Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions about the MLD Certificate


Can a non-HKS student apply for the MLD Certificate?

No.  Only HKS Masters Program students are eligible to earn the MLD Certificate. Students from other Harvard schools and programs cannot be awarded an MLD Certificate.

Can a visiting or residential fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School apply for the MLD Certificate?

No. Only HKS Masters Program students are eligible to earn the MLD Certificate.  Fellows at HKS and its research centers, although they are occasionally permitted to enroll in classes at the school, may not be awarded the MLD Certificate. This includes National Security Fellows, residential fellows, and research fellows.  The same restriction applies to fellows from elsewhere within Harvard University.


I am a mid-career MPA student who has completed the Public Leadership Credential (online) and will only be taking classes on-campus for one semester. Can I still earn the MLD Certificate?

Yes, provided you meet the 12-credit (and grade) thresholds in qualifying elective courses taken while studying in residence.


Do required MLD courses (e.g., MLD-220m for MPPs; or MLD-102 for MPA-IDs) count toward the MLD Certificate?

No, only elective courses count toward the MLD Certificate.


Do MLD courses that fulfill MPA distribution requirements also count toward the MLD Certificate?

Yes, qualifying MLD electives taken to fulfill MPA distribution requirements will count toward MLD certificate requirements, if you receive a B+ or above in the course.


Do MLD courses that fulfill the Data and Research Methods Track also count toward the MLD Certificate?

Yes.  There are a number of HKS courses may count towards both the MLD Certificate and the Data & Methods track.  Note: the MLD Certificate has a higher grade threshold (B+ or above) to qualify.  Note also the Data and Methods Track is new and evolving, so, if you’re unsure about a given course or situation, contact the MLD Area Administrator,


Does the MLD certificate serve a substitute for a Policy Area of Concentration (PAC)?

No, it is complementary.

Do I have to take the exact courses I list on the Form to Activate Candidacy for the MLD Certificate?

No, you will still remain eligible for a certificate so long as you complete course work within the general requirements.


Does Candidacy for an MLD Certificate provide priority access to MLD courses?

No. Enrollment in any course is solely subject to the HKS registrar policies and the course bidding process.


Is there any penalty if I apply for the MLD certificate and do not complete the requirements prior to graduation?

No. The MLD certificate is strictly complementary to the core requirements for achieving an HKS degree.


Is the MLD Certificate noted on my official HKS transcript?

No. Not at this time. Official notation is currently under consideration.


Can I write on my resume or CV that I am a “Candidate for/Recipient of a Certificate in Management, Leadership, and Decision Sciences”?

Yes. Please feel free to do so. The Certificate is meant to be a tangible credential demonstrating a high level of training, and should be perceived as strengthening your resume.


How can someone verify my MLD Certificate beyond graduation?

If eligible, you will receive your MLD Certificate in an electronic file. The MLD Area will also maintain a historic list of recipients and gladly verify a graduate’s certification.


Can any courses I have taken prior to enrolling at HKS apply towards an MLD Certificate?


Can any courses I am taking for my joint or concurrent degree program apply towards an MLD Certificate?

No. Only courses credited towards your HKS degree may be counted for the MLD Certificate. E.g., joint MBA students cannot apply their business school coursework towards the MLD Certificate. If you’re unsure about a given course or situation, contact the MLD Area Administrator,

I have a question that isn’t answered here! Whom do I contact?

Contact the MLD Area Administrator, Greg Dorchak, or the MLD Area Chair, Hannah Riley Bowles.