Senior Police Leadership - Postgraduate Certificate

A unique professional program for practicing police leaders, both sworn and civilian, at the sergeant level or above, offered exclusively at Trent University Durham GTA

Successful leaders in the highest ranks of today’s police services require a unique set of skills: strategic vision and planning, political prowess, team building and motivation, media expertise, budgeting, and an understanding of complex community needs. These types of skills and training cannot be attained through career assignments alone – today’s police leaders need a new senior police leadership curriculum.

Unlike other leadership programs, this certificate is designed specifically to train and provide police leaders with the wide range of competencies needed to excel within senior positions in the policing environment. Graduates of the program will possess an understanding of the complex accountability, legal, and governance frameworks of police services and police services boards. 

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Taught by the experts

The Postgraduate Certificate in Senior Police Leadership is unique in that it employs teaching teams of academics and serving or retired senior police leaders who, together, bring a thorough understanding of the benefits and importance of theory and practical experience, and a theoretical and practical understanding of the concepts under study.

Meet our instructors

Earn your certificate in less than 12 Months & on your schedule

This new certificate is attained through the completion of six 4.5-day-long course blocks. All courses are delivered at the Trent Durham GTA campus, conveniently located in the Greater Toronto Area. The full postgraduate certificate can be completed in under 12 months, starting as early as September 2019. The flexibility of the program also allows learners to complete course blocks on their own schedule and choose from a variety of dates that are most convenient.

Program Fees

Fees for the Postgraduate Certificate in Senior Police Leadership include: standard tuition; $150 course fee; and ancillary fees. All fees are subject to change. For 2019/20, the full cost of the certificate program is approximately $9,000.

Admission Requirements

To be eligible for this program you must be an active member of a police service with a rank of sergeant or above or a civilian equivalent supervisor. A letter of support from your senior officer is also required. This program is also open to executive members of any police association. The member only needs to be endorsed in writing by the executive board of the police association.

To apply: Send an email to using “Senior Police Leadership Postgraduate Certificate application” in your subject line. Once received, a specific personalized application will be sent to the email address provided. 

Students are not eligible to use any transfer credits towards this certificate from any previously completed post-secondary courses.

How To Apply

Use our online application form to apply.

Program details and courses

Each course is designed around a mix of lectures, case studies, and seminar discussions to ensure that every opportunity is utilized to learn from the experiences of academics, senior practitioners and learners alike, using best practices for meaningful professional learning.

The Certificate program consists of the following six courses (3.0 credits), all of which are mandatory:

PLCW 4920H: Foundations Course: Leadership Roles, Efficacy, and Identity

PLCW 4921H: Leadership Skills for Senior Police Leaders

PLCW 4922H: Principles of Decision-making

PLCW 4923H: Governance and Civilian Oversight

PLCW 4924H: Policing Operations

PLCW 4925H: Human Resources for Senior Police Leaders

The Foundations Course is a pre-requisite for all other courses. Remaining courses can be taken in any order, depending on availability of the course.

Course Descriptions

PLCW 4920H: Foundations Course: Leadership Roles, Efficacy, and Identity

This mandatory introductory course is focused on providing police service leaders with the practical skills and knowledge needed to provide effective leadership for their organizations. Learners will gain foundational knowledge in the key subject areas of the certificate program including: leadership; decision-making; police operations; governance and civilian oversight; human resources; and administrative functions, responsibilities and accountabilities.

PLCW 4921H: Leadership Skills for Senior Police Leaders

This course provides police service leaders with the practical skills and knowledge needed to provide effective leadership for their organizations while providing a positive influence in their respective communities. Designed around three main themes: the role of the leader; modelling the way; and communicating to persuade and influence, both inside and outside of the police service. Prerequisite: PLCW 4920H.

PLCW 4922H: Principles of Decision-making

Designed to offer the learner perspectives, principles, and tools required to make analytical and informed decision in a policing environment. Drawing on fundamental insights from economic and statistics, the course combines theory with applications and case studies. Learners are expected to offer examples from their experiences where the topics being covered could have been used in the past and how they could be used in the future. Prerequisite: PLCW 4920H.

PLCW 4923H: Governance and Civilian Oversight

Explores the complex accountability framework of police organizations through police/civilian governance and the different bodies of civilian oversight. Examines such topics as the Police Services Act and its regulations; the functions and responsibilities of police/civilian governance in policing; the discipline system for both police service boards and members of police services; and understanding the roles of police oversight bodies in policing. Prerequisite PLCW 4920H.

PLCW 4924H: Policing Operations Course

Focused on providing police service leaders with the practical skills and knowledge needed to plan and execute operations in support of police service activities. Discusses the roles and functions of police services in conducting operations, examines the current operational environment, and provides a framework for the planning and execution of police operations. Prerequisite: PLCW 4920H.

 PLCW 4925H: Human Resources for Senior Police Leaders

Provides practical tools and insight using various teaching techniques to ensure a frame of reference for students. Focuses on three areas of human resources that impact policing leadership: risk mitigation, employment law and industrial relations; human resources and employee relations for police leaders; and professional development. Prerequisite: PLCW 4920H.


Students in a classroom.