Nonprofit Management Schools and Colleges in the U.S.

Programs in nonprofit management teach students business, management and administration concepts that are critical for leadership positions in not-for-profit organizations. Read on to learn more about educational options in this field.

Programs are available in nonprofit management at the undergraduate, graduate and doctoral levels. Certain colleges only offer programs at the undergraduate level, while others may offer programs only to students who already hold an undergraduate or graduate degree.

10 Schools with Nonprofit Management Programs

The following schools offer programs in nonprofit management. Tuition rates are for the 2015-2016 school year.

College/University Location Institution Type Degree Levels Tuition (2015-2016)*
Arizona State University Tempe, AZ 4-year, Public Certificate, Bachelor's $10,158 (In-state), $25,458 (Out-of-state)
University of Minnesota - Twin Cities Minneapolis, MN 4-year, Public Graduate Certificate $15,844 (In-state) $24,508 (Out-of-state)
University of Central Florida Orlando, FL 4-year, Public Master's $6,916 (In-state) $25,759 (Out-of-state)
University of Georgia Athens, GA 4-year, Public Master's $8,492 (In-state) $24,090 (Out-of-state)
University of Maryland - University College Adelphi, MD 4-year, Public Master's $8,244 (In-state) $11,862 (Out-of-state)
University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA 4-year, Private Master's $39,984
Virginia Commonwealth University Richmond, VA 4-year, Public Master's $10,710 (In-state) $21,933 (Out-of-state)
University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee Milwaukee, WI 4-year, Public Master's, Graduate Certificate $10,387 (In-state) $23,424 (Out-of-state)
University of Iowa Iowa City, IA 4-year, Public Certificate $8,104 (In-state) $27,890 (Out-of-state)
Georgia State University Atlanta, GA 4-year, Public Postgraduate Certificate $6,876 (In-state) $22,374 (Out-of-state)

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics

School Selection Criteria

Consider the following when looking for nonprofit management schools:

  • Prospective students may want to find out what the pass rate is for graduates on the voluntary Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP) credentialing exam offered by the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance.
  • Students considering research-based PhD programs should find out if there are faculty members at the school with whom they share research interests in specializations such as nonprofit finance, nonprofit human resources, nonprofit taxation and nonprofit leadership.
  • Students can consider if the school regularly brings in speakers from well-known nonprofit organizations, as they can provide valuable insight and networking opportunities.
  • It is important for prospective graduate students to make sure they meet minimum admissions requirements; some programs are intended for professionals with previous work experience in the nonprofit sector.

Bachelor's Degree Programs

At the bachelor's degree, students can earn a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Nonprofit Management or pursue the subject as a formal concentration within a broader BS in Business Administration Program. These programs provide courses in fundamental business concepts, such as accounting, human resources and organizational behavior. Students can also take courses in topics that are especially relevant for future nonprofit managers, such as grant writing, entrepreneurship and the social aspects of business. Some programs prepare students for the Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP) credential offered by the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance.

Master's Degree Programs

Master's degree programs are designed to prepare nonprofit sector professionals for leadership positions in the field. These programs are typically highly interdisciplinary, combining theoretical and practical training in topics such as public policy, business management, law, digital media use and risk management. They may be offered in part-time or full-time formats, and students may be required to submit a final capstone project prior to graduation.

Doctoral Degree Programs

At the doctoral level, students can choose nonprofit management as a specialization area within a broader degree program in a field such as leadership studies or human services. In these programs, students conduct original research into the theoretical and practical aspects of effective nonprofit organization management. Graduates may choose to assume leadership positions in nonprofit organizations or work as university professors.

Certificate Programs

Graduate certificate programs in nonprofit management are available for professionals who want to advance their careers in the field without committing to a full master's degree program. These programs can usually be completed in one year or less. Topics of study include general management subjects, such as strategic management and conflict management, as well as nonprofit-focused courses in marketing, compliance and internal affairs.

Programs in nonprofit management are offered at public and private colleges and universities throughout the United States. Some of these programs offer a nonprofit concentration or certificate rather than a specific degree in nonprofit management.

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