Leadership and Communication

BAAS Concentration in Leadership and Communication
Leadership and Communication

About the concentration in Leadership and Communication

Future entrepreneurs, managers, directors, and visionaries can unlock their leadership potential through a wide-ranging curriculum, lessons from expert practitioners, and strategies for self-knowledge. The concentration in Leadership and Communication provides the practical knowledge and critical thinking skills you need to develop effective, ethical, career-boosting leadership and communication—tailored to your personal strengths and professional interests. In this interdisciplinary degree concentration, you combine analytical and reflective studies with practical introductions to data analysis and global leadership and explore how positive psychology can support your leadership goals in the workplace and beyond.

The concentration in Leadership and Communication was designed in partnership with Civic, a Washington, DC-based organization that partners with institutions in a variety of sectors to develop new policy initiatives.

The concentration in Leadership and Communication prepares you to:

  • Identify, develop, and apply distinctive leadership traits and skills
  • Develop strategies and skills to persuade specific audiences through verbal, visual, and written communication
  • Practice and apply critical thinking skills in the classroom and beyond
  • Understand and apply insights from empirical research in economics, psychology, and other social sciences
  • Explore competing schools of thought about leadership ethics
  • Develop a five-year leadership plan tailored to your professional strengths and goals
  • Learn how to use quantitative data in decision-making and problem-solving
  • Learn the historical and empirical foundations of positive psychology and the science of wellbeing
  • Explore key research themes (e.g., positive emotions, strengths, engagement, relationships, meaning, and accomplishment) and their relevance in personal and organizational settings
  • Apply research in positive psychology by practicing strategies that influence wellbeing
  • Investigate applications of positive psychology in different professional settings, including business, education, healthcare, and the nonprofit sector
  • Examine case studies in global leadership to learn effective strategies in learning and problem-solving across organizational and national borders


Students in the Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences degree choose a concentration to tailor their undergraduate education to specific personal and professional goals. 

Students must complete foundational courses for the Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences degree. In addition, students in this concentration focus their studies by completing a total of 12 courses (12 c.u.*). Transfer credits cannot be used toward any of the 12 Leadership and Communication concentration courses. Students who pursue this concentration should begin with either LEAD 1010: Leadership Theory and Practice or LEAD 1040: Professional Communication and Personal Development. Otherwise, courses may be taken in any order unless prerequisites are specified.

Please note: To be admitted to the Leadership and Communication concentration, you must have:

  • Completed two Leadership and Communication courses (LEAD 1010 plus any one of the following LEAD courses: LEAD 1040, LEAD 2020, LEAD 2030, LEAD 3100, LEAD 3200 or LEAD 3300))
  • Maintained an average of B or better, and received a grade of B+ or better in at least one of those five courses

Leadership Foundations

Leading Across Sectors

Leading Positively

Global Leadership

*Academic credit is defined by the University of Pennsylvania as a course unit (c.u.). A course unit (c.u.) is a general measure of academic work over a period of time, typically a term (semester or summer). A c.u. (or a fraction of a c.u.) represents different types of academic work across different types of academic programs and is the basic unit of progress toward a degree. One c.u. is usually converted to a four-semester-hour course.

Certificates related to Leadership and Communication

See your advisor to explore earning the following certificates along with your degree. Note that these certificates are not earned automatically upon completing your degree; your advisor will help ensure that your academic plan meets the requirements of your preferred certificate.

The Leadership and Communication team: Penn LPS and Civic

Penn’s Leadership and Communication curriculum represents an ongoing team effort involving distinguished Penn-affiliated scholars and top present and former leaders in government, business, and the nonprofit sector. Both the 5-course Leadership and Communication certificate and the 12-course Leadership and Communication concentration were forged through a collaboration between Penn’s College of Liberal and Professional Studies (LPS) and Civic. As Penn’s home for lifelong learning, LPS offers high school, undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, graduate, summer, and online studies, as well as customized professional training with courses that span across academic fields. Civic works with universities, nonprofits, corporations, foundations, businesses, and governments to develop innovative programs in the fields of education, national service, civic engagement, conservation, public health, and more.

Meet the Leadership and Communication team

Chao Guo, PhD

Chao Guo, PhD

  • Associate Faculty Director, Fox Leadership International
  • Associate Professor, School of Social Policy & Practice
Ferdous Jahan, PhD

Ferdous Jahan, PhD

  • Distinguished Senior Fellow, Fox Leadership International
Don Kettl, PhD

Don Kettl, PhD

  • Former Dean, School of Public Policy, University of Maryland
John Lapinski

John Lapinski, PhD

  • Robert A. Fox Leadership Professor, Faculty Director of the Robert A. Fox Leadership Program, University of Pennsylvania
  • Faculty Director of Penn’s Program for Opinion Research and Election Studies
  • Director of the Elections Unit, NBC News
Nora E. Lewis

Nora E. Lewis

  • Vice Dean of Professional and Liberal Education
Elizabeth Matthew

Elizabeth Matthew, EdD

  • Former Associate Director, Curriculum Development and Instruction, Penn LPS Online
Rebecca Padot

Rebecca Padot, PhD

  • Assistant Professor, Department of History and Government, Misericordia University
  • Senior Fellow, Penn Partnership for Religion and Urban Civil Society
  • Penn Partnership for Effective Public Administration and Leadership
James O. Pawelski, PhD

James O. Pawelski, PhD

  • Faculty Director, Penn LPS Online Certificate in Applied Positive Psychology
  • Professor of Practice and Director of Education, Positive Psychology Center
Charlotte Ren, Associate Professor of Strategic Management at Temple University’s Fox School of Business

Charlotte Ren, PhD

  • Professor of Practice in Strategy and Innovation, School of Arts and Sciences
  • Faculty Director, Global Master of Public Administration, School of Arts and Sciences
  • Senior Fellow, Mack Institute for Innovation Management, The Wharton School
Stephanie Scott, PhD

Stephanie Scott, PhD

  • Associate Director, Online Curriculum
Joseph P. Tierney

Joseph P. Tierney

  • Executive Director of the Robert A. Fox Leadership Program

Professional outcomes related to Leadership and Communication

Leadership and communication skills are vital to succeeding, thriving, and advancing in any career. This concentration is designed to provide you with a thoughtful framework to deploy your leadership abilities while gaining valuable skills with broad professional applications in a range of fields. 

  • Increase your effectiveness as a leader
  • Customize your approach to professional development
  • Practice strategies for impactful communication
  • Learn how data may be applied to decision-making in professional contexts