Evans School of Public Policy & Governance

The Evans School’s new graduate certificate in Leading Public Innovation provides practical knowledge, frameworks, and tools to public service leaders committed to improving the equity, inclusiveness, effectiveness, and efficiency of systems that deliver public programs and services.

Training Leaders

This eight-month certificate program equips leaders to strategically navigate complex environments and make changes that advances equity and inclusion. Designed for working professionals, the program runs from January through August with flexible course schedules.

Directors and program managers at public agencies, nonprofits, and philanthropic organizations will learn the analytical and practical skills to lead innovation and manage the redesign of public services and institutions.

Students who successfully complete the certificate are eligible to apply for admission to our Executive MPA program, counting some completed credits towards this degree or other graduate certificate at UW.

Why Evans?

Over the past 60 years, the Evans School has built a reputation as one of the top public policy and management schools in the nation. Our faculty members are recognized as some of the best educators and scholars of public policy and governance. They are driving change and shaping innovative policy and implementation solutions in communities worldwide.

This program is a graduate certificate, endorsed by the University’s Regents. Some credits can be applied to other master’s programs at the University of Washington.

Certificate Objectives

  • Think strategically to navigate complex environments and make changes that advances equity and inclusion.
  • Apply human-centered design and engagement methods to improve accessibility, uptake, and effectiveness of public programs and services.
  • Build a tool kit of shared practices and terminology that enable leaders to work together to integrate scientific and experiential knowledge.
  • Enable customization of study while at UW by applying course content to complex, relevant problems.
  • Deploy active, practice-based learning throughout all courses, delivered in schedules accessible to working professionals that utilize face-to-face sessions with technology-enhanced learning.

Innovation Partnerships

The Evans School is partnering with employers to identify practice-based projects, executive sponsors, and decrease tuition costs for participants.

Applicant Requirements

  • Leader committed to making change that advances equity and inclusion.
  • A bachelor’s degree with a minimum 3.0 grade point average on a 4.0 US scale. If the bachelor’s degree is awarded by an institution with no grading system, equivalent measures of academic performance is required; or, at least a 3.0 grade point average on a 4.0 US scale for the last 90 graded quarter credits or 60 graded semester credits. For more information please refer to Policy 3.1 Graduate Admissions.
  • Not currently enrolled as a graduate student at the UW.


This course covers practices for redesigning public services. It explores how public, nonprofit, and philanthropic structures create unique operational realities and cultures that must be navigated to lead change across institutional boundaries. It also delves deeply into personal leadership awareness and investigates social contributors to disparities in public services delivery – particularly race and ethnicity. The course will equip students with analytical frameworks and methods, including implementation analysis and strategic management, human-centered design, and racial equity analysis to support redesign processes.

Students will select from an array of courses designed with the working professional student in mind. Courses cover a range of topics, including policy implementation, collaboration, operationalizing racial equity, and more. 

This course features concepts, frameworks, and practical tools to help students build and practice concepts from the Redesigning Public Services course as well as plan and refine an applied Redesign Project. By combining these elements, the course helps students improve their ability to plan, execute, track, and communicate about innovation and redesign initiatives. Readings on adaptive leadership, project management, and race and equity provide core concepts to inform discussions, exercises, and assignments.

This workshop provides students with opportunities to develop strategic leadership and practice relevant skills. In Washington and other states, there are significant disparities in public service outcomes across racial and ethnic groups. This course will also focus on exploring the sources of these disparities, enabling leaders to experiment with how to introduce solutions to narrow the disparities in public service experiences.

Admission Materials

  • $85 application fee
  • Resume
  • Statement of purpose
  • Unofficial transcript
  • One letter of recommendation

To Apply

Priority application deadline November 6, 2023. To apply:

  • Create an account in the Graduate Application system
  • Select “Graduate” as the application type
  • Narrow your search “By Degree”
  • Filter by degree “Graduate Certificate”
  • Select your program “Graduate Certificate in Leading Public Innovation.

Contact Us

Jackqueline Miller

Jackqueline Miller
Director of Admissions