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Earn a Professional Certificate in Campaign Management

Political Campaign Management Professional Certificate

The School of Professional & Continuing Studies is pleased to launch our Political Campaign Management Professional Certificate. Channel your passion for politics at the local, state or national level while building management skills across campaign functions.

From crafting a preliminary campaign plan through executing a Get Out the Vote (GOTV) operation, this intensive certificate program will teach students the essential skills required to manage all aspects of a winning political campaign.

As a nonpartisan program featuring instructors and guest speakers from both sides of the aisle, the Political Campaign Management Professional Certificate will focus on ethical campaigning and producing professionals who raise the discourse of our politics.

Students will gain the expertise and knowledge fundamental to campaign management, from conducting oppositions research, to building political coalitions, to creating a relevant policy platform that resonates with voters. Certificate holders will leave the program with the skills needed to step into professional campaign staff roles, in any discipline.

Course of Study

The Political Campaign Management Professional Certificate consists of six modules, delivered face-to-face over the course of a 15-week semester. Class meetings total 90 contact hours, with weekly class meetings on Tuesday & Thursday evenings.

Students who successfully complete the program will receive a Professional Certificate in Political Campaign Management from the University of Richmond, and will earn 90 professional hours (equivalent to 9 CEUs) that can be applied to professional development goals. This program does not earn college credit.

Accepting applications for Spring 2020!

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Module 1: Political Behavior
Political Behavior


This module serves as an inquiry into the most influential academic theories on the underlying motivations behind modern American political behavior. This modules covers the following:

Review prominent political theories and discuss how they have shaped and continue to influence 21st century politics.

Compare and contrast modern takes on political theory to develop a holistic understanding of voter behavior.

Apply political theory to real-world situations and understand how they can aid in the development of campaign strategy.

Module 2: Electoral System
The Contemporary American Electoral System


This module serves as an overview of the laws and institutions which define the United States electoral system, highlighting significant events and selected court cases which have written and rewritten the rules that govern 21st century campaigning. This module will review:

  • The roles, functions, and powers of government bodies that oversee and regulate campaign activities
  • The key laws and regulations that relate to and govern campaign activities
  • The expanding influence of third party political organizations and how they impact modern campaigns
Module 3: Management
Campaign Management

iconThis module will teach students how to manage a campaign staff and will review the responsibilities and challenges of various senior campaign positions. Students will learn how to:

  • Establish and execute a campaign plan
  • Create a voter targeting strategy
  • Conduct candidate and opposition research
  • Evaluate relevant quantitative data and statistics
  • Maintain efficient candidate and surrogate scheduling
  • Build powerful and diverse political coalitions
  • Develop a policy platform that is relevant to a race and resonates with voters
  • Manage the roles, responsibilities, and egos of senior campaign staff
Module 4: Finance & Ethics
Campaign Finance & Ethics

iconFor better or for worse, money is the lifeblood of any political campaign. This module will teach participants how to: 

  • Create and execute a realistic and adaptable finance plan
  • Identify and cultivate donors
  • Coach their candidate through making “the ask”
  • Plan and execute profitable fundraising events
  • Manage direct mail fundraising campaigns
  • Utilize the internet and digital fundraising
  • Maximize their fundraising while staying within the law
Module 5: Communications
Political Communications

iconThis module will teach participants how to:

  • Create an effective message for the candidate and context of a race
  • Frame the debate on your terms
  • Use language that appeals to voters
  • Produce effective paid advertising
  • Utilize the internet and social media to amplify your message
  • Work with the press and use media coverage to your advantage
Module 6: Voter Contact
Direct Voter Contact & The Ground Game

iconThis module will teach participants how to:

  • Identify and activate your base supporters
  • Engage with local activists and community leaders
  • Build a robust and enthusiastic volunteer network
  • Utilize the internet and social media for grassroots organizing
  • Manage effective phone banking and canvassing programs
  • Schedule literature drops and mailings for maximum effect
  • Plan supporter rallies and events
  • Execute a GOTV plan

Who Should Enroll?

