Graduate Certificate in Public Sector Leadership

Gain the comprehensive knowledge tools to become a Public Sector Leader


Governmental organizations across the globe are facing unprecedented challenges. They operate in increasingly complex environments shaped by economic uncertainty, rapid social change, technological innovation, expanded policy objectives, and growing lists of citizen expectations of what government should deliver. How do public sector organizations do more with less while creating visible ways to win and maintain the faith of their constituents? It begins with leadership.

Old Dominion University, with the input of Federal government leaders, has developed a program designed to equip public sector leaders (or potential leaders) with the tools to create disciplined, systematic approaches toward solving the management problems they often face. The Graduate Certificate in Public Sector Leadership consists of four primary areas: Strategic Management, Contracting Principles, Financial Management, and Cybersecurity, utilizing a hybrid delivery model. Each area represents a vital skill necessary to build the cornerstones of public service: accountability, responsibility and ethics.

Advance your career, increase your potential earnings, and move ahead of the competition with ODU's Graduate Certificate in Public Sector Leadership. Please contact us at 757-683-5650 or email us at if you have further questions.

About the Course

What should I expect?


Courses are hosted weekly on the ODU Norfolk campus, with the option to participate as a distance learning student (online). After you have been accepted to ODU as a non-degree seeking student your course files will become available prior to the beginning of class through Canvas.

The School of Continuing Education will assist you in obtaining your MIDAS ID and other credentials required to access ODU systems.

Contact for more information.

Learning Methods

  • Delivery: Live on Norfolk campus & Online-live
  • Courses are hosted consecutively on an accelerated schedule.
  • Blended cohort size: 20-25 personnel
  • Navy, federal civilian, state & local government, not-for-profit, and full-/part-time ODU students


  • Books and Materials are not included in the cost of the course.
  • Book information will become available on Canvas after admission and registration.

Who should take this course?

  • As a director, you can expect that sending staff to this course will expose them to an enterprise based, "best practices," systemic approaches to executing their responsibilities.
  • As a public sector employee, this program was created to address identified areas of need within governmental organizations. Enhancing these skills can provide opportunities for advancement and promotion.

What are the pre-requisites?

  • Candidates for the program should hold a baccalaureate degree. Student BA/BS and application for admission to ODU as a non-degree seeking student.
  • No GMAT/GRE required.
  • Admission to Old Dominion University can be done as a non-degree-seeking student where no GRE or placement tests are needed.
  • 12 credit hours is the maximum that a student can take before admission into the College or Department of choice.
  • Apply as a non-degree seeking student. There is a $50 application fee.

Tuition & Fees

Review ODU Fee schedule, and add the cost of books.

Course Details

This Certificate Program consists of 12 graduate credits (4 courses @ 3 credits each).

This course provides an overview of the field of cybersecurity. It covers core cybersecurity topics including computer system architectures, critical infrastructures, cyber threats and vulnerabilities, cryptography, cryptographic protocol design, information assurance, network security, and risk assessment and management. Students are expected to become familiar with fundamental security concepts, technologies, and practices, and develop a foundation for further study in cybersecurity. 3 Credits


Examination of the theory and practice of organization development. Participants will take the role of change agent and public manager and apply a range of organization development techniques to public agency situations while giving attention to the particular cultural, political, legal and organizational characteristics of public organizations. 3 Credits

This course provides an overview of contracting as a key category of functional activity and a viable management tool in government at any level. There is a specific focus in this course on the context and scope of contracting within the broader governmental enterprise, the evolving role of contracting in government, the phases in the contracting cycle, and how best practice contracting can be an effective difference-maker for governmental executives, managers, and all stakeholders in governmental contracting.

The course introduces the student to how properly-aligned, best-practice contracting can support the missions, visions, and goals of public organizations. Challenges and opportunities for all participants and stakeholders in the public procurement process are addressed. Special attention is given to changes currently occurring in the practice of governmental contracting. 3 Credits

Public finance is a field of study that draws from public administration, economics, finance, and accounting. The objective of this course is to provide a foundation of the principles of public budgeting and financial management and an introduction to the skills necessary for sound management of public sector financial resources. Subjects covered are public budgeting, debt administration, and tax administration. Student participation in exercises and discussions will increase their understanding. Weekly exercises throughout the semester are geared toward providing students with the opportunity to practice the topics discussed. 3 Credits