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Advocacy and Political Leadership

UMD Graduate School

Program Overview

This applied degree is designed for people with experience or interest in having an impact on and changing public policy. Graduates of this program generally go on to positions as local community leaders, labor leaders, government relations specialists in businesses, nonprofit sector policy advocates, inter-governmental relations specialists, political operatives, lobbyists, elected and appointed officials, staff to policy makers, and citizens. The program seeks to create a professional group of ethically grounded advocates and organizers. Students come from throughout the region with many already working in one of the above interest areas.

Admission and Application Requirements

Admission to the Master of Advocacy and Political Leadership program is based on the following criteria:

·         Applicant must hold a bachelor’s degree with transcripts demonstrating the ability to handle graduate level work.

·         Prospective students must complete the program application.

·         Two letters of recommendation and a short statement of interest must be submitted along with the application.

·         Applicant must demonstrate experience in public service, which includes activities like volunteering with nonprofits, involvement in student government, or activity in political/civic life.

·         There is no entrance exam required for admittance to the program.

Degree Requirements

A total of 32 credits are required to graduate. Students earn 12 credits in four required core courses, 15 credits from electives including concentration electives if applicable, and 5 credits from two internships. No substitutions can be made for required program courses. Classes meet eleven weekends each semester. General electives are held on Friday evenings, core program courses are offered on Saturday mornings and concentration electives are held on Saturday afternoons..

Deadlines and Dates

Applications accepted on a rolling basis. New cohorts are admitted each semester.

Financial Aid

Loans may be available through the UMD Office of Financial Aid & Registrar. Outside scholarships may apply. 

Areas of Specialization

The program features the following concentrations:

  • Advocacy in the Public Sector
  • Labor Organizing & Leadership
  • Nonprofit Advocacy

Contact Information

Master of Advocacy & Political Leadership, 111 Cina Hall, 1123 University Drive, Duluth, MN 55812, (218.726.6711; fax 218.726.6780;;

DGS, Founder & Co-Director: Wy Spano,, 218.726.6658

DGS, Co-Director: Linda Krug,, 218. 726.6972

Assistant to the Director of Graduate Studies: Suzanne Bonomo,, 218.726.6711

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