2023 Best Online Masters in Nonprofit Management Degree Programs

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If you’re interested in pursuing leadership positions within a nonprofit organization, you might consider earning a masters degree in nonprofit management.

Best Online Masters in Nonprofit Management Degree

A nonprofit management masters program enables you to further your education and advance your business and leadership skill sets.

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The nonprofit sector is vast, and leaders in this field may use their skills to make a difference in areas such as community service, charitable giving, healthcare, and more.

Online Masters Degree in Nonprofit Management Programs

A non profit management masters degree can help you develop advanced business and leadership skills. This type of degree will focus on business and leadership methods as they relate to the nonprofit sector. Leadership positions also tend to require quite a bit of work experience. Those in management roles can make a difference leading the mission of a nonprofit organization and guiding their strategy.

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A master degree in nonprofit management can help you add to your professional qualifications and potentially lead to career advancement opportunities. You also have the flexibility of pursuing your master’s in nonprofit management online or in person.

Coursework taken during a non profit management masters degree program can include topics such as:

  • Finance
  • Leadership
  • Grant writing
  • Entrepreneurship

Graduates with a non-profit management masters degree may have oversight over departments of fundraising, community service, education, or even volunteer service. Nonprofit managers may hold titles such as:

  • Communications director
  • Major gifts officer
  • Chief operating officer
  • Program director

Pursuing a graduate degree in nonprofit management can help you obtain the knowledge and training to advance your career in the nonprofit sector. The business and management skill sets you can develop are also applicable in most fields outside of the nonprofit sector.

Non-Profit Management Careers & Salaries

Non-Profit Management Careers & Salaries

Working for a nonprofit organization can lead to career opportunities in different sectors. Nonprofit sectors can include education, healthcare, professional organizations, human rights organizations, and the arts.

Earning a masters degree in nonprofit management can also help you qualify for leadership roles outside of the nonprofit sector. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here’s a sampling of managerial positions that nonprofit management graduates may pursue, either within or outside of the nonprofit sector.

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Chief Executives $179,520
Financial Managers $131,710
Human Resources Managers $126,230
Public Relations Managers $125,780
Medical and Health Services Managers $101,340
Fundraising Managers $100,810
Administrative Services Managers $100,170
General and Operations Managers $97,970
Postsecondary Education Administrators $96,910
Social and Community Service Managers $74,000

Overall, management occupations are expected to see 9% job growth over the next ten years (Bureau of Labor Statistics).

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The particular job and salary you may qualify for will depend on a number of factors, such as your degree specialization, your work experience, your employer, and your location.

Nonprofit Management Masters Curriculum & Courses

Nonprofit Management Masters

The coursework for a masters in nonprofit administration can span a variety of topics in order to provide an overview of the nonprofit sector. Your coursework may include courses similar to those listed below:

  • The Nonprofit Sector: This course provides an overview of the nonprofit sector in America.
  • Nonprofit Financial Management: This course provides a framework for understanding the financial performance of a nonprofit.
  • Fundraising Fundamentals for Nonprofits: This course covers essential knowledge of fundraising for nonprofits.
  • Communications and Marketing for Nonprofits: This course covers marketing and communications needs and challenges, with a focus on the needs of nonprofit organizations.
  • Program Evaluation and Information Management: This course teaches you how to create and evaluate effective programs.
  • Managing the Mission-Based Organization: This course covers the essential knowledge of managing nonprofits.
  • Volunteer Resource Management: This course focuses on effectively managing volunteers.
  • Human Resources Management: Managing employees in a nonprofit organization brings about different challenges, and this course addresses those challenges.
  • Theory and Practice of Philanthropy: This course is all about philanthropy from the perspective of those in nonprofits.
  • Crafting the Language of Nonprofit Leadership: This course takes communication a step further and explores speaking across a range of public forums, covering challenges facing nonprofit organizations.

Your coursework may also differ according to your chosen specialization. A growing number of schools offer their master’s in non-profit management degree online as well as in person. In addition, some universities now offer online PhD in Nonprofit Management degree programs.

Master of Nonprofit Management Admissions Requirements

Master of Nonprofit Management Requirements

Admissions requirements for nonprofit management masters programs will vary, but some typical requirements include:

  • Completion of an online application form
  • Official transcripts from all colleges attended
  • Current resume
  • Statement of intent
  • GRE or GMAT scores (only some schools require them)

Additional requirements may include letters of recommendation and an admissions interview. You can check out the specific criteria of the programs you are interested in attending.

Nonprofit Management Graduate Programs Accreditation

Nonprofit Management Graduate Programs Accreditation

The status of regional accreditation indicates that a program has met a certain level of quality in its academic offerings.

Your school’s accreditation status can impact your ability to transfer credits to other academic programs in the future. It may also impact your job search, as potential employers often prefer candidates who hold degrees from regionally accredited schools.

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You can visit the website of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) to learn more about the accreditation status of nonprofit management programs you are considering.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Nonprofit Management Graduate Programs financial aid

There are a variety of financial aid opportunities that can help qualifying students with the cost of attending graduate school.

