School of Leadership and Professional Advancement

705 Libermann Hall
Pittsburgh, PA 15282
Phone: 412.396.5600
Fax: 412.396.5072

By bringing forth the best that is within us and by working together with committed others, we can make a difference and change the world.

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Community Leadership

The Master of Science in Leadership, concentration in Community Leadership (MSCL) is designed for the education of leaders who are committed to transforming the quality of life in local and international communities.

The MSCL program will enable students to:

  • Create and sustain transformational community change
  • Lead, motivate and empower others
  • Strengthen the overall societal impact of individuals and organizations
  • Communicate effectively and persuasively to build consensus
  • Leverage the use of resources to further an organization's mission
  • Form and maintain effective coalitions and partnerships
  • Recognize and build upon individual and organizational strengths

globe with hands

Many people are excited by the thought of climbing the corporate ladder, but that isn't your primary goal. Yes, you want the challenge of growing an organization and seeing it thrive, but you want your life and career to mean more than raising the stock dividend or buying up the competition. You want it to make a meaningful impact that will live on after you. The faculty and staff of Duquesne University's School of Leadership and Professional Advancement feel the same way, which is why we offer a program designed to mentor and enhance the skills of leaders who will tackle the challenges facing our society and the world.

Community Leadership Concentration Core Focuses

Throughout this program, students are exposed to various techniques and strategies for improving their leadership capabilities. A total of 5 core courses are prescribed for Community Leadership Master's Degree students. Courses focus on the following principles:

  • Collaboration - Students engage in coursework and discussions pertaining to how local and regional partnerships are created between different types of organizations, like nonprofits and for-profit groups.
  • Design and Development - Students critically examine how individuals and organizations act during different stages of the organizational life cycle. Practices like strategic planning and different organizational structures are studied through the lens of how each positively affects the community.
  • Community and Change - Throughout the course, students view the community as the centerpiece of cultural, social and economic life. Strategies for balancing conflicting needs, such as individual vs. common good are discussed throughout.
  • Catalyzing Change - Through a practical application model, students organize and execute a plan for community change. Each student chooses an area of focus, attempting to impact a specific sphere of society.
  • Governing for Community Leadership - students enrolled in this course focus on how leaders protect organizations and ensure their sustainability. Different leadership responsibilities, such as communicating with stakeholders, are discussed in depth.

This Degree Prepares Graduates for Careers in:

  • Manager of Volunteer Services
  • Grant Writer
  • Community Educator
  • Community Resource Coordinator
  • Human Services Manager
  • Community Programmer and Evaluator
  • County Extension Agent
  • Training and Development Specialist

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

- Margaret Mead


The comprehensive 36-credit curriculum consists of twelve 3-credit hour courses, including 8 required courses and 4 electives.   Courses are taught by highly experienced community professionals, carefully selected for their experience and expertise in community leadership and mastery of pedagogy.

Program Structure

The academic year is structured with three semesters per year: a 15-week term in fall and spring and an eight-week term in summer. If you take two courses for the fall, spring and summer semesters, the degree can be completed in two years. Courses are entirely online.

As a student you'll have access to learning resources and support services including the Duquesne University Library, online writing center, and contact with faculty and advisors.  You’ll join a peer-learning network of people from the community and corporate, nonprofit, government and military sectors. As a graduate you’ll join a network of more than 86,000 active alumni located around the globe.

Learning Community

You will learn about organizational design and development; strengthening the overall societal impact of individuals and organization; nonprofit governance; and creating powerful community change toward a sustainable future.  Current students include: nonprofit consultant, executive director, grants administrator, case manager, director of development, academic advisor, and alumni director.