Certificate in Public Affairs Leadership Application Requirements

Upcoming application deadline for Certificate in Public Affairs Leadership admission: February 15

After February 15: Applications for admission considered on a space-available basis

The Certificate in Public Affairs Leadership offers mid-career professionals specific knowledge and skills in leadership, management, public policy, and analysis to succeed in today's challenging environment.

The Humphrey School considers many factors when choosing applicants for admission. We evaluate attributes such as prior academic achievement, professional and public service experience, commitment to a career in public affairs or planning, and a fit between the applicant's interests and goals and the programs at the Humphrey School.

All applicants for certificate programs are required to have a four-year bachelor's degree from an accredited U.S. university or foreign equivalent at the time of enrollment.

Before You Apply: Connect with Us

For questions about the application process, please email the admissions team.

For questions about the Certificate in Public Affairs Leadership program, please contact Steve Kelley ([email protected]).


  • At least 10 years of post baccalaureate professional work experience. Pre-baccalaureate experience may be considered for applicants with a significant gap (15 years or more) between completion of high school and college.
  • Four-year bachelor's degree from an accredited US university or foreign equivalent
  • At least one course in political science (that analyzes political institutions) is strongly recommended
  • Sufficient prior academic preparation
  • Proficiency in MS Excel and Word is strongly recommended

Certificate in Public Affairs Leadership Application Checklist

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1. Personal statement

A personal statement is required of all applicants. In 500 words or fewer, double spaced, discuss your educational and professional experiences and goals. Relate these goals to your personal history and to the programs at the Humphrey School.

2. Diversity statement

The diversity statement is optional yet recommended for all applicants. The statement should discuss how your background, experiences, and achievements will contribute to the University's goal of promoting excellence through diversity. If applicable, applicants should mention hardships or obstacles that they have overcome to complete their undergraduate education (e.g. low-income and first-generation college applicants).

3. Resume or CV

A resume or CV is required of all applicants. Please include information about awards, leadership, and service or volunteer activities in your resume.

4. Transcripts

Transcripts are required of all applicants. Unofficial transcripts or academic records of all post secondary institutions attended should be uploaded directly to the online application. Please do not mail in paper copies of your transcripts (there is no need for official transcripts or academic records for initial review). If you are admitted, the University will then request official copies of this material.

5. English language requirement

The University of Minnesota and the Humphrey School requires international applicants to submit scores from either the TOEFL, IELTS, or MELAB examination to assess English language proficiency. Visit the Graduate School website for more information on the English language requirement and minimum scores for admission.

6. Extenuating Circumstances

Applicants wishing to provide additional information to the admissions committee which is not appropriate for other required documents but may be helpful in their consideration as a candidate for admission can submit a statement of extenuating circumstances. Examples may include, but are not limited to: explanations for grade trends during undergraduate work, time lapses between employment as documented in the resume/CV, or other personal circumstances which may provide additional and helpful context.

7. Application fee

The application fee is $75 for domestic students and $95 for international students.

8. Start your application

All Humphrey School applicants must complete the Graduate School application including the additional Humphrey School section.

Apply today