The Political Campaign Management program is designed for the following participants:

  • Political and social activists
  • Aspiring politicians
  • Aspiring campaign professionals and political consultants
  • Recent college graduates seeking an additional credential
  • Career switchers planning to enter the political campaign field
  • Campaign professionals taking the next step in their careers
  • Campaign volunteers making the switch to campaign management

Who's Teaching Classes?

Course instructors will include Democratic and Republican political professionals with experience working in campaigns, government, and private consulting on the local, state, and national levels.

Instructors hold advanced academic degrees in Political Science, Public Policy, and Elections and Campaign Management.

In addition to instructors, the program features guest lecturers and speakers from across the political spectrum. These speakers will be announced as they are confirmed. A list of speakers who have participated in previous cohorts is included at the bottom of the page.


The application process is competitive, so be sure to submit your application on time.

  • Application deadline: December 15, 2019
  • Classes start Tuesday, January 14, 2020
  • Classes are held Tuesday & Thursday, 6-9 p.m.
  • Classes end Thursday, April 30, 2020

Applicants will be notified of admission status approximately 2-3 weeks after the application deadline.

We encourage you to start your application to the certificate program prior to applying for financing (if applicable). Doing so helps us link your program application to your financing application.

Note: A limited number of enrollments is available to UR faculty and staff and their eligible spouses, partners and dependents.

Tuition & Fees

The tuition fee of $2,995 includes all required texts and materials.


Payment in full, or arrangement for financing, is due at orientation.

Climb logo
If you are interested in financing your program of study, we work with Climb Credit, a provider that focuses on financing career-building programs to help students get a high return-on-investment from their education.

Learn more about Climb Credit or start your Climb Credit application right away — the application can be completed in as little as 5 minutes and does not affect your credit score. Most applicants receive an instant decision.

No application fee or payment is due at the time of application.


Applications are accepted through December 15, 2019, to the Political Campaign Management program. The application will take up to 45 minutes to complete.

The online application will open in a new window and require you to log in with an existing application credential or to create a new login.

  • Does not need to completed in one session: Return as often as needed before submitting
  • Requires a current résumé or CV, which may be uploaded as a Word (.docx) or PDF document
  • Requires a statement of purpose, which may be uploaded as a Word (.docx) or PDF document

Students will be notified of admission status approximately 2-3 weeks after the application deadline.

Previous Guest Speakers

The following guest speakers have participated in previous cohorts of Political Campaign Management Certificate program. Similar lineups will be scheduled for current and future cohorts.

Robby Mook, Campaign Manager, Hillary for America

The Honorable Kirk Cox, Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates

Chris Piper, Commissioner, Virginia Department of Elections

Andreas Addison, GB’12, Councilman, First District, Richmond City Council

Frank Atkinson, Former Counsel & Policy Director to Governor George Allen

The Honorable Bill Bolling, 39th Lieutenant Governor, Commonwealth of Virginia

Chris Bolling, Executive Director, Democratic Party of Virginia

Brian Cannon, Executive Director, OneVirginia2021

Liz Doerr, Former Virginia Field Director, Organizing for America & Member, Richmond City School Board

Evan Feinman, Policy Director, Terry McAuliffe for Governor

Lauren Gilbert, Associate Director and Director of Programs, Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership

Paige Hahn, Former Finance Director, Republican Governors Association

Sally Hudson, Co-Founder, FairVoteVA

Justin Jones, Communications Director, Spanberger for Congress

Alex Kellner, Senior Director, Bully Pulpit Interactive

Bradley Komar, Campaign Manager, Northam for Governor

Harrison Kreisberg, Lead Strategist, BlueLabs Analytics

Chris Leavitt, Campaign Manager, Ed Gillespie for Governor & Red Maverick Media

Tucker Martin, Former Communications Director to Governor Bob McDonnell & Advisor, Chris Christie Presidential SuperPAC

Tucker Obenshain, Director of Special Projects & Deputy Digital Director, Ed Gillespie for Governor

The Honorable Schuyler VanValkenburg, ’04, Member, Virginia House of Delegates

Patrick Wilson, Political Reporter, Richmond Times-Dispatch