Certificate in Leadership


Leaders work among us in many roles within our organizations and we rely on them to inspire, motivate and guide teamwork. Organizations in the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors are moving away from traditional management functions and adopting leadership models that focus on employee empowerment and engagement. In order to become an effective leader, it's important to keep abreast of current leadership styles and philosophies.

To support our communities and businesses, OpenEd has partnered with the Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics to create a well-respected University of Guelph Certificate in Leadership program.

About the Certificate in Leadership

The Certificate in Leadership is a multidisciplinary, five-course program. By combining face-to-face and online courses, the program aims to prepare you to thrive in today's dynamic workplace and to serve your community by equipping you with the necessary leadership skills to make a difference in your organization.

The program consists of two required courses and three elective courses, in addition to 120 hours of leadership experience.

If you are looking to build on your strengths and meet the needs of a changing workplace, then the Certificate in Leadership program is for you. Available to Open Learning program students, undergraduates, recent graduates and professionals across industries, this certificate program will provide you with a meaningful exploration of new leadership models and practical applications in a variety of organizational settings. 

Leadership Practice

An important component of the Leadership Certificate is the leadership experience, during which you complete 120 hours in an approved placement. The purpose is to encourage you to explore and develop a range of critical skills and competencies within a leadership context. With this goal in mind, you must complete your leadership practice prior to registering in the capstone course.

Please email Connie Zavitz in the Department of Management for more information about the leadership practice component.

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the Certificate in Leadership, you will have gained:

  • An historical and theoretical understanding of leadership with particular emphasis on contemporary theories, models and research
  • The ability to balance management knowledge and strategic leadership competencies
  • A broad and multifaceted perspective on the challenges of acquiring, developing, engaging and leading people in pursuit of organizational effectiveness
  • The skills to apply contemporary leadership theories and models to real life problems
  • Leadership experience by completing 120 hours of leadership practice

How to Register

University of Guelph Degree Students

If you are a University of Guelph degree student, please register for your courses through WebAdvisor.

Open Learning Program Students

For your convenience, you can register for courses using OpenEd's new secure online registration system.

Register button.

Visit our How to Register page for alternative ways to register and for methods of payment.

Please note that some courses and programs have an approval process that must be completed prior to confirming enrolment. See specific individual course description pages for details.

If you have any questions about registration, please email our main office or phone us at 519-767-5000.



The following two courses are required for certificate completion:

HROB*2010/HROB*2010DE - Foundations of Leadership

Using an integrated approach to studying leadership, this foundation course covers history, evolving theories, models, and research both from a theoretical point of view and practical application. This course will use a seminar style with applied workshops, class discussions, guest speakers, and student participation. Students will prepare elements of a skills portfolio and a research paper.

View the HROB*2010DE course description page.

HROB*4010/HROB*4010DE - Leadership Certificate Capstone 

This course is the capstone course for students completing the Certificate in Leadership. Based on their prior course work and experience in their leadership placements, students will examine the relationships between leadership theory and practice, assess their effectiveness in a leadership role, and develop a personal plan for further developing their leadership skills.

View the HROB*4010DE course description page.

Choose one of the following required courses:

PHIL*2120/PHIL*2120DE - Ethics

Philosophical ethics is the attempt to systematize, explain, and justify the standards by which we evaluate our conduct as persons. The course may include treatment of controversial ethical issues such as abortion, euthanasia, war, and the treatment of animals and will cover many of the following questions: can we expect to find a single, universal code of ethics that applies to all human beings, or do such codes vary for each society or even for each individual? What are the roles or reason and emotion in ethics? Is morality grounded on a principle, and if so, what is it? Are there any traits of character that one must have to be a good person? Given that traditional ethical codes have been almost universally sexist, how must ethics be refashioned in order for women to achieve equal recognition?

View the PHIL*2120DE course description page.

PHIL*2600/PHIL*2600DE - Business and Professional Ethics

This course examines ethical and evaluative issues relating to business and professional practices, and is intended for students registered in a science or professional program, but without a background in philosophy. Topics to be explored include the nature of values and ethical systems, duties and rights, private and public goods, the consumer movement, social marketing, corporate social accounting, private right and professional responsibility.

View the PHIL*2600DE course description page.

POLS*3440/POLS*3440DE - Corruption, Scandal and Political Ethics

This course will introduce students to the phenomenon of political corruption and the study of its incidence. Attention will be paid to historical examples, contemporary scandals, and analytical articles, dealing with the nature, causes and effects, and proposed cures of political corruption, and the ethical dilemmas inherent in political life.