Financial aid often comes in the form of scholarships, grants, and student loans. Filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a common first step. The FAFSA will determine your eligibility for government aid, such as federal and state aid. Completing the FAFSA form online is free.

You can also reach out to the financial aid office at your prospective schools to see if there are any scholarship or grant opportunities. Public or private organizations may offer scholarship programs as well. If you are currently employed, you may want to see if your employer offers any tuition reimbursement programs.

What Can You Do with a Masters in Nonprofit Management?

Masters degree in Nonprofit Management

There are many opportunities to make a difference as a leader in a nonprofit organization. Nonprofit organizations are established in a variety of sectors, including education, healthcare, the arts, and human rights organizations.

The type of management position you pursue may be based on your degree specialization. For instance, graduates might pursue leadership roles in human resources, marketing, or finance departments of nonprofit organizations. With time and experience, some professionals even become executive directors.

A master’s degree in non profit management can also help you qualify for business and leadership positions outside of the nonprofit sector.

What Does a Nonprofit Manager Do?

Nonprofit Manager

Nonprofit managers are typically responsible for the strategy and management of a nonprofit organization. They are tasked with running the organization efficiently to maximize its resources and ensure the organization’s mission is carried out.

Areas of responsibility can include:

  • Fundraising and finances
  • Communicating with the Board of Directors
  • Setting the strategic plan for the organization
  • Managing personnel
  • Ensuring compliance with government regulations

A masters in nonprofit administration program can help nonprofit managers gain the knowledge and skill sets to perform these responsibilities.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Masters in Nonprofit Management Degree Online?

online degree in Nonprofit Management

Online master’s degree programs often include additional flexibility, which can enable you to build your coursework around your life’s obligations.

The length of time it takes to complete a masters in nonprofit management online varies depending on the number of credits you complete each semester and the program in which you enroll. For instance, a 36 credit hour program with no thesis requirement can often be completed in 1 year with full-time, year-round studies.

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If you attend part-time, it may take you longer to complete your degree, depending on the number of credits completed each semester. A thesis requirement will also add some additional time to completion.

What’s the Difference Between an MS in Nonprofit Management vs. Public Administration?

Nonprofit Management vs. Public Administration

Nonprofit management and public administration can appear very similar.

  • Nonprofit management: This field deals with the daily operations of nonprofit organizations. Leaders will also drive the vision and development of their organization. Examples of nonprofits include charities, religious organizations, hospitals, and public schools.
  • Public administration: This fields focuses more public policy and the implementation of government policies. Public administration professionals tend to work in state and local governments and serve the public good, but they may also pursue roles in the nonprofit sector.

Both a Master of Public Administration (MPA) and a masters in nonprofit management could help prepare you for nonprofit leadership roles. Some MPA programs even offer concentrations that focus on the nonprofit sector.

What’s the Difference Between an MBA vs. Masters in Non Profit Management?

Both an MBA and a masters in nonprofit management can prepare you for leadership roles.

Master of Business Administration Masters in Non Profit Management
  • Focuses on foundational and advanced business and finance principles
  • May offer nonprofit management concentration
  • Designed for experienced professionals
  • May be ideal for nonprofit workers who want formal business training
  • Focuses on business and management concepts specific to nonprofits
  • Intended for recent graduates or working professionals
  • May be ideal for business students who want specialized nonprofit training

An MBA can help you advance your business knowledge, while a masters in nonprofit management will focus solely on nonprofit-related business practices. Some MBA programs offer nonprofit management concentrations, but they’ll still include general business and finance coursework as well.

Is a Masters in Nonprofit Management Worth It?

Nonprofit Management careers

Yes, a masters in nonprofit management is worth it for many students. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for management occupations is expected to increase 9% over the next ten years.

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A masters in nonprofit management program can help you advance your knowledge of business and leadership as they relate to nonprofit organizations. A masters can often help you advance your current career or switch to a new field. Masters degree holders also tend to have higher earning potential.

Universities Offering Online Masters in Non Profit Management Degree Program

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.

Arizona State University

Arizona State University campus

Arizona State University offers an online program for a Master of Nonprofit Leadership and Management. It consists of eleven classes that are each 7.5 weeks long. Applicants are required to have previous professional experience in nonprofits. The program is designed to help students develop skills in volunteer management, advocacy, fundraising, program development, and more.

ASU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Columbia University

Columbia University campus

Columbia University offers a Master of Science in Nonprofit Management. Students can study full-time on campus or part-time online. The program requires the completion of 36 credits and a capstone project. Coursework includes Role and Unique Nature of the Nonprofit Sector, Ethics in the Nonprofit Sector, Nonprofit Governance, and more.

Columbia is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Drexel University

Drexel University campus

Drexel University offers an online program for an MS in Nonprofit Management. The online platform allows students to study on their own schedules while still getting opportunities to interact with classmates and instructors. The academic calendar has four 10 week quarters each year. The curriculum includes courses such as Foundation in Fundraising and Ethics, Nonprofit Communications, and Program Evaluation.

