Certificate in Leadership and Social Change

certificate in leadership and social changeThe 18-unit Certificate of Achievement in Leadership and Social Change prepares students to be community leaders, agents of change, and responsible participants in civic life in general.

Participants gain in-depth understanding of the social structures that define their worlds, and develop the skills and practical knowledge required to transform those structures and make the world a more equitable place.


Programs and Courses to Suit Your Goals

Leadership and Social Change

  • Leadership and Social Change - Certificate of AchievementDetails for Certificate of Achievement - Leadership and Social Change

    The Leadership and Social Change Certificate of Achievement prepares students to be community leaders, agents of change in the workplace and responsible participants in civic life in general. Students completing this certificate are prepared to work as an entry-level union organizer or staff person at a nonprofit organization. Students who plan to pursue a transfer degree can use the skills obtained to analyze the social forces at work in, and to take leadership in, their areas of work or study. Contact the Vasconcellos Institute for Democracy in Action (VIDA) at deanza.edu/vida for more information on earning this certificate.


    Certificate/Degree Map

  • Social Justice Studies

  • Social Justice - Transfer MapDetails for Transfer Map - Social Justice

    A transfer map is a suggested schedule of courses to take each quarter, if you are planning to transfer and pursue a bachelor’s degree in a particular subject. These maps were created to help you get a solid footing in the subject and stay on track with courses commonly required by CSU or UC schools, but they do not guarantee your admission to any university. It’s important that you work with a counselor or academic adviser to determine exactly which classes you need to reach your particular goal.

    Transfer Map

  • Social Justice Studies: General Studies for Transfer - Associate in Arts-TransferDetails for Associate in Arts-Transfer - Social Justice Studies: General Studies for Transfer

    The Social Justice Studies major consists of courses appropriate for the Associate in Arts in Social Justice Studies: General Studies for Transfer degree, which provides a foundational understanding of the discipline, a breadth of coursework in the discipline, and preparation for transfer to any CSU that accepts the Transfer Model Curriculum (TMC). The Associate in Arts in Social Justice Studies: General Studies for Transfer is intended for students who plan to complete a bachelors degree in Social Justice Studies (or an approved similar major) at a CSU campus. Students completing this degree are guaranteed admission to the CSU system, but not to a particular campus or major. Students transferring to a CSU campus that does accept this degree will be required to complete no more than 60 (semester) units after transfer to earn a bachelors degree. This degree may not be the best option for students intending to transfer to a particular CSU campus or to a university or college that is not part of the CSU system. In all cases, students should consult with a counselor for more information on university admission and transfer requirements.


    Certificate/Degree Map

In addition to the programs listed above, you may be able to apply courses in this department toward General Education requirements.

You can check the course offerings in the college catalog against the following lists of GE requirements

These requirements may be subject to change. Always confirm the requirements for your specific program.

To learn about other academic programs at De Anza and their requirements, visit the college Degrees & Certificates page. For information about applying for your certificate or degree, visit the Apply for Degrees and Certificates page.

 Why get this certificate?

  • Universities, businesses, and community organizations are constantly looking for students ready to take leadership on the campus, in the workplace, and in the community.
  • Students completing this certificate will be prepared to work as an entry-level union organizer or staff person at a non-profit organization.
  • For those looking to transfer to a four-year institution, the certificate can help build your application as colleges look for engaged students with experience working in the community.
  • The knowledge and experience acquired can be applied to any situation you will find yourself in.
  • Our hope is that students passionate about social justice will be able to use this certificate to find meaningful work in order to make a better world for all of us.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the certificate program, students will be able to:

  • Analyze the social processes that foster inequality and disempowerment, as well as those that challenge inequality and lead to empowerment. 
  • Analyze the ways that social processes are amenable to transformation through strategic planning and constituent mobilization.
  • Apply leadership skills, such as meeting facilitation, strategic planning, consensus-building, and generating buy-in from stakeholders, with the aim of fostering social justice and empowerment.

Student Testimonials

Itzhel Sanchez“I have been involved in the community since high school and learned to manage time and prioritize. In zcollege, it all changed because I started getting into the whole social justice issues, which did affect my GPA. I am too passionate about it and did not prioritize my academics. I gained so many leadership skills, experiences and unforgettable memories. We never stop learning ! Even when we think everything is under control life may throw rocks at us, therefore, we need to be ready to remain strong in all aspects. It is hard but manageable. As students  we may be too passionate but we cannot forget about our academics, which is important to stay organize. For example, without my calendar I am lost.  Keeping track of all activities as well as assignments is the goal to succeed as organizers and students.” 

Itzel Sanchez, 2017 graduate

 Student Testimonials

Keerthana Muthukrishnan

“Balancing my academics with activism has always been a challenge! First and foremost, I have learned not to overwork myself under any situation and to always prioritize my health and well being. I always make sure to eat at the right times and try my best to get an adequate amount of sleep every night. Regarding my schoolwork, I try to take upon a course load that is balanced. For example, one math course, one social science course, one GE, etc I always kept in touch with my degree works to continuously check up on my own progress. This helped me be updated and not very stressed out academically, so I could focus on social work and civic engagement as well. I made sure to deal with VIDA work through a separate email and only at the designated times. Sometimes, it would overlap with my person life, but I didn't mind. However, if I got incredibly exhausted, then I would take some time off from activism and even academics just to hangout with my friends.” 

– Keerthana Muthukrishnan, 2017 graduate

Program Graduation Celebration

Academic year 2011-2012 marked the first year that students completed the certificate program.

Program Course Sequence

Option A: Cohort

A cohort of students takes a specified set of classes together as a group each quarter. This option is recommended as there is mentoring and a stronger sense of community among students. A minimum of "C" grade is required. 

Fall Quarter
  • ICS 27/POLI 17 Grassroots Democracy: Leadership and Power (4 units)
  • ICS 80X Community Based Learning in Intercultural Studies (2 units)
Winter Quarter
  • ICS 17 Critical Consciousness and Social Change (4 units)
  • ICS 80X Community Based Learning in Intercultural Studies (2 units)
Spring Quarter
  • ICS 19 Making a Difference: Transforming Relations of Nature, Community, and Power  (4 units)
  • ICS 80X Community Based Learning in Intercultural Studies (2 units)

Option B: Independent

You can choose classes from the list below and put together your own approach to the program. Complete the following minimum number of units in each of the four categories. A minimum of "C" grade is required. 

Set up a meeting with Cynthia Kaufman to see how you can fit the certificate with your Educational Plan email: kaufmancynthia@deanza.edu

For more info check the Certificate Requirements

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