View the POLS*3440DE course description page.


Choose two of the following elective courses:

EDRD*3140DE - Organizational Communication

This course explores the application of communication process theory to organizations with special emphasis on internal organizational processes experienced at individual, group and organizational levels. Students examine communication in different organizational contexts including civil society, government, business and transnational corporations. (Offered through Distance Education only.) 

View the EDRD*3140DE course description page.

EDRD*3160DE - International Communication

This course examines the role of communication in global development. Emphasis is on the application of interpersonal, intercultural communications and the mass media in the development process. (Offered through Distance Education only.)

View the EDRD*3160DE course description page.

EDRD*4120DE - Leadership Development in Small Organizations

The main theories of leadership will be discussed with exploration of the current literature, practice leadership skills and perform relevant activities in an on-line environment. Emphasis will be placed on the communication challenges facing leaders in small organizations and the importance of developing a culture of shared leadership. (Offered through Distance Education only.)

View the EDRD*4120DE course description page.

HROB*2090/HROB*2090DE - Individuals and Groups in Organizations

The course serves as an overview to organizational behaviour. It examines the individual, the group, the organization and how the three interrelate in order to enhance performance and productivity.

View the HROB*2090DE course description page.

HROB*2290/HROB*2290DE - Human Resources Management 

This course examines the essential human resource function of planning, staffing, employee training and development, employee assistance programs, the legal environment and employee maintenance in a variety of organizational settings.

View the HROB*2290DE course description page.

HROB*4030 - Advanced Topics in Leadership and Organizational Management

Students will actively examine issues in selected topic areas of human resource management at an advanced level and with a focus on application in an actual organizational setting. The focal area of the course, or range of human resource management topics covered by the course, will vary depending on instructor. Selected topic areas may include corporate social responsibility, leadership issues, strategic human resource management, gender issues, human rights issues, recruitment methods and outcomes, functional job analysis and validation methods, job performance criteria and appraisal tools, selection processes and tools, organizational justice, work attitudes, and prejudice and discrimination in the workplace. Specific topic areas will be announced prior to the course selection period.

View the HROB*4030 course description in the Undergraduate Calendar.

HROB*4100 - Evidence-Based People Management

This course provides students with the opportunity to conduct hands-on research in an organization on issues that relate to Human Resource Management. Students will work in groups and be expected to find organizations for their research project. Although students will be primarily accountable for finding their organizations to work with, instructor support will be provided to assist students if difficulties arise. The instructor will also serve as a resource throughout the project. Lecture topics include: understanding organizational issues, understanding the consulting process (e.g. engagement, communication, ethics), project planning, data collection methods in an applied context (e.g. sampling, confidentiality, practical constraints), and report writing.

View the HROB*4100 course description in the Undergraduate Calendar.

MGMT*2150DE - Introduction to Canadian Business Management

This is an introductory course in the fundamentals of business management in Canada. Students will be exposed to the basic functions of business and management. This course will also cover small business and entrepreneurship, forms of business ownership, competing in the global business environment and the economic and political realities of business in Canada today. 

View the MGMT*2150DE course description page.

PHIL*2100/PHIL*2100DE - Critical Thinking

This course is designed to develop clarity of thought and method in the analysis and construction of arguments. By contrast to PHIL*2110, the emphasis here is upon informal principles of critical thinking and arguments stated in terms of ordinary language. Topics include the nature and methods of arguing, classification, definition and fallacies.

View the PHIL*2100DE course description page.

POLS*2250/POLS*2250DE - Public Administration and Governance

The course explores, from both practical and theoretical perspectives, planning and implementation of programs and services through government departments and agencies and "alternative" processes and structures, sometimes involving non-governmental actors. The course critically evaluates the changing role of bureaucracy; financial and human resource management; and the evolving concepts of responsibility and accountability.

View the POLS*2250DE course description page.

Please note that course codes ending with the letters "DE" indicate the course is offered online.

Additional Information

When you have completed all the requirements for this certificate, you can request your parchment through the OpenEd Student Portal.

If you would like additional information on distance education, please visit our Online Learning at U of G page.

Contact Us

Open Learning Program 

Open Learning Program Counsellor
Open Learning and Educational Support
Johnston Hall,  Room 142
Phone: 519-824-4120 ext. 56050
Email: counsellor@OpenEd.uoguelph.ca

Leadership Practice Inquiries

Connie Zavitz
External Relations & Student Advising
Department of Management
Phone: 519-824-4120 ext. 54078
Email: domleadcerthrob4010@uoguelph.ca