Leadership and Communication, BAAS

The Leadership and Communication concentration is an exciting skills-building and career-enhancing program designed by distinguished, award-winning Ivy League academic experts and researchers in consultation with top executives and leaders from the real worlds of business, government, and the nonprofit sector. 

An Ivy League degree path to effective, ethical and career-boosting leadership 

Drawing expertly on the social sciences, humanities, and data sciences, each of the twelve Leadership and Communication courses is scheduled especially for working adults and taught by dedicated and experienced Penn-affiliated scholars. Each Leadership and Communication course brings you one step closer to having the intellectual understanding and professional skills needed for effective, ethical, career-boosting leadership and communication. Each course meets for eight weeks in an accelerated semester format. The curriculum is divided into four parts: Leadership Foundations; Leading Across Sectors; Leading Positively; and Global Leadership.

The Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences (BAAS) recognizes the power of an applied liberal arts education to provide students with strong communication skills, understanding of different cultures and perspectives, and the ability to apply their knowledge to nuanced, complex scenarios with insight, perspective, and empathy.

Overview of degree requirements

30 course units are required for the Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences degree.

Foundational Requirements8
Total Course Units30

In addition to course requirements, BAAS students complete a Senior portfolio.

Foundational requirements 

The foundational requirements of the BAAS degree reflect the core competencies and values of Penn LPS Online: the skills and knowledge needed to understand and solve complex problems, the ability to communicate effectively with a wide variety of audiences and an appreciation for diverse cultures and traditions. Students can transfer a maximum of 4 course units of foundational courses from a regionally accredited institution. Our program team can also give a preliminary evaluation of transfer credits before students officially apply. Visit the Transfer Preparation & Policies page for more details.

Foundational Requirements
Ethical Reasoning
Select 1 Ethical Reasoning course 1
Qualitative Analysis
Select 2 Qualitative Analysis courses2
Quantitative Analysis
Select 2 Quantitative Analysis courses2
Scientific Process
Select 1 Scientific Process course1
Select 1 Writing course *1
Cross-Cultural Interactions & Diversity
Select 1 Cross-cultural Interactions & Diversity course1
Total Course Units8

Must be taken at Penn


Just as a college major serves to focus your studies during a four-year degree, the BAAS concentrations enable students to tailor their undergraduate education to specific personal and professional goals. Concentrations progress from introductory-level courses to higher-level courses so that students develop skills and knowledge with greater complexity as they move through the curriculum. Many concentrations are interdisciplinary, to provide students with opportunities to explore their areas of interest from multiple perspectives and develop a flexible approach to solving complex problems in professional as well as academic contexts.

Students in this concentration focus their studies by completing a total of 12 courses (12 c.u.*). Transfer credits cannot be used toward any of the 12 Leadership and Communication concentration courses. Students who pursue this concentration should begin with either LEAD 1010: Leadership Theory and Practice or LEAD 3040: Professional Communication and Personal Development. Otherwise, courses may be taken in any order unless prerequisites are specified.

Please note: To be admitted to the Leadership and Communication concentration, you must have:

  • Completed two Leadership and Communication courses (LEAD 1010 plus any one of the following LEAD courses: LEAD 2020, LEAD 2030, LEAD 3040, LEAD 3100, LEAD 3200 or LEAD 3300)
  • Maintained an average of B or better, and received a grade of B+ or better in at least one of those two courses

Leadership Foundations

Leadership and Communication Concentration
Leadership Foundations
LEAD 1010Leadership Theory, Practice and Purpose1
LEAD 2020Leadership Lessons from Social Sciences1
LEAD 2030Leadership Lessons from Humanities1
LEAD 3040Professional Communication and Personal Development1
Plus, one of the following:1
Introduction to Data Analytics
Mathematical Foundations for Data Analytics
Mathematics All Around You
Introduction to Applied Statistics
Leading Across Sectors
LEAD 3100Leadership and Public Administration1
LEAD 3200Leadership and Business Organization1
LEAD 3300Leadership and Nonprofit Management1
Leading Positively
APOP 1000Introduction to Positive Psychology1
APOP 1200Human Flourishing: Strengths and Resilience1
APOP 2000Positive Psychology at Work1
Global Leadership
LEAD 4000Global Leadership and Problem-Solving1
Total Course Units12


Electives are courses that do not apply toward your foundational or degree concentration requirements. You may choose to deepen your field of study by taking additional classes within your concentration, develop a new skill by completing all of the courses within a course block outside of your degree concentration, or discover new interests and abilities by taking individual courses that appeal to your interests. Students choose 10 electives from any of Penn LPS Online's areas of study. Transfer students can apply a maximum of 8 course units from a regionally accredited institution toward this requirement.

Senior Portfolio Requirements

Throughout the BAAS degree, students draw on their coursework to build a digital collection of materials, or Senior Portfolio. The Senior Portfolio is a powerful tool to ensure students are aligning their academic studies with their individual professional, personal, and academic goals. Developing the Senior Portfolio provides students with the opportunity to reflect on selected assignments and discover how they can be applied to the broader context of their current and future careers. Students can share their Senior Portfolio with prospective and current employers to provide evidence of the skills and knowledge they have developed through coursework.

BAAS degree students who are working on their Senior Portfolio and seeking to connect with other students about the process can do so on our virtual discussion boards through the Canvas Senior Portfolio website. Ask a question, answer a question, and meet other talented, career-focused students.

The degree and major requirements displayed are intended as a guide for students entering in the Fall of 2023 and later. Students should consult with their academic program regarding final certifications and requirements for graduation.