Earn a Global Leadership Certificate from University of Montana

Join together with students from diverse majors to address complex global challenges around issues such as public health, sustainability and inequality. The Franke Global Leadership Initiative is a four-year, 12-credit certificate program that gives you access to world-class leaders and provides opportunities to tackle real-world problems locally and around the globe.

The global leadership certificate can be added to any UM major and includes interdisciplinary group work, small seminar classes from a wide variety of faculty across campus and leadership training. The program also features a unique “Beyond the Classroom” experiential learning opportunity which can include study abroad, an internship or field experience, service-learning or research with guaranteed scholarship funding of up to $5,000.


median scholarship, with scholarships guaranteed to ALL global leadership students


countries in which students have completed their Beyond the Classroom experience


average student-to-faculty ratio for all global leadership courses

What is global leadership?

Global leadership is about looking at problems from multiple points of view, and working together with others of different expertise to tackle complex challenges with fresh thinking. Our program is designed to combine classroom education with hands-on, real-world experiences and study abroad opportunities, preparing our graduates to collaborate with diverse stakeholders to design innovative solutions.

The global leadership program attracts students from every major across campus. Our program is designed to complement your academic experience within your primary area of study, and help you gain marketable skills that will make you more competitive when applying for jobs or to graduate school programs.

Many of our global studies students also choose to pursue some of UM’s interdisciplinary minors, such as climate change studies and global public health.

What you’ll learn in the global leadership program

In the fall semester of your first year, you’ll enroll in a small seminar-style class that introduces you to different global challenge topics such as migration, climate change, diplomacy and more. Examples of global studies classes could include:

  • Migration and Refugees in the Modern World
  • Linguistic Diversity: Realities, Challenges and Solutions
  • Energy Conflict in a Changing Climate
  • Global Issues and Public Diplomacy
  • Reimagining Global Health: Biosocial Perspectives
  • Can Giving Change the World? Social Responsibility through Philanthropy
  • Women's Rights and Women's Roles around the World
  • Music, Meaning and Manipulation
  • Telling True Stories: Global Perspectives of Settler Colonialism

Later in the program, you’ll work in a team of 4-8 students from different majors and minors to develop a project focused on a global challenge based on your interests. Each project is unique and the projects cover a wide array of issues. Past projects have focused on issues such as:

  • Human trafficking
  • Opioid epidemic
  • Immigration and refugees
  • Food waste
  • Mental health
  • Sustainable housing

Video: The Global Leadership Experience

What makes a great leader? Find out first-hand from global leadership students at the University of Montana.

Alumni Success Story

“GLI not only gave us financial resources, but also the opportunity to meet people who share a passion for gaining global perspectives and facing the joys and challenges of stepping outside one’s comfort zone."

- Autumn Barnes-Fraser

Experiential learning in the global studies program

Enrich your undergraduate experience with real-world, hands-on learning. In the global leadership program, you’ll complete a “Beyond the Classroom” experience that connects to a global theme of your choosing. Examples include:

  • Culture and Politics
  • Global and Public Health
  • Inequality and Human Rights
  • Resources and Sustainability
  • Technology and Society

These experiences can include internships, service-learning, field-experiences, undergraduate research (all of which can be done in the U.S. or overseas), study abroad or National Student Exchange. Each student experience is unique, but recent examples include:

  • International internship in Uganda focused on HIV/AIDS work.
  • Semester studying abroad in Ireland learning about democratic utopia.
  • Field experience in the Colorado Plateau focusing on resources and sustainability.
  • Research experience studying cancer cells alongside a faculty mentor.

We will support your experiential learning project with guaranteed scholarship funding of up to $5,000, along with personal advising to help you find an experience that matches your academic goals and interests.

Career development in the global leadership program

You deserve an education that will prepare you for a competitive job market. Research finds that 93% of employers expect college students to complete an internship or community-based field project to connect classroom learning with real-world experiences, and 87% of employers expect their employees to work effectively in teams.* These are precisely the kinds of experiences and training you’ll gain in the global leadership program at UM through study abroad, internships and much more.

Our global leadership school helps you develop a comprehensive set of highly marketable experiences, including working with diverse issues and people, building leadership skills, gaining hands-on experiences outside the classroom, implementing a tangible group project that addresses a real-world issue and presenting research. When you graduate, these experiences will be a tremendous asset to you as you pursue career opportunities in your field.

*Association of American Colleges and Universities, 2018

Global Living Learning Community

As you pursue your certificate in global leadership, we also invite you to join our Global Living Learning Community in one of UM's on-campus residence halls. Typically, the RAs on that floor are current global leadership students who focus programming and activities on globally related interests.

Global leadership degree requirements

The global studies program provides students with small seminars, leadership training, scholarships for experiential learning and the opportunity to complete a hands-on team project that addresses a critical societal challenge.

View all requirements for the certificate in global leadership.