PLC students and a faculty member in a classroom setting. The courses offered in PLC are designed and instructed with the intention of developing your leadership abilities and perspective throughout your undergraduate career. Each course will draw upon lessons you have learned in previous PLC courses and will challenge you to apply your leadership skills in new and increasingly creative ways. The sequence of the PLC curriculum is not meant as a beginning and end to your leadership education, but rather as a broad foundation from which you will continue your leadership growth beyond graduation.

PLC students must take fulfill credit requirements in the following academic areas:

Leadership Foundations & Applications (6 credits)

  • PRLC 1810: Leadership Foundations & Applications I (fall only)
  • PRLC 1820: Leadership Foundations & Applications II (spring only)

Multi-Level Leadership (3 credits - choose one course)

  • PRLC 2820: Multi-Level Issues in Leadership (fall only)
  • ENLP 3100: Complex Leadership Challenges (restricted to engin/PLC students unless otherwise approved - also fulfills writing req.)
  • PRLC 4010R: Science Policy - CU in DC Maymester

Global Leadership (3 credits - choose one course)

  • PRLC 3810: Global Issues in Leadership (fall only)
  • PRLC 3800: Global Inquiry for 21st Century Leaders (spring only - includes international travel and associated costs)
  • PSCI 4995: International Development in East Africa (taught through CU Denver Maymester - includes international travel and costs)
  • Possible substitutions for the global requirements can be found here.

PLC ALE Course (2 credits - one course, part of ALE requirement)

  • PRLC 2930/4010: Experiential Internship (fall and spring semesters most academic years)

Leadership Capstone (4 credits - one course, taken only to earn LSM)

  • LEAD 4000: Emerging Challenges (fall and spring semesters, mulitple sections) - There are no substitutions for this course in any other discipline. If students wish to obtain the Leadership Studies Minor, students must also complete LEAD 4000.


Course Descriptions

(3 credits; meets General Education Social Sciences requirement; offered in the fall) PRLC 1810 introduces students to fundamental principles of leadership. The course will further hone and develop not only an understanding of leadership theory, but an ability to apply theory in real-world contexts. Central to the course are PLC’s competencies, including: academic and professional excellence, critical thinking and analysis, creativity, implementation, ethical reasoning, and community impact. Over the course of the semester, learning will be shaped by classroom lectures, recitation discussions and activities, guest speakers, and assignments. Examples of course assignments could include: case studies, research papers, memos, group work, and oral presentations.

Example of the PRLC 1810 Syllabus

(3 credits; meets General Education Social Sciences requirement; offered in the spring) In PRLC 1820, students will be pushed to go further into the discovery of leadership applications based on leadership theory learned in PRLC 1810. The course is structured around 5-6 core topics based on current events and cohort interest/background. In these units, students are expected to draw from learnings in PRLC 1810, apply theory, and formulate positions and arguments. There is ample opportunity to explore leadership in relation to these complex, social topics. As in PRLC 1810, learning will be shaped by classroom lectures, recitation discussions and activities, guest speakers, and assignments. Examples of course assignments could include: case studies, research papers, memos, group work and oral presentations.

Example of the PRLC 1820 Syllabus

(3 credits; offered in the fall) PRLC 2820 is designed to put your learning process into hyper-drive.  Building on 1810 and 1820’s foundation of inquiry, communication and collaboration skills, PRLC 2820 moves at a challenging pace of weekly cycles of research, analysis, critique and revision. You will choose a topic—a “complex social problem”—of interest and academic importance to you. Throughout the semester, the topic is scrutinized each week through different “lenses”, from illuminating how it manifests at the level of the individual human being, to how it is perceived in different cultures, to how it relates to complex global systems.  Each lens requires not only new research conducted by different methods (e.g. secondary research, interviews) but also expression of analysis by different modes (e.g. written narratives, visual models, oral presentations).

Example of the PRLC 2820 Syllabus

(3 credits; offered in the spring and sometimes Maymester) ENLP 3100 fulfills the same PLC completion requirement as PRLC 2820. ENLP 3100 approaches leadership as a process of inquiry, empathy, and action, cultivating skills leaders need to understand, communicate about, and generate innovative approaches to complex issues. Each student conducts extensive, principled research about a complex social issue of their choice, investigating its multidimensionality by applying different analytic lenses. Instructor consent required for students not in Engineering Leadership. Preference is given to PLC engineering students, however, all PLC students are invited to take the course, especially during Maymester. Email Professor Angela Thieman-Dino for consent. Click here for a longer description of the course authored by the professor.

(3 credits; offered fall semester only) This course examines leadership in a dynamic 21st century global community.  It is designed to help you think broadly about global issues and continue your preparation for leadership positions in business, government, and non-profit organizations.  The course is focused on improving your personal leadership skills and emphasizing the importance of always leading consistently with the highest ethical principles and values.  The course will involve some leadership and management theories, but throughout it emphasizes how to apply them in the real world.  By combining practical examples with theory, the course will provide useful guidelines for you as a leader of the future. Global Issues is organized around seven major global flows: population, energy, security, investment, disease, illegal drugs, and terrorism.

Example of the PRLC 3810 Syllabus

(4 credits; offered spring semester only) This course is thematically structured as an exploration of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. It is designed to introduce you to ways of thinking broadly about global issues as you continue your preparation for leadership positions in your professional, personal and civic pursuits after college. We will focus on improving your awareness of global leadership issues, continuing to focus on the development of your personal leadership code of ethics, and continuing to emphasize the importance of intentionality and critical thinking as part of always leading with the highest ethical principles and values. This course has a global travel component as well and spends between 1 and 2 weeks in a foreign country after the spring semester ends. A considerable extra cost is associated with this course.

Example of PRLC 3800 Syllabus

(3 credits; fulfills PRLC 3810/3800 requirement; you must apply to and be accepted into CU in DC program) In this course, we will examine the intersections of science, policy, funding, government, and society. The Science Policy course is highly experiential, and will include visits with policy makers on Capitol Hill; interaction with scientific societies and organizations in the D.C. metro area; and visits to significant science labs, at organizations such as NASA, the Department of Energy, and the National Institutes of Health., NIST, etc. (locations will vary from course to course).  Students will be expected to be highly engaged and to participate in class discussion and interaction with the guest speakers.   This course will inform a student’s understanding of how science is “done” in the United States. 

This course can be taken under the following course prefixes and still count for PLC, but using another prefix may help and also count toward your major:

  • ARSC-4040, CU in D.C. Science Policy
  • MCDB-4100, CU in D.C. Science Policy, Special Topics in MCDB
  • PHYS-3000, CU in D.C. Science Policy, Science in Public Policy
  • ENVS-3100, CU in D.C. Science Policy, Special Topics in Applied Environmental Science
  • ATOC-4500, CU in D.C. Science Policy, Special Topics in ATOC
  • PRLC-4010, CU in D.C. Science Policy, Presidents Leadership Class

(2 credits; offered fall and spring)

PLC students are required to complete one ALE and the accompanying course PRLC 2930/4010. The course is set up to unveil the utility and necessity of experiential learning as a life skill/endeavor, by guiding and supporting students through the reflection on learning process. The syllabus will be primarily dedicated to the identification of personal, professional, and leadership growth moments that can be translated into skills to be applied to future experiences and placements. Additionally, students will be exposed to professional development lessons, seminars, and workshops to help them navigate current and future professional placements. The course is a 2-credit course, meeting primarily on Monday and Wednesday evenings (5-5:50pm) with occasional Friday meet-ups for professional development and networking with the PLC alumni community.

Learn About PLC ALEs