Drexel University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Johnson & Wales University

Johnson and Wales University campus

Johnson & Wales University offers a Master of Science in Nonprofit Management. Courses are 8 weeks long and available 100% online. The entire degree program can typically be finished in 2 years. Courses include Theory and Practice of Nonprofit Management, Social Entrepreneurship, Personnel Deployment in Nonprofits, and more.

JWU is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

Louisiana State University

Louisiana State University campus

Louisiana State University’s Master of Science in Nonprofit Administration can be earned 100% online. The program includes 33 credit hours of coursework and can potentially be completed in just 1 year. Three specialized tracks are available: Nonprofit Administration, Nonprofit Development, and Disaster Preparedness.

Louisiana State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

North Park University

North Park University campus

North Park University offers a Master of Nonprofit Administration. The degree can be earned on campus or online. Courses include Nonprofit Financial Management, Measuring Outcomes and Assessment, Nonprofit Marketing Analysis and Consumer Behavior, and more. The curriculum can also be customized with different elective options.

North Park University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Northeastern University

Northeastern University campus

Northeastern University offers an online program for a Master of Science in Nonprofit Management. Students can study full-time or part-time. The degree can typically be earned in 12 to 18 months. Students can choose from five concentrations: Fundraising, Leadership and Management, Project Management, Social Innovation, and Social Media and Analytics.

Northeastern University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

Our Lady of the Lake University

Our Lady of the Lake University campus

Our Lady of the Lake University offers an online MS in Nonprofit Management program that can potentially be finished in just 4 semesters. It requires the completion of 12 courses, such as Marketing for Nonprofits and Finance Accounting for Nonprofits. Applicants are asked to provide two professional references when they apply.

Our Lady of the Lake University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Regis University

Regis University campus

Regis University offers a Master of Nonprofit Management. Courses are 100% online and 8 weeks long. Regis provides small class sizes and a curriculum based in Jesuit values. There are six start dates each year, and students can usually finish in 1 to 2 years.

Regis University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Texas A&M University

Texas A & M University - Commerce campus

Texas A&M University offers an online Executive Master of Public Service and Administration with a Nonprofit Management track. The degree can be earned entirely online. The program includes courses like Volunteer and Human Resources in Nonprofit Organizations, Legal Environment of Nonprofit Organizations, and Fiscal Management for Nonprofits.

Texas A&M University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of Central Florida

University of Central Florida campus

The University of Central Florida offers an online program for a Master of Nonprofit Management. Students can also pursue a dual degree with a Master of Public Administration. Coursework includes Grant and Contract Management, Volunteerism in Nonprofit Management, Strategic Planning and Management, and more. Online students are allowed flexibility and may take some classes on campus if desired.

The University of Central Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of Houston – Downtown

University of Houston Downtown campus

The University of Houston—Downtown offers a Master of Arts in Nonprofit Management. The online program aims to help students develop knowledge of law and ethics, program management, entrepreneurship, marketing, and more. It requires the completion of 36 credit hours of coursework, including an internship experience worth 6 credit hours.

The University of Houston – Downtown is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of Northern Iowa

University of Northern Iowa campus

The University of Northern Iowa offers a Master of Arts in Philanthropy and Nonprofit Development. The program uses a cohort model and usually takes 2 years to complete. Professionals who already have 3 to 5 years of experience are preferred. Courses include Psychology, Law, and Philanthropy, Applied Research Methods, Public Relation Campaign Methods, and more.

University of Northern Iowa is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of Notre Dame

University of Notre Dame campus

The University of Notre Dame offers an Executive Master of Nonprofit Administration. The program is part-time, and classes are available both online and on campus. Students are required to participate in a field project and take courses such as Financial Management and Fund Development, Accounting, and Decision Analysis and Statistics.

The University of Notre Dame is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Walden University

Walden University campus

Walden University offers an online program for an MS in Nonprofit Management and Leadership. Coursework includes Introduction to the Nonprofit Sector, Organizational Management and Leadership, Ethics and Social Justice, and more.

Numerous specializations are available. Options include International Nongovernmental Organizations, Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Local Government Management for Sustainable Communities, and more.

Walden University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Getting Your Non Profit Management Master Degree Online

Non Profit Management Master Degree Online

If you are passionate about making a difference and leading a mission-driven organization, you might consider pursuing a nonprofit management master degree.

Many accredited universities also offer nonprofit management masters degree programs online, which can be a convenient option for working professionals. Earning an advanced degree in nonprofit management can help you qualify for more senior or leadership roles in the nonprofit sector. Many of the business and leadership skills you can develop are applicable in the for-profit sector as well.

If you’re wanting to enhance your expertise in nonprofit business and management, you can explore masters degrees from accredited schools to find the program that best aligns with your career goals.

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Tiffany McRae
WRITTEN BY
Tiffany McRae
Tiffany holds a Master of Library Science from North Carolina Central University, a Master of Arts in Experimental Psychology from Western Carolina University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Tiffany is passionate about research, educational technology, libraries, and higher education.