The top master’s in nonprofit management programs blend a theoretical curriculum with experiential learning. Nonprofit graduate students gain professional experience through internships and capstone projects.
Students at these programs build a strong network with community-based organizations, nonprofits, and philanthropic foundations, increasing their competitiveness on the job market after graduation. With options ranging from accelerated one-year programs to part-time programs designed for working professionals, these universities offer flexible options for students planning a career in nonprofit management.
Professionals who complete a master’s degree in nonprofit management work as program directors, CEOs, and executive directors for local, national, or international nonprofit organizations. By taking specialized coursework, graduate students also build valuable skills in fundraising management, grant writing, and volunteer management. These high-demand skills let graduates pursue a variety of careers in the growing nonprofit sector. The many master’s in nonprofit management salary opportunities include lucrative and rewarding positions at the management level.
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What are the best Master degree programs in Nonprofit Management?
College Choice wants to help you navigate the growing number of graduate degrees offered in the field of nonprofit studies. To that end, with reference to resources like U.S. News & World Report, Payscale.com, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and school websites, we’ve considered various factors including program and school reputation, tuition, and forecasted salary to compile a list of the forty best Master of Nonprofit Management degree programs. In case you’re interested in assessing online colleges generally, we’ve created a ranking of the best ones in the country.
Annual tuition data had to be figured in several ways. Some schools charge an annual rate. Others charge a rate per term. While, still others charge per credit. For those providing per term or per credit rates, we figured the annual tuition based on completion of the degree in two years. A majority of the programs are designed to be completed in two years, but some can be completed in an accelerated format and so students may be able to complete these programs in less time. Their annual costs in the accelerated format would typically be greater but paid less frequently.
The Master of Public Service and Administration program at Texas A&M prepares graduates to become leaders in the nonprofit sector when they complete the nonprofit management track. Graduate students complete 48 credits to earn the degree, while participating in internships, volunteering through the Public Service Organization, and completing a year long capstone project for real-world clients as part of their education. The master’s in nonprofit management track emphasizes the distinctive challenges of nonprofit organizations, including development, political activities, and structural variations. The two year program holds accreditation from the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration.
The Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at UT Austin blends theory-based, analytical coursework with practical applications in its Master of Public Affairs program, which offers a specialization in nonprofit and philanthropic studies. Graduate students complete 48 credits, with a summer internship to build hands on experience. The core curriculum includes 27 credits, with classes in advanced policy economics, policy development, and public management. The master’s degree in nonprofit management prepares graduates to take leadership positions in nonprofit organizations, building skills in nonprofit studies, philanthropy, and volunteerism and community service.
The Master of Public Affairs program at IU-Bloomington starts with a core curriculum that builds analytical skills, emphasizes policy issues and governmental processes, and prepares graduate students for their concentration area. The two year program requires 48 credits, with 12 concentration areas, including nonprofit management. The concentration builds competency in fundraising, community service, social entrepreneurship, and socially responsible investing. The master’s in nonprofit management also incorporates management techniques designed to create successful nonprofit leaders. U.S. News & World Report ranks the MPA nonprofit management concentration #1. The program also includes a capstone course and experiential learning requirements.
Carnegie Mellon University offers a master of public management program, which emphasizes leadership skills, decision making, and policy understanding in industries like government, education, and the nonprofit sector. The program’s analytical skill sets and learning outcomes focus on organizations in highly regulated industries, including nonprofits. Designed as a part-time program for working professionals, the MPM includes core classes in organizational management, business analytics, and economic principles of policy analysis, with optional electives in performance management, strategic planning, and organizational change. The program enrolls applicants with nonprofit management experience, preparing graduates to take on leadership roles within their organizations.
The master of nonprofit leadership and management program through the USC Price School offers targeted training for future leaders at complex nonprofit organizations. Graduate students gain field experience working with leading nonprofit executives, and USC’s Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy offers opportunities to engage with cutting-edge research and practices in philanthropy and nonprofit management. The program incorporates 30 credits of core classes, arranged in three areas: Theory and Context; Leadership and Management; and Analytical Skills. Graduate students can customize their master’s degree in nonprofit management with 10 elective credits, and all students complete an integrative capstone course to apply their learning in the field.
Syracuse University offers a 12 month master of public affairs with a focus in public and nonprofit management. The intensive program trains graduate students to enhance public management, bridge the public and private sectors, and advance public policy. The core curriculum includes courses in policy analysis, public management, and public context, with a focus on executive leadership and management. The nonprofit management concentration adds analytical and managerial courses, with a focus on the budgetary process, organizational management, policy implementation, and strategic nonprofit management. Program alumni hold executive positions with the Smithsonian, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the PEW Charitable Trusts, Teach for America, the American Cancer Society, and other prominent nonprofit organizations.
