Public Health Leadership Program's Online Public Health Leadership Certificate (+ Campus Visit)

Overview | Curriculum | Course Schedule | Eligibility, Application & Tuition | Contact Us

Check out more program details and information about how to apply to the Online Public Health Leadership Certificate via the Gillings Program Search (GPS) for prospective students.



As the challenges faced in public health continue to grow and become more varied, skills of practitioners must also be broadened. The traditional technical skills that are critical to performing the core functions must now be expanded to include greater management and, most important, leadership skills. Especially in recent years it has become clear that the new challenges faced in public health can be very severe in nature and cannot be predicted.

The Public Health Leadership Program offers an Online Certificate in Public Health Leadership. The Online Public Health Leadership Certificate is an 11-credit hour program of study. The content is the same as the core content taught in PHLP’s masters of public health (MPH) programs. All courses have been specially designed and developed for delivery online. Students will be able to register, receive materials, interact with faculty, order books and successfully complete this program while only traveling to campus once. A connection to the Internet is all that is required!


In reviewing this list of courses it should be noted that they include both specific leadership courses, devoted entirely to leadership topics, as well as other courses that include both leadership and management topics and other content areas that are critical for public health leaders to master.

The basis for the leadership topics included in these courses are competencies defined by The Council on Linkages Between Academia and Public Health Practice, and The National Public Health Leadership Development Network.

The curriculum for the Public Health Leadership Certificate will include four courses totaling 11 graduate credit hours:

PUBH 790: Public Health Leadership Seminar– Leadership Style: (2 credits) This course is conducted in a face to face workshop format. It is designed to further students’ understanding of leadership and of their leadership skills and style. As part of the seminar, students develop personal definitions of leadership and leadership development plans for the future. Students use several leadership assessments to understand various aspects of their leadership styles, including the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), FIRO B, and the Change Style Indicator.

PUBH 747: Project Management Principles & Practices (3 credits) This course presents an overview of leadership and management principles and practices with an emphasis on project management; it focuses on management and leadership skills that are applicable to team based organizations and to public health projects and programs. The lifecycle of a project, including planning and leadership of a project’s team and daily activities are presented in this course with a focus on ways to achieve maximum efficiency by means of the application of continuous quality improvement techniques to team/ project processes. The course builds on organizational and general management and leadership principles which are applicable to health and medical care, and which promote efficient project management. These management and leadership principles are consolidated using a systems approach to develop a “Quality Project Management System.”

PUBH 791: Core Principles of Leadership (3 credits) The Core Principles in Public Health Leadership course introduces students to major theories and concepts of leadership, ways of applying these to public health issues requiring leadership, and provides an opportunity for students to develop skills and resources for further developing their own and others’ leadership. Core Principles of Leadership will cover key topics such as major theories and models of leadership, leadership competencies, current public health issues and challenges, ethical issues in leadership, and approaches to change and leadership at the team, organizational and community level.

Choose from one of the following spring electives:

PUBH 730: Quality Improvement in Leadership (3 credits) This course explores managerial and organizational issues related to quality to assist managers who are or will be operating in various levels and types of healthcare and public health organizations. The course is designed to balance theory and practical lessons to increase students’ knowledge, skills and abilities to lead performance improvement in their organizations.

PUBH 731: Public Health Marketing (3 credits) This course will orient students to market-based strategies, models and tactics for improving individual and community health status within framework of marketing, strategic communication and advocacy.

PUBH 735: Policy Development in Public Health Leadership (3 credits) This course will address and integrate several key processes in policy development, including: informing, educating, and empowering people about health issues; mobilizing community partnerships to identify and solve health problems; and developing policies and plans that support individual and community health efforts.

PUBH 745 – Community Assessment and Health Improvement (3 Credits) Course focuses on development of knowledge and skills for interaction and assessment of population, advocacy, collaboration, partnerships, coalition building and constituency development.

PUBH 785 – Interdisciplinary Approaches to Occupational Health (3 Credits). Focuses on work, workplace exposures and hazards, and their effect on health. Interdisciplinary approaches to risk identification, reduction and communication will be emphasized within regulatory and ethical contexts.

Course Schedule

Schedule for the Online Public Health Leadership Certificate:

Schedule for the Online Public Health Leadership Certificate:

Summer: PUBH 790 – Leadership Skills (on campus)

Schedule for the Online Public Health Leadership Certificate:

Summer: PUBH 747 – Project Management

Schedule for the Online Public Health Leadership Certificate:

Fall: PUBH 791 – Leadership Principles

Schedule for the Online Public Health Leadership Certificate:

Spring: Elective

Checklist of requirements

Eligibility, Application and Tuition

  • Experienced public health practitioners who have assumed greater administrative and management responsibilities and desire more formal education in leadership skills.
  • Public health nurses and other public health specialists who want to broaden their knowledge and education to encompass leadership skills.
  • Public health and other health care professionals who want to learn how to improve their team leadership skills.
  • Those in health or social service related professions who may not need a full MPH, but wish to enhance their professional knowledge of how to be an effective leader in public health organizations.
  • Those wishing to pursue an MPH and expecting to use these credits towards that goal.
  • Priority given to those with at least five years in a health or social science related field.
  • Experience in management and administration.
  • Excellent English language skills, especially writing skills.
Most students will have a BA or above; however, we will consider applicants who can demonstrate equivalent related experience together with an Associate degree or certification in their field.


The summer 2018 application will open on September 1, 2017. The application deadline is February 2, 2018. Please note there are limited spaces available in the program. Thus, applying early will provide a better opportunity for admission.
To begin the application process, please click here. If you have problems with the online form, please contact Student Services Manager Michele Fulton.


For information on tuition rates, please consult the UNC Finance Office‘s tuition rates document (see Off-campus Programs tuition rates). Please note that the certificate programs do not qualify for financial aid at UNC-CH.

Contact Us

For additional information about the Online Public Health Leadership Certificate, please go to the Certificate FAQ page, or contact the faculty director Bill Sollecito at or Michele Fulton at 919.843.5758.

Learn more about distance education opportunities at UNC.