Graduate Certificate in Community Advocacy
The advanced graduate certificate in community advocacy will provide students with the opportunity to develop skills to better advocate for the clients and communities they serve. Students will acquire greater knowledge of the regulatory environment and processes (both governmental and private) in the areas in which they work and will be better able to network within those environments on behalf of specific clients, or to effect change in the policies that impact their communities. More specifically, students in this certificate program should gain analytical skills regarding community and institutional organizations and historical and cultural differences in human development and of power relations and justice. They should be able to apply these skills in a service-learning environment, in addition to demonstrating critical thinking and graduate-level writing skills in the online-classroom environment.
Courses are taught online and students may begin the certificate program in the fall, spring or summer terms.
Required Courses and Suggested Sequence
Human Services Policy (3 credits)
In this course, students will examine how social policy influences, and is influenced by, how human service functions; service populations; and how outcomes and resources are publicly and privately defined, identified, secured and measured. Students will examine the interactive effects of social policy and human services at organizational and professional levels. By semester's end, students should be capable of effectively analyzing any human services agency or concept in current social policy.
Race, Class, Gender in U.S. Public Policy (3 credits)
The intent of this course is to investigate the complex ways in which gender, race and national identity are articulated in U.S. culture and society and to examine how that historically has shaped the social movements that challenged the prevailing order. By focusing on the interaction of race and gender in American history since the Civil War, and engaging a broad variety of primary and secondary sources, the student will achieve an understanding of the complexities of U.S. culture and social change and develop the skills of a practicing historian.
Health, Aging and Disability Policy (3 credits)
This course examines social policy regarding several groups in American society which are labeled by, and which receive service from, various health care systems. These include the aged, the "disabled" (deaf, blind, mentally and emotionally disabled, and even addicted). Students examine the social construction of such labels and current policies applying to these groups at both the federal and local levels. Among specific policies considered are those related to employment and retirement, income maintenance, health insurance, health care, institutionalization and family support systems. Cross-cultural, national and historical variations in social policy are also considered. This course also examines intersectionality - how belonging to two or more such labeled groups changes identity and service.
Advocacy in State and Community-level Government (3 credits)
The emphasis of this course is on gaining the knowledge and skills required for effective advocacy in state and community-level government. Students will focus on learning activities that promote efficiency in individual and organizational advocacy for social change and meeting the needs of marginalized populations. The course will consist of a mini study in state and local community government; case studies in community advocacy; and experienced-based learning through participation as a volunteer or intern in a service learning project in a community organization.
Admission and Advisement
Admission to the certificate program requires the applicant to submit an official transcript of his or her bachelor’s degree along with a complete application. Advising will be provided by the certificate program coordinator, Dr. Meredith Brown.
While the 12 credits of this certificate may be transferred into the M.A. in social and public policy, acceptance will require candidates to apply to the master’s degree program and complete the full admission process. Completion of the graduate certificate does not guarantee admission to the master’s program.
Advanced certificates may be incorporated into a related master's degree for those meeting the program admission requirements.
Tuition and Fees
Students completing this certificate pay the following tuition and fees:
Federal financial aid is not available unless concurrently matriculated in a master’s degree program.