The University of Georgia offers a master of arts in nonprofit management and leadership for professionals planning careers in nonprofit leadership. Graduate students complete core classes, supervised internships, and specialized electives to customize their degree. The 33-credit master’s in nonprofit management includes coursework in theory and management of nonprofit organizations, evaluation of professional practice, and fundraising and development for nonprofit organizations. Students choose a two semester internship or a one semester internship with an independent research project. Designed as a 15 month program, incoming students can also choose a part-time option for added flexibility.
The master of philanthropy and nonprofit leadership at Grand Valley State builds theoretical and practical knowledge for future leaders in nonprofit organizations. The curriculum emphasizes ethical and effective management with the goal of building prosperous and healthy communities. Graduate students complete 36 credit hours, with core classes in nonprofit management, fund development, and organizational theory. Students also choose an emphasis area, including community impact, mission advancement, or nonprofit healthcare, with the option to design a custom emphasis. All graduate students complete a capstone course at the end of their degree. The master’s degree in nonprofit management offers full-time and part-time options.
The University of Nebraska – Omaha offers a master of public administration with a concentration in nonprofit management. The degree emphasizes leadership skills for public service careers, with online and on campus options. Nonprofit management graduate students build knowledge relevant to local, national, and international nonprofit organizations, learning how to effectively and ethically manage nonprofit institutions. Within the concentration, students take introduction to the nonprofit sector, fundraising for nonprofit organizations, and either public human resource management or public finance administration. MPA students typically complete the 39 credit degree in just over two years on a full time schedule.
The Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy at the University at Albany offers a master of public affairs with a concentration in nonprofit management. The MPA include a core curriculum in public affairs which builds technical and managerial skills, allowing graduates to pursue leadership roles in public and nonprofit organizations. Students complete the 49 credit program with 29 credits of core classes, 15-20 credits in their concentration area, and an internship or career experience. The nonprofit management concentration includes five courses chosen from options like nonprofit governance, inequality and public policy, strategic management, and nonprofits and social transformation.
Seton Hall offers a master of public administration with a concentration in nonprofit organization management for students planning leadership roles in public service settings. Designed for working students and offering online, weekend, and evening classes, graduate students complete the degree in two years, or three years for the part-time option. The 39-credit curriculum covers public service management, financial management, and managerial decision making. Students in the nonprofit organization management concentration take classes on the foundation of nonprofits, managing nonprofit organizations, public policy analysis, and public sector ethics. Seton Hall also offers a fully online MPA in nonprofit management program.
The masters in nonprofit management at Oregon prepares graduates for leadership roles in nonprofit and philanthropic organizations. The two-year program trains students in the unique funding and management structure of nonprofit organizations, distinguishing the degree from a general master of public administration or master of business administration. Oregon boasts a skills-focused curriculum which blends best practice elements from the government, business, and nonprofit sectors. The program’s core curriculum includes classes in grant proposal writing, fundraising for nonprofit organizations, nonprofit financial management, and managing nonprofit organizations. Graduate students also choose a field of interest, such as marketing, arts and cultural leadership, policy, or environmental sustainability.
The MPA in public and nonprofit management and policy at NYU offers an interdisciplinary curriculum in finance, policy, and management. Within the program, graduate students choose a specialization such as advocacy and political action, policy, or social innovation. The 45-credit degree includes core classes in microeconomics for public management, financial management, and public policy. Graduate students also complete a year-long consulting or research project as part of NYU’s capstone program, reinforcing the program’s commitment to build relevant professional experience for all graduates. The flexible program enrolls students both full time or part time.
Penn offers a master of science in nonprofit leadership, which prepares graduates to become leaders in nonprofits, social enterprises, international NGOs, and other organizations. The accelerated 9-month full-time program includes 10 courses such as ethics and the pursuit of social impact; strategic management and leadership of nonprofits; and philanthropy and fundraising tools for managers of nonprofit organizations. Penn also offers an online version of the degree, which students complete in 10 months with an optional cohort building activity before fall semester, or students can choose a part-time option, which takes two and a half years.
Arizona State offers an on-campus or online delivery method for their master of nonprofit leadership and management degree. The program combines the theory and practice of nonprofit management, emphasizing leadership skills, managing human resources, fundraising, and program evaluation. Graduate students complete 33 credit hours, with 18 credits of core classes in areas like the nonprofit sector, resource management, and philanthropy, and 15 credits of electives to customize the degree. All students complete a capstone course to demonstrate competency in nonprofit management through a project-based seminar. ASU enrolls students for fall, spring, or summer start dates.
The master of science in nonprofit management degree at Northeastern University integrates theoretical approaches with practical applications. The program aims to develop the knowledge, skills, talent, and ability to serve in leadership positions at universities, foundations, charities, hospitals, and other organizations. The master’s degree in nonprofit management includes core classes in leadership, governance issues, fundraising, and financial management. Graduate students also choose a concentration, such as project management, global studies, human services, or organizational communications. Students complete a capstone course which draws on theory, practice, case studies, and experiential learning to build professional experience.
