15 required credits
  3. A minimum 2.5 GPA in the courses within the certficate is required.
  4. Number of Pass/Fail Classes Allowed: 1