Certificate in Election Administration

Certificate in Election Administration

America’s election system faces an urgent need for professionals who are well-trained in the latest technology and techniques in the field and well-versed in the legal and policy challenges facing our voting system. The Humphrey School of Public Affairs is responding to this widespread need with a pioneering online program to prepare professionals in election administration.

Flexible Online Training

The Certificate in Election Administration is designed with maximum flexibility for those experienced individuals already managing state and local election offices, as well as those seeking to become part of the next generation of creative and committed leaders. Whether you are currently working in or considering a career in elections, this rigorous and relevant online 12-credit program will prepare you for advancement in the profession of election administration. Courses are taught by prominent leaders in election administration and are accessible online 24 hours a day from anywhere in the world. Watch this webinar that was recorded before the 2016 presidential election for a glimpse at topics covered.

Leading Experts in Election Administration

A steering committee made up of national experts in the field of elections and experienced election administrators guides the development of new course offerings and provides the program with national outreach and strong connections to the professional election community. Committee members include:

  • Doug Chapin, Director of Election Research, Fors Marsh Group; instructor, CEA faculty
  • Judd Choate, Director, Division of Elections, Colorado Department of State
  • Amy Cohen, Executive Director, National Association of State Election Directors
  • Lawrence Jacobs, Walter F. and Joan Mondale Chair for Political Studies, Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota
  • Tammy Patrick, Senior Advisor, Elections, Democracy Fund; CEA faculty
  • Leslie Reynolds, Executive Director, National Association of Secretaries of State

Meeting a National Need

This first-of-its-kind program in the U.S. is in direct response to the 2014 Presidential Commission on Election Administration report, which urged universities to integrate election administration into their curriculum in a concerted effort to expand professional expertise in the field. The program is presented in an accessible and stimulating online format that allows students to continue with their current employment while working toward a University certificate. 

Don't Have Your Bachelor's Degree?

If you are an elections professional who doesn't have a bachelor's degree, we invite you to apply for our undergraduate Certificate in Election Administration. Courses are the same for both certificate programs.

What You Will Gain:

  • Knowledge of ever-changing and complex election laws, regulations, and technology
  • Career-enhancing connections that tap into the experience of your peers
  • Ability to respond to the steady demand for experienced elections and voting professionals


The fully online Certificate in Election Administration requires 12 semester credits, including three core courses, one capstone project, and two elective credits.


PA 3969/5971 – Survey of Election Administration (3 cr.)
Comprehensive course on the general building blocks of election administration from voter registration to recounts. 

PA 3972/5972 – Elections and the Law (3 cr.)
A thorough examination of election laws at the federal, state, and local level and how they guide the conduct of elections by officials and voters alike.  

PA 3973/5973 – Strategic Management of Election Administration (2 cr.)
Strategic management for election administrators in the political environment.  The course will cover the distinct phases and hurdles of the policy process and skills for election officials to enact new policy.


PA 3974/5974 – Election Administration Capstone Project (2 cr.)
Students are invited to identify an election administration issue or problem in a jurisdiction of their choice and proceed to research best practices and possible solutions and write a final paper or prepare a presentation on their findings. 


PA 3975/5975 – Election Design (2 cr.)
An innovative course on design principles and how they are used in election administration. Through small, weekly assignments you will learn and practice new skills in plain language, design, and usability with real election materials.

PA 3976/5976 – Voter Outreach and Participation (1 cr.)
Why do some voters turnout while others don’t? This course investigates the patterns and history of voter participation and practical steps to increase voter turnout. 

PA 3982/5982 – Data Analysis for Election Administration (2 cr.)
This course will highlight the importance of evidence-based election administration, which focuses on collection and analysis of quantitative data to solve problems and identify opportunities for improvement. There will be an emphasis on pre-election forecasting for planning purposes as well as post-election auditing of election results

PA 3983/5983 – Cybersecurity and Elections (1 cr.)
This course examines the history of cyberattacks on the United States and the American election system, with special attention to the 2016 election cycle. Students will explore the types of cybersecurity threats that exist and strategies to protect against them.

Admission Criteria and Materials

Post-baccalaureate certificate (bachelor’s degree required): 

  • Resume
  • Personal Statement (In 500 words or fewer, double spaced, discuss your educational and professional experiences and goals related to election administration. )
  • College transcripts
  • TOEFL/IELTS scores (required for most non-native English speakers)

Apply now to the post-graduate certificate.

Undergraduate certificate (No bachelor’s degree required. 1 year of work experience in election administration or related field or 45 college credits):

  • Resume
  • Personal Statement (In 500 words or fewer, double spaced, discuss your educational and professional experiences and goals related to election administration. )
  • College transcripts (if applicable)
  • TOEFL/IELTS scores (required for most non-native English speakers)

Apply now to the undergraduate certificate.

Questions about the application process can be directed to Lea Chittenden at cspg@umn.edu or 612-625-2530


Please contact Lea Chittenden at cspg@umn.edu or 612-625-2530 for more information about tuition rates and group discounts.

If you are a University of Minnesota student enrolled in a different degree program and taking CEA courses, please check with your degree program for your tuition rate.


225 Humphrey School
301 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455