Graduate Certificate in Intercultural Leadership


Program Description

This extremely relevant 13-credit graduate certificate in Intercultural Leadership uses online and in-person facilitation to build on existing competencies by exploring attitudes and perceptions of self and others and applying this knowledge to practical situations.

As a student in the program, you will increase your understanding of intercultural competence and the necessary tools for working across cultural difference. Graduates of this program will have an increased ability to engage in the practical application of strategies to positively influence the climate for diversity within their organization.

Applications for admission to the fall term are due by July 15.

Career Outlook

According to Job Outlook 2018, an annual report produced by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, interpersonal skills and the ability to work in a team are among the most sought after skills in future employees.

After the completion of the program, students will be prepared to apply the skills that they have acquired through the Intercultural Leadership certificate to employment in the private sector, as well as local, state and government positions in healthcare, science, social work, law, community engagement, and education.

Program Structure

The Intercultural Leadership program is a 13-credit, five-course graduate certificate. Four courses are offered online, offering maximum flexibility to meet the needs of working professionals. Additionally, there will be a one-credit mandatory on-site residency that will be taken in tandem with the final course.

This program will prepare students for engagement in communication, actions, and behaviors that promote appropriate intercultural interactions. Students will learn strategies needed to interact with diverse cultural groups, strategies in cross-cultural communication, and the practical application of cultural responsiveness skills.

Is an Online Course Right for You?

Is an online course right for you? Here are several caveats about online learning before you take the plunge.

Online courses may require more time than on-campus classes.

  • If you are interested in an online course because you think that it will be less work than a traditional face-to-face course, then this style of learning may not be right for you. Believe it or not, you may spend more time studying and completing assignments in the online environment than you will in an on-campus course. How can that be? The online environment is text- and activity-based. To communicate with your instructor and other participants, you must type messages, post responses, and upload written assignments that might occur more often than in traditional courses. Also, reading lecture materials and engaging in learning activities can take more time than listening to an instructor deliver a lecture. Many participants believe that an online course is at least as much work as an on-campus course; some say that their online course involved more work. However, most participants feel that this additional workload is more than compensated for by the fact that they were able to "go to class" whenever they had the time, whether it be 2 a.m. or 6 p.m. Participants also like the fact that online courses involve many creative activities and learning experiences. Rather than being lectured at, you are an active participant in the learning process. Many participants believe this is more enjoyable and enhances their ability to apply what they are learning to real life.

Online courses require good time-management skills.

  • One of the many advantages of online courses is that you will be able to work on your coursework when you want to and where you want to. However, online courses are NOT self-paced courses. There are assignment deadlines just like an on-campus course. It can be very easy to miss these deadlines and fall behind in their coursework. Not meeting deadlines is the leading reason why online participants do not succeed. It is easy to procrastinate and put off reading, delay posting of messages on the discussion forum, and forget to upload written assignments. As with most things, if you don't manage your time properly, you will find yourself buried beneath a seemingly insurmountable mountain of coursework. Online courses require the self-discipline to set aside chunks of time to complete your studies. It means you have to make online studying a priority and not let other activities interfere.
  • This means that one quality you will need to have to be successful is 'discipline'. While you will be a part of an online community and will be working with others online, it is your responsibility to log in and participate. It can be all too easy to put off logging in when no is telling you to do it at a specific time every day. It is up to you to create a schedule for yourself to make sure you participate in your class, and that you give yourself enough time to complete assignments.

An online course may create a sense of isolation from your peers.

  • Studying alone with only the computer as your companion may be unsatisfying for someone who needs high levels of social activity as part of their learning experience. The online environment is a much different atmosphere that takes some getting used to. You should be aware of such feelings of isolation and be ready to seek help if they start to impede your studies. A quick e-mail to a classmate or your instructor can help you feel better connected if the sense of community you seek is missing. This is not to say that you will not have interaction with your classmates in an online course. Indeed, many online participants attest that online courses tend to provide more interaction with their peers and instructors. In fact, many of our participants say that they got to know their fellow classmates better in this type of learning environment.

Feedback for your posts and from instructors might be limited and delayed.

  • In a traditional classroom setting, participants will receive immediate feedback from their peers. Such immediacy will be lacking in the online environment. If you need more immediate feedback to your discussion comments, if you need to ask a lot of questions before you can understand a concept or an assignment, if you need the benefit of gestures or facial expressions to get your point across or to understand the comments of others, then online education might not be the best choice for you right now.
  • Also, feedback from your instructor will exclusively be in the form of written comments rather than oral comments. In traditional courses, instructors do make arrangements for in-person office hours or make special arrangements to meet participants. In an online course, there is usually no face-to-face contact with your instructor. If you feel that you need to see your instructor often in order to succeed, then online learning may not be right for you. However, you should plan on the vast majority of your contact with your instructor being via email or other electronic communications. Also, such communications will consist of delayed feedback, although most online instructors are good about responding to electronic communications within a short period of time.

Online courses require you to be an active learner.

