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Community Advocacy

College of Professional Studies

Graduate Certificate
Location(s): Online Learning

Program Overview

The Graduate Certificate in Community Advocacy for non-profit organizations is designed to meet the graduate educational needs of students preparing to become leaders of community activism or to become change agents for public policy. It responds to a specific need stated by leaders of several non-profit organizations - to bring together existing courses into a concentration that focuses exclusively on challenging and building community awareness, a need made more acute with the re-emergence of grassroots mobilization as a key component to community advocacy.

The Graduate Certificate in Community Advocacy’s 6-course (18-credit-hour) curriculum combines necessary practical skills with a deep understanding of the basic philosophies by which communities are organized to bring about change in the commonweal.

The centrality of grassroots participation by individuals in the political process to affect substantive change in the body politic or commonweal has recently re-merged. This recognition faded somewhat in the mid-twentieth century as broadcast media became viewed as either the principal or even the only way to move the body politic. The re-emergence of grassroots activism is due to the success of recent political campaigns that have stressed traditional grassroots techniques buttressed by such new technologies as micro-targeting and the new media spawned by the Internet.

The practicum is guided by both a GSPM faculty member working jointly with the partnering organization. Over the course of the semester, students develop a case study, which is of value to the partnering organization and to GSPM faculty for use in future classes.

Classes meet Monday through Thursday evenings on GW’s main campus in Foggy Bottom. While the certificate can be earned in a few as two semesters, students typically finish all coursework in one year. Students may subsequently apply coursework completed in the certificate program to the Master’s Degree in Political Management.

NOTE: Currently, the certificate program is only available through participating non-profit, partnering organizations. This restriction may be removed at a later date.

Admission Requirements

Admission deadlines:

Spring – November 1

Recommendations required:

Three (3) recommendations (preferably at least one professional and one academic recommendation)

Prior academic records:

Transcripts are required from all colleges and universities attended, whether or not credit was earned, the program was completed, or the credit appears as transfer credit on another transcript.  Unofficial transcripts from all colleges and universities attended should be uploaded to your online application.  Official transcripts are required only of applicants who are offered admission.

Transcripts from institutions outside the United States must be accompanied by an official transcript evaluation from an accredited independent evaluating agency. Please be sure you request a detailed, course-by-course evaluation that includes all course titles, credit hours, grade-point average (GPA), United States degree equivalency, and date of degree conferral. For a list of acceptable foreign credential evaluation services.

Statement of purpose:

In an essay of 250-500 words, state your purpose in undertaking graduate study in this field and describe your academic objectives, research interests, and career plans. Also, discuss your related qualifications, including collegiate, professional, and community activities, as well as any other substantial accomplishments not already mentioned on the application form.

Additional requirements:

A resumé.

Supporting documents not submitted online should be mailed to:
College of Professional Studies – Office of Admission
The George Washington University
1925 Ballenger Avenue, Suite 250
Alexandria, VA 22314

Contact for questions:
CPS Office of Admissions ~ 703.299.9142 (phone) ~ 703.299.4144 (fax)
8:30 am – 5:00 pm EST, Monday through Friday