Graduate Certificate in the Nonprofit Sector


The Graduate Certificate in the Nonprofit Sector, Philanthropy and Social Change is a professionally-oriented, application-based program for students seeking leadership positions in nonprofit organizations or in a public agency that deals extensively with nonprofits. The curriculum is designed to address the distinctive features and practices of the nonprofit sector and emphasizes management techniques helpful to nonprofit leaders.

One of the fastest growing sectors in today’s economy, nonprofit organizations have taken on critical roles in meeting public needs. As a result, there is a growing call for professional managers who can lead complex organizations in a time of great uncertainty and change. Successful nonprofit organizations today depend on their ability to compete effectively for resources, understand community needs and priorities, and deliver appropriate services within budget. The Graduate Certificate in the Nonprofit Sector provides students with the management, fiduciary and analytical tools necessary to assume leadership positions.

In addition to providing hands-on training to those working in the nonprofit sector, the Certificate is also valuable for students seeking government positions that involve oversight of, or partner with nonprofit organizations. As government at all levels increasingly relies on nonprofits to implement programs, successful public managers need to develop a deeper understanding of the methods, practices, limitations and opportunities facing the nonprofit sector. Indeed, with the blurring of boundaries, public service professionals today are likely to find their careers involve movement between the two sectors.

General types of positions for which graduates of the Certificate program will be prepared include managers and professional staff in nonprofit organizations and government positions that involve extensive interface with the nonprofit sector.


Information accurate as of Fall 2014. Requirements and policies subject to change. For up-to-date information, contact Louis DaRos at

The Certificate is comprised of two required courses and two elective courses for a total of four courses (12 semester hours) as specified below. A grade of B or better in each course is required.

The two required courses are:

  • POLS 7308 Nonprofit Organizations and Social Change
  • POLS  7309 The Nonprofit Sector in Civil Society & Public Affairs

The two elective courses must be approved by the Director of the Graduate Certificate in the Nonprofit Sector. Options include:

  • POLS 7337 Nonprofit Financial Resource Development
  • POLS 7318 Techniques of Program Evaluation
  • POLS 7317 Management of Information Systems
  • POLS 7326 International Development Administration and Planning
  • POLS 7335 Accountability, Performance Measurement & Contracting
  • POLS 7307 Functions and Techniques of Public Management
  • POLS 7311 Administrative Ethics and Public Management
  • PPUA 5275 Philanthropy and Civil Society


For additional information, contact:

Laurie Dopkins, Director of Graduate Certificate in the Nonprofit Sector
Director of Graduate Programs and Online Learning
School of Public Policy & Urban Affairs

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