Philanthropic Studies Graduate Programs

Graduate programs in philanthropic studies also go under the label of nonprofit management, but each program covers almost identical material about managing the operations of a nonprofit organization.

Graduate programs in philanthropic studies are slightly difficult to find, but a program that mirrors the work of the philanthropic studies degree is the nonprofit organization program. These courses are oriented around teaching students about how to successfully lead a philanthropic nonprofit organization.

Program Coursework

Courses that students should anticipate taking deal with many aspects of leadership ranging from leadership models to balancing financial concerns. Students should expect to complete their required courses over a period of between 2 to 6 years, depending on the type of program they are attending.


Leadership is an important part of philanthropic organizations and nonprofits. Courses in leadership are designed to help students better understand current models of leadership and their application in a work environment. Students are also expected to develop their own models of leadership that they would want to implement once they become leaders themselves.

Financial Management

Courses in financial management are oriented around passing on the skills necessary for managing a budget. Nonprofit organizations require leaders who can balance budgets while still directing resources toward the organization's core mission. This course helps students better understand accounting, budget management, financial reporting, and forecasting future revenues.


Leaders of nonprofits have to be aware of both the federal and state laws under which their organizations operate. Courses in governance teach students about the impact of various laws on their organization. This coursework also instructs students in areas of regulatory compliance, general liabilities to be aware of, and the nuance of tax-exempt status.

Change Coursework

Nonprofits often attempt to implement positive change in their surrounding communities. Students in these courses learn how to assess the needs of a nonprofit's stakeholders and work toward the public good. This course teaches students to consider the balance between the public, government, and business, and how those forces intersect to impact a nonprofit's operations.


Nonprofits are always on the lookout for funding opportunities. Courses in grant and report writing help students identify grant opportunities and write successful grant proposals. These courses teach students about how to research grants and put together proposal packages. Students should be able to successfully navigate the grant proposal process upon completion.

Admission Requirements

A graduate program in this area requires students to submit their transcripts. Students typically need to demonstrate that they maintained a GPA of between 3.0 and 4.0 during their bachelor's program. Graduate schools commonly request GRE test scores, although they rarely publish any minimum GRE score requirements. They may, however, publish the most common GRE scores of applicants to their program. Students will often be asked to submit between two to three letters of recommendation. It's also common for students to submit a written personal statement or an essay explaining their professional goals.

The course labels you will find from school to school may change, but they will often cover the same materials in leadership, grant funding, and financial management. For course specifics, get in touch with the university that you are interested in to request information about the courses they offer.

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