Presidents Leadership Class

The Presidents Leadership Class (PLC) is a specially designed, top scholar, academic curriculum that focuses on leadership development, personal development, community impact projects, and global initiatives. Skills are developed in interdisciplinary, experiential environments through exposure to government, education, the humanities, business, and science. Students from all of the schools and colleges participate in the Presidents Leadership Class curriculum as a part of their regular course work.

The Presidents Leadership Class is a program of CU-Boulder and has an Advisory Board representing Colorado business, educational, nonprofit, and government communities.

Admission and Enrollment

Admission to the Presidents Leadership Class is considered one of the highest honors awarded to incoming University of Colorado Boulder students. Most Presidents Leadership Class students are admitted prior to the beginning of their first year, however, a maximum of 15 spots are reserved for rising sophomores and juniors in a second point of entry. Selection criteria include academic excellence, demonstrated commitment outside of self, demonstrated leadership potential, and uniqueness of contribution to the incoming cohort. Each year, 50 first-year students are enrolled, comprising both Colorado residents and nonresidents. A separate admission application must be obtained from the PLC website and returned each academic year prior to February 15. Applications may be obtained online at or by calling the PLC office at 303-492-4PLC.

Only students who are accepted into the Presidents Leadership Class are eligible to enroll in PLC courses (PRLC). Students receive arts and sciences core credit in ideals and values for PRLC 1810 Leadership and Ethics; and core credit in contemporary societies for PRLC 1820 Community Issues in Leadership. 

Academic Program

PLC believes that communities, from local to global, are especially in need of agile leaders who are able to tackle problems that: are very complex; are best understood by synthesizing insights from across disciplines; are best addressed by mobilizing diverse participants and resources from across social sectors; require especially ingenious innovation; and finally, demand leadership of exceptional integrity, ethics, and virtue of character.

To cultivate leaders who are prepared to serve their community, PLC provides a variety of academic and experiential opportunities that prepare students to lead according to this leadership process: discover, design, act, and accountability.

PLC provides opportunities by uniting the support of the university, local, and statewide leaders. PLC operates as a "leadership laboratory" in which all students, staff, faculty, and volunteers model and practice the core competencies and demonstrate the character traits that PLC strives to cultivate. The academic curriculum is supplemented by experiential learning and leading, a Wilderness Leadership Experience, and a new Global Inquiry seminar.

For more information on the PLC Academic Plan and the research behind it, go to

Required Courses

  • PRLC 1810 Ethical Leadership
  • PRLC 1820 Community Issues in Leadership
  • PRLC 2820 Multilevel Issues in Leadership
  • PRLC 3810 Global Issues in Leadership
  • LDSP 4010 Critical Issues in Leadership: A Capstone Course (required only for Leadership Certificate completion)

Scholarship Programs and Opportunities

PLC students receive a merit-based scholarship of $1,000 their first year to over $12,000 (dependent upon participation) over the course of their four years in PLC. Students must enroll in PRLC course work to maintain their scholarship. PLC students are eligible to apply for Enrichment Fund scholarship dollars each semester after the completion of their first year (maximum $1,000 per semester; $3,000 total).

Scholars are also eligible to be selected for a variety of other merit-based scholarships only available to PLC students, including the FirstBank Colorado Scholarship Fund ($3,500 per year, students are nominated and selected by FirstBank board members), the Alvin G. Flanigan Scholarship Fund (annual $500 minimum awards), the Walker Family Scholarship Fund (annual $500 minimum awards), the Michael Lee Hoelscher Memorial Scholarship (annual $2,000 award).

The course code for this program is PRLC.

Certificate Program

Certificate in the Study and Practice of Leadership

The University of Colorado Boulder offers a Certificate in the Study and Practice of Leadership. The certificate is comparable to a minor in leadership studies and is permanently marked on the student’s transcript to certify that he or she has completed a focus in leadership studies at the undergraduate level.

Certificate requirements are as follows:

  • Complete a minimum of 12 credit hours of PRLC courses during year one and two of the program: PRLC 1810, PRLC 1820, PRLC 2820, PRLC 3810.
  • Complete a minimum of 4 credit hours of upper-division PRLC course work: LDSP 4010.
  • Complete 3 additional credit hours of approved upper-division course work outside of PLC. Approved courses are listed at and a student may also petition to have an unlisted course accepted.
  • Participation in practica and/or internships. These may be built into courses or conducted outside of courses.
  • Receive an overall 3.00 average GPA for all required Leadership Certificate courses.