  • Online courses depend on participants being active learners, in the sense that there is an expectation that learners will seek out additional information from the internet (e.g., articles and web pages) that will be inserted onto posts and in written assignments. Most traditional courses consist of passive learning in the form of transmitting information via lectures in the classroom, which takes away time from discussion. In the online environment, there will be short audio lectures to download, but most of the virtual classroom will consist of active learning activities, e.g., discussion forum, online group work, written assignments.
  • So, to do well in an online course you need to be (or become) an independent learner. There are, of, course, advantages to this as well. That online education offers the opportunity to be an independent learner is exactly what some people like about it. Many participants enjoy online discussions more than face-to-face discussions. Some participants are intimidated by speaking in front of a group or are reluctant to answer a question unless they know they are right. Online discussions give them time to reflect and compose discussion comments, as well as to read and reread the comments of others before they jump in the conversation themselves. Also, participants for whom English is a second language often feel more comfortable with the extra time to understand and reflect since it can be easy to get a little lost in a fast-paced class discussion.
  • One of the major advantages of online learning is the focus of an active learning style and learning from your peers. So, if you can manage the extra work that online learning might entail, develop good management skills, get used to the lack of face-to-face interaction, and tolerate delayed feedback, then be prepared to reap the benefits of online learning!

Program Completion Timeline

  • Courses will be offered in sequential order.
  • Participants are restricted to Fall admission.
  • Although most students complete the program within nine months, you will be allowed up to three years to complete the program.


Intercultural and Cross-Cultural Communication (3 credits)

  • The purpose of this course is to study communication within the context of the cultural setting. The three main goals are: to provide students with materials, both cognitive and experiential, with which they can develop an awareness of their own cultural identity; to increase their knowledge of the special communication problems to be expected in a cross-cultural situation; and to offer students the opportunity to apply new insights to cross-cultural encounters.

Historical Exploration of Race in the U.S. (3 credits)

  • This course will build on fundamental terms and concepts discussed in course one while examining identity-specific public policy and its impacts on various communities. Students will develop a deeper understanding of identities and intersectionality through the historical experiences of racial, ethnic, and cultural groups in the U.S.

Historical Exploration of Culture in the U.S. (3 credits)

  • Students will continue to examine the history of group identities in the U.S. through public policy and historical experiences. Special attention will be paid to the impact of social movements, advocacy, and allyship while providing practical skills for self- care.

Practical Application of Intercultural Leadership (3 credits)

  • In this course, students will learn and practice applying concepts of intercultural development to various aspects of their personal and professional life. Students will also gain tools to continue learning and developing their intercultural skills over the course of their lifetime.

Intercultural Impact Institute (1 credit)

  • The Intercultural Leadership Institute is an opportunity for students to engage in face-to-face intercultural learning and develop a deeper understanding of the concepts and skills learned over the four online courses. Additionally, this institute will provide the reflection and intergroup dialogue that is integral to intercultural development. Students will present their culminating project, an organizational assessment of their professional organization.


Admission to this online certificate program is selective. A U.S. bachelor’s degree or its equivalent from a non-U.S. educational institution is required. GRE is not required for admission to this program. No specific undergraduate course of study is required or recommended.

The certificate program can be taken on a full-time or part-time basis. For international participants, visas are not required because the program is offered online.

Application Materials Required

All application materials need to be submitted electronically, with the exception of your transcript, which will be delivered directly to the Graduate School.

  • For International Applicants: Official TOEFL or IELTS score reports: International applicants are required to demonstrate proficiency in the English language must be sent directly from either TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System) agencies. Minimum required scores are 80 on the Internet-based TOEFL, and 7.0 on the IELTS.
  • For Maryland Residents: Fill out the Residency Application on our website.
  • Statement of Academic Goals and Professional Interests - Submit with the online application a statement of academic purpose (300-500 words) addressing a) your purpose in pursuing this certificate degree and b) how the degree program fits into your overall professional goals.
  • Curriculum Vitae or Resume - Submit with the online application.
  • Transcripts from all prior colleges/universities. Submit official documents to the Graduate School (see below address) at the time of application. Individuals offered admission will be required to supply official documents (as indicated below for domestic and international participants) prior to enrollment for verification before our offer is considered official.
    • Domestic transcripts: Official transcripts must arrive in envelopes sealed by the issuing institutions certifying the awarding of the specified degree. Copies, opened, or unsealed envelopes, unofficial printout, or facsimiles will not be accepted as official documents. The process of requesting transcripts from universities can take many weeks, so please plan accordingly.
    • International transcripts: International applicants must provide one (1) official transcript in English and one (1) official native language transcript or mark sheet from each college or university attended.
  • Completed Online Application Form.
  • All official scores must be sent directly from either TOEFL (please use institution code #5848) or IELTS to the Graduate School.
  • Non-refundable application fee $75 (US): Pay online or send directly to Graduate School.

Note: GRE scores are not required for admission to this certificate program.

Program Snapshot

  • 13 Credits required to complete the certificate
  • Cost per credit hour: $635.50 (In-state), $861.50 (Out of state)
  • 9: Average number of months required to complete the certificate (may take up to 3 years).

Admission Deadlines

  • Now accepting applications for fall 2019. Applications are due July 15.
Last updated Sep 2019

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About the School

U.M.B. is Maryland's only public health, law, and human services university. Six professional schools and a Graduate School confer the majority of health care, human services, and law professional deg ... Read More

U.M.B. is Maryland's only public health, law, and human services university. Six professional schools and a Graduate School confer the majority of health care, human services, and law professional degrees in Maryland each year. Read less