The University of Minnesota offers a master of public policy with a concentration in public and nonprofit leadership and management. The MPP prepares graduates to work in public services at the local, state, national, and international level, with a broad-based curriculum covering political science, economics, and management. Graduate students complete the 45-credit program in two years, with core classes in policy analysis, politics of public affairs, and management of organizations. Students can then customize their concentration around their interests, with over 13 elective options in nonprofit management. The degree trains students to design innovative and effective programs, address the challenges facing nonprofit organizations, and oversee daily operations at a nonprofit.
Georgia State offers a master of public administration with a nonprofit management concentration, with flexible options for working professionals and full-time students. The 39-credit degree includes 24 credits of core classes, including microeconomics for public policy, management systems and strategies, and organizational behavior. Nonprofit management students complete three specialized courses as part of the core curriculum and 12 additional credits, with optional electives such as international NGOs, social policy, and a public service capstone. All students apply the concepts and skills gained during the coursework during an internship, which requires at least 300 hours of work.
The master’s degree in nonprofit management at Washington University in St. Louis emphasizes succession planning, volunteerism, resource development, and competitive funding. Graduate students complete 27 credits in required coursework, including management in nonprofit organizations, organizational behavior, and legal issues impacting nonprofit organizations, with an additional 9 credits of electives. All students complete an integrated capstone project in nonprofit management and build skills in financial management, grant writing, volunteer management, and marketing communications. The program enrolls students on a part-time basis and admits experienced nonprofit managers, students seeking entry-level positions in the field, and experienced professionals transitioning into the nonprofit sector.
IUPUI offers a master of public affairs with a concentration in nonprofit management, which prepares students to hold legal, management, financial, and budgetary leadership roles in the nonprofit sector. The 39-credit program includes 15 credits in MPA core classes, 15 credits in the nonprofit management concentration, and an additional 9 credits of nonprofit management electives to customize the degree. The curriculum includes classes in human resource management in nonprofit organizations, management in the nonprofit sector, and fund development for nonprofits. The master’s in nonprofit management prepares graduates with analytical skills, theoretical knowledge, qualitative and quantitative abilities, and practical experience to work in the nonprofit sector.
Cleveland State offers a master of nonprofit administration and leadership program, which graduate students complete in two years. Students learn core nonprofit management functions, including fundraising, financial management, proposal writing, philanthropy, and program development. The interdisciplinary program includes courses from urban affairs, business, and social work, providing a broad-based set of skills for graduates. The 40-44 credit program includes eight core classes, such as organizational behavior, fundraising and external relations for nonprofit organizations, and advanced topics in nonprofit management, with an additional 9-12 hours of elective classes. Graduates build management skills and knowledge of nonprofits, preparing them for leadership positions in the field.
The master of public administration with a specialization in nonprofit management and leadership at Binghamton combines theoretical training with practical, real-work experience. Graduate students work with community-based organizations to further experiential learning, with an emphasis on critical, creative, and ethical thinking. Graduate students complete at least 300 hours of professional experience as part of their internship, which can include study abroad experiences. The 42-credit program includes seven core classes, with 12 credits in the nonprofit management and leadership specialization, an internship, and a culminating experience course where students demonstrate their competencies.
The School of Public Affairs at the University of Colorado Denver offers four flexible options for students enrolled in the master of public administration program. Students can choose a part-time or full-time option, an accelerated one-year program, or a fully online option. Within the nonprofit organizations concentration, graduate students complete five courses, with two required classes and three elective courses, including options like political advocacy, effective grant writing, fund development, and social entrepreneurship. The 36-credit MPA includes a capstone, client-based project in the final semester. Nonprofit concentration students can also earn the Certified Nonprofit Professional credential through the program.
The master of arts in public management program at Johns Hopkins builds academic and strategic skills so students can solve real-world governance and policy problems. The 12-course curriculum, designed for working professionals in the government and nonprofit sector, includes a capstone project where students address a real-world challenge with the skills and knowledge gained during the program. Nonprofit management specialists combine the degree with a certificate in nonprofit management, which offers six courses to hone analytical and management skills with a global perspective. The course options include nonprofit program development, resource development and marketing in nonprofits, institutional fundraising, and nonprofit governance.
The Evans School of Public Policy and Governance at the UW offers a master of public administration degree with a concentration in nonprofit management and philanthropy. Graduate students learn financial management and fundraising skills, volunteer management, and leadership skills. The course options include managing nonprofit and philanthropic organizations, nonprofit financial management, philanthropy and society, and performance management for public service organizations. The MPA core courses also include management, leadership, and budgeting; economics; and applications in policy analysis and program evaluation. Students complete a capstone project and a 400-hour internship to gain professional experience.
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