ALPs Courses

ALPs offers a wide variety of classes available for potential athlete-leaders to take depending on what most interests them. From public speaking to technology to governance to job skills, there's a class and a major for everyone.

Class descriptions are below. Regardless of what major an athlete-leader takes, they will complete at least 32 hours of coursework before they can graduate. This will be spread over multiple universities as the most any one athlete-leader can take in one weekend of an ALPs University is 16 hours. Most athlete-leaders will need to attend between three and four universities in order to graduate. We offer two universities per year (spring/fall). You do not need to attend every university every year. You can skip up to four in a row before potentially losing class credit.

Sample path to graduation:

  • Intro to ALPs (eight hours)
  • Internet/Email (four hours) -- first class in Technology major
  • Social Media/Blogging (four hours)
  • Photography (four hours)
  • Google Slides (four hours)
  • Personal Finances (four hours) -- elective/class not in their major
  • Capstone (four hours)

NOTE: For the most part classes in your major and your elective may be taken at ANY time that best suits you.

Classes everyone must take:

  • Intro to ALPs (8 hours): The first class everyone will take at an ALPs University. Covers what Athlete Leadership is and what it means to be a leader, the roles available to athlete-leaders within SOMO, potential roadblocks and barriers, personal mission statements, different leadership styles, personality quizzes, etc.
  • Capstone (4 hours): The final class everyone will take at an ALPs University. Focuses on the difference between effective and enduring leaders through project-based teachings and discussions. Most of the class will be spent identifying the athlete-leader's final project.

Other classes to choose from:

  • Global Messenger I (8 hours) -- Communications: The first class in Special Olympics' public-speaking major. Right now, this is only offered for SOMO athletes who participate or who have participated in at least one sport. Talks about the SOMO mission, parts of a speech, how to prepare for a speech and how to give a speech.
  • Global Messenger II (8 hours) -- Communications: The second class in the public-speaking major. Delves deeper into the many different kinds of speeches and how each one is different.
  • Engaged Storytelling for Active Performers (4 hours) -- Communications: SOMO knows that giving a speech in front of a crowd isn't for everybody, nor is it the only way to share your story, so this class gives you another way to do so through acting and improv.
  • Boards and Committees (8 hours) -- Governance: How to sit on a committee for a fundraising or competition event, policy setting, preparation to eventually have the opportunity to sit on the board of directors.
  • Athlete Input Councils (8 hours) -- Governance: How to share your opinion, how to actively listen to other opinions and work through disagreements, how to gather opinions and share them with others in order to enact change, etc.
  • Internet/Email (4 hours) -- Technology: The first class in the technology major. How to use email, search engines, and the internet.  Technology majors MUST take this class first. Can be taken as an elective for athlete-leaders majoring in something else. 
  • Google Slides (4 hours) -- Technology: The equivalent of Microsoft PowerPoint, but this program is free to use.
  • Photography (4 hours) -- Technology: How to use a DSLR camera to compose, take and edit photos.
  • Videography: Behind the Camera (4 hours) -- Technology: How to use a videocamera when on a location and in a studio.
  • Videography: On-Camera (4 hours) -- Technology: How to conduct interviews, ask the right questions and conduct yourself while on camera.
  • Videography: Studio (4 hours) -- Technology: How to set up a studio for a three-camera shoot, run the lights and soundboard.
  • Videography: Editing (4 hours) -- Technology: How to edit video clips using a computer program.
  • Social Media/Blogging (4 hours) -- Technology: How to use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and other social media sites to tell your story.
  • General Session/Principles of Coaching (8 hours) -- Coaching: Always wanted to be a SOMO coach? Well, this is your chance! Learn what it means to be a coach, find your own coaching style and learn first aid certification and concussion protocols.
  • Sports Lessons (4 hours) -- Coaching: Focuses on the best way to teach and train SOMO athletes as a coach. Puts you in position to set up and run a mock practice after reading through a rulebook.
  • Sport Psychology (4 hours) -- Coaching: Teaches different mental skills that athletes can use to help overcome competition stress/anxiety, build confidence, improve focus and even recover from injury more effectively. 
  • Lifetime Health and Fitness (4 hours) -- Health: Basics of how to live a healthy life. Outlines what is covered when our athletes go through Healthy Athletes and how you can educate your teammates.
  • Exercise Science 101 (4 hours) -- Health: Focuses on what exercises help you depending on what sports you play. Quick overview on all different kinds of exercising. Teaches difference between training vs. exercise, exercise intensity, nutrition, weight-room basics and more.
  • Personal Finances (4 hours) -- Leadership for Life: How to set and maintain a budget, read financial statements and more.
  • Social Etiquette/Professionalism (4 hours) -- Leadership for Life: Puts athlete-leaders in different social situations through role-playing and gets them to understand that everyone thinks differently while training them to pick up on certain social cues that would help them read a situation better.
  • Job Application Skills (4 hours) -- Leadership for Life: Goes through basic skills people need to know when applying for jobs, such as how to write a resume, how to interview, societal norms in the workplace and more.


While we don't offer all of these classes at every ALPs University, there's a good chance we will offer each class at least once per year.

You can see the full course map below for an idea of how you'd progress during your time enrolled in ALPs University.