According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the nonprofit workforce is the third largest in the US, representing 10 percent of total employment, that is, 11.4 million jobs. Nonprofit organizations serve both small-scale and global communities, from neighborhoods to greater society. Being a leader in the nonprofit sector requires a high concentration of organizational skills, financial strategy, and efficient management. The programs listed below can help prepare you for a career in nonprofit leadership. While some institutions offer Masters of Science, others provide Masters of Public Administration. We've been sure to specify below. One last thing to note, is that the tuition rates listed below reflect the cost of the entire program, start to finish. Our data comes from the university and colleges' websites as well as nationally recognized U.S. News and World Report and The National Center for Education Statistics.
See our rankings methodology page.
Earn your MPA, Master of Public Administration in Nonprofit Management and Leadership, in as little as eighteen months at Capella University. Designed around NASPAA (Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration) standards, the curriculum at Capella emphasizes a breadth of facets in public administration and leadership. Students are prepared to understand the roles and responsibilities of nonprofit organizations, how to evaluate the ethical and legal implications of data use, how to apply strategic fiscal methods to management, grant writing, fundraising, and more. Finally, at Capella you can choose one of three areas of concentration: nonprofit organizational performance and program evaluation, nonprofit social entrepreneurship, and strategic fund development.
Bay Path University
Bay Path University is a private institution based in Longmeadow, Massachusetts. It is the first university to offer the first all-women online college, though it now provides coeducational online degrees. The Master of Science in Nonprofit Management and Philanthropy prepares its students to manage in an array of areas, including strategic planning, financial analysis, board governance, and volunteer maintenance. No advanced tests, such as the GRE or GMAT, are required to apply and the degree can be achieved in one year, with most students completing the degree in one to two years. Though one of the more expensive institutions on our list, Bay Path does provide scholarships and financial aid.
Earn a Masters in Nonprofit Management and Leadership at Walden and you’ll specialize in one of four areas of concentration: international nongovernmental organizations, local government management for sustainable communities, global leadership, and self-designed. A confluence of practical and theoretical, the curriculum at Walden prepares students to explore marketing and public relations; to acquire, manage, and retain volunteers; apply strategy to leadership, budgeting, finance, fundraising, board management, and more. Because Walden University’s learning platform takes place mostly online, their technological prowess is unmatched; students can interact with coursework through MP3 players, cellphones, tablets, and personal computers.
At Post University you can earn a Master of Science in Human Services with a concentration in Nonprofit Management. With a curriculum that focuses on the complexity and interrelationship of human problems, social and cultural forces, and national policies, Post prepares its students to apply their education to their careers while still in class. Students learn both the practical and theoretical facets of management, from how to write compelling grant copy, manage employees and volunteers, create and implement budgets to gaining thorough knowledge of human behavior systems and the history of ethics in human services.
Johnson and Wales University
Johnson and Wales University is a private, nonprofit university with four campuses located throughout the United States, including its primary and largest campus located in Providence, Rhode Island. Their Master of Science in Nonprofit Management program can be completed in as little as fifteen months through eleven-week, online courses. The curriculum at Johnson and Wales University covers everything from general industry insight to the theory and practice of nonprofit management, personnel deployment, methodology, social entrepreneurship, and more.
University of Central Florida
The University of Central Florida in Orlando, Florida is a public research institution and the largest university in the United States by undergraduate enrollment and the second largest university by total enrollment. Their School of Public Administration offers a Master of Nonprofit Management degree that can be achieved fully online through an array of classes, such as: volunteerism in nonprofit management, grant and contract management, public program evaluation techniques, nonprofit administration, and more.
Regis University is a private, Roman Catholic university based in Denver, Colorado and is part of the twenty-eight-member Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. They offer an online Master of Nonprofit Management degree program that emphasizes fundraising, public relations and communications, community outreach, government relations and advocacy, grantmaking, and program management. Graduates go on to become executive directors, chief development officers, social and community service managers, and directors of case management among others. One thing to note is that Regis’ curriculum is self-described as Jesuit and value-centered, for those looking for a faith-oriented educational experience.
Our Lady of the Lake University
Also Catholic, Our Lady of the Lake University is located in San Antonio, Texas and boasts a broad online learning platform. Their Master of Science in Nonprofit Management program sets itself apart from the others in stressing a decidedly business-oriented approach. Students can complete their degree in only four semesters, taking only twelve courses through the fast-track format. Also unique to Our Lady of the Lake is the close partnership between student and teacher; students have the opportunity to work closely with faculty in determining then developing a project throughout the program. Like the other schools on this list, students at Our Lady learn about finance, marketing, human resources, legal issues, fundraising, grant writing, volunteer management, and more.
Grace College, located in Winona Lake, Indiana, is an evangelical Christian institution that applies biblical values to its curriculum, including its online Master of Science in Nonprofit Management program. With a technological focus, Grace College introduces students to the latest techniques and developments, how to utilize social media, management software, and more. This program also includes an ethics emphasis, that is, the ethics of fundraising, advocacy, and strategic planning. Grace College asserts that the question “what will help me do a better job serving others” guides their academic principles and applications.
Louisiana State University Shreveport
The Master of Science in Nonprofit Administration degree from Louisiana State University Shreveport is a professional development degree for those wishing to enter the fields of middle and upper-level administration in the nonprofit sector. The program can be completed fully online and is designed for those students who are already working or seeking an alternative educational experience. Some of the classes offered include: development of philanthropy, administrative law and nonprofit organizations, social institutions, theory and research, financial management, and more. Students decide between the nonprofit development track and the nonprofit administrative track.