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Public Service Certificate (Undergraduate)

  • Location IconBrookings Main Campus

Preparing Tomorrow’s Leaders for Public Stewardship

The challenges facing societies today cannot be solved by a single government, nonprofit, or corporation. Problems such as stewardship of resources, poverty, sustainability or access to education are complex, interconnected and subject to real world constraints when it comes to finding solutions and mitigating their negative consequences. The future success of communities in South Dakota is predicated upon engaged yet pragmatic citizens who know how to work toward the greater public good across diverse constituencies and sectors.

The undergraduate certificate in public service will create a corps of passionate leaders through academic excellence, civic engagement and ethical stewardship devoted to advancing the overall public good through public service. Unlike government advocacy that serves the defined interests of business, industry or interest groups, the aim of the public service certificate is to educate the next generation of public servants, equipping them with the leadership skills and experiential learning opportunities needed to solve today’s complex challenges. Students will study their chosen major, develop 21st century leadership skills such as intercultural competency and professional ethics and complete an internship that tackles real-world challenges in the public, private or nonprofit sector.

The public service certificate partly serves as the curriculum portion of the Mike Huether Public Service Academy, housed within the School of American and Global Studies. However, the certificate is a value-added credential that is open to all majors. It may be of particular interest to existing majors seeking preparation in fields as varied as education, ethics, languages and cultural competence, health care, infrastructure, military, politics, public policy or social planning. Completion of this certificate is a stand-out credential for students applying for employment in public service professions (e.g., police officers, firefighters, judges, public health workers, city engineers, urban planners, economists, bank examiners, housing agency administrators, homeless shelter directors and other nonprofit management positions) or when running for public office.

Is it for you?

This program will be a good fit if you:

  • Consider yourself a leader and like to be active in your community.
  • Are curious about current societal issues.
  • Are interested in regional, national and global events.
  • Have strong writing, communication and critical thinking skills, and enjoy problem solving.
  • Enjoy working with people.

Undecided or still deciding on a major and future career?

If you are uncertain about your major and have questions about career planning, you are not alone. Choosing a major or career can be a very difficult decision. The exploratory studies program may be a good fit if you are unsure of your major and career focus. Entering the university in the exploratory studies program will help you gain confidence and valuable insights on majors and minors available at SDSU and future career choices. 

In addition, FOCUS 2 Career, a self-guided assessment, education and career planning program, will help you reflect on your values, interests, personality traits and skills to provide valuable insight as you explore major and career choices. SDSU students may access FOCUS 2 Career by using their student email and password. After completing FOCUS 2 Career, you may find it helpful to discuss your results with a career coach in the Office of Career Development.