An online masters in non-profit management can lead to many career opportunities in a rewarding and meaningful field. Working for a non-profit allows employees the chance to work towards making the world a better place and truly have an impact on a variety of different people. Although those working in the non-profit industry may have a lower salary than those working for a large corporation, many people find the meaningful work to be worth the cut in pay. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, non-profit organizations account for 12.3 million jobs and 10.2% of private-sector employment, so a masters in non-profit management may be well worth it.
A masters degree in non-profit management teaches students the tools they need to run a non-profit efficiently and effectively. Some critical skills students might learn in their studies include fundraising and development techniques, financial management, and grant writing. An online masters degree can help you achieve your goals and move up in the nonprofit industry, especially because online courses offer flexible schedules that allow you to continue working throughout the semester. Many people already employed in a non-profit may find this option especially convenient.
To compile this list of some of the best schools for online masters programs, we evaluated the cost of the program, the length, the quality of the instruction and the classes, and the reputation of the university. Since all of the programs are online, they are relatively flexible, although some of the schools offer classes in shorter semesters which can be more convenient for some people. The rigor of the application process and the strength and relevance of the course work was also taken into consideration.
10. Lewis University
Lewis University, a small Roman Catholic school, offers a masters program in organizational leadership with a concentration in non-profit management. It requires 37 credits to complete this degree. Students can earn their masters in as quickly as 18 months, but have up to 7 years to complete the masters in non-profit management. The classes are divided into eight-week cohorts which allow students to finish quicker, but also accelerates the coursework which might be a drawback for some. One of the unique things about this program is that it does offer some onsite courses for those who live in the northern Illinois area and prefer to attend in person classes. However, the program can be completed entirely online.
The coursework in the non-profit concentration emphasizes proposal writing, volunteer management, and overseeing diverse organizations and populations. The small class size is another benefit of this program so students can get more personalized attention from professors and classmates.
Some of the admission requirements for this degree in non-profit management include a baccalaureate degree from an accredited university with a minimum GPA of a 3.0 in at least the last 60 credits, as well as two letters of recommendation and an essay describing the applicant's personal goals. This best school for non-profit leadership also prefers applicants with significant experience in a managerial role. Additionally, the school offers provisional admission status, which allows students to become full degree candidates after improving on deficiencies in their application, and student at high status, which is a non-degree candidate student. The admissions process is rolling, and students can enter the program six different times throughout the year.
New England College offers an MS in Management with a concentration in nonprofit leadership. Students can complete this degree in less than two years and will study topics such as fundraising, strategic planning, and project management. Graduates and current students in this best degree in non-profit management are extremely satisfied with the flexible class schedule and the support from the professors. They found that their financial management skills and marketing skills were greatly improved and had more useful knowledge to contribute to their organization. One of the great things about this particular program is that it provides students with a strong foundation in accounting principles such as auditing, tax laws, and auditing.
It requires ten courses to finish the degree and places an emphasis on small class size with a 12:1 student to faculty ratio.
The online MS in non-profit leadership and management has a rolling admissions process that allows students the opportunity to start every seven weeks. A baccalaureate degree is required, although GRE and GMAT scores are not.
New England College offers 30 Bachelor degree programs, 13 Master's degrees, and a Ph.D. program. The college is located in New Hampshire, although the program is entirely online so students from all over can enroll. The tuition for this affordable online masters in non-profit management program costs $10,650 as of 2015.
The Master of Nonprofit Management program at Regis University requires students to complete 36 credits worth of course work. The courses are offered in an eight-week format, and the program typically takes about two years to complete, taking one class at a time. This particular program focuses on social justice and the history and theory of the non-profit sector. Students must complete a capstone research project and a field experience in the industry. Some of the classes that students have to take to complete this degree include:
- Human Resource Leadership in Nonprofit Organizations
- History, Theory and the Future of the Nonprofit Sector
- Social Justice and the Nonprofit Sector.
To apply, potential students must complete the online application, submit the $50 fee, and send the transcripts from your bachelor's degree, as well as a current resume and admission essay based on the provided topics.
Regis University, located in Denver, Colorado, although it offers a multitude of online programs, is a private Jesuit college that offers several undergraduate and graduate degrees. This best online master in non-profit leadership program is offered through the Regis University College of Business and Economics which also offers degrees in accounting, business, marketing, and public administration. For a private school, the program is extremely affordable, only costing $525 per credit hour.
The Louisiana State University at Shreveport offers an MS in Nonprofit Administration. A unique thing about this program is that it focuses on community and diversity in the business place, which are paramount in the non-profit workforce. Students will still take courses in finance and strategic planning, but community development is regarded as equally important. It takes a total of 30 credit hours to finish this degree, which breaks down to ten courses, as well as an additional three hours for a final project.
Some of the required courses for this online masters in non-profit leadership include Development of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Organizations and Administrative Law and Nonprofit Organizations.
Louisiana State University has the Institute for Nonprofit Administration and Research, which does research and interprets data for non-profits and about non-profit organizations. It is a large school with multiple locations in Louisiana, as well as several online options. To apply to this best school for non-profit leadership, students must have a baccalaureate degree with a 3.0 GPA and have taken the GRE and received a score of at least 800. Students can be accepted into the program in the fall, spring, and summer and all three semesters have separate admissions deadlines.
This top masters in non-profit management offered by Johnson and Wales University is one of the most accelerated programs on the list. Students can complete their degree in as little as fifteen months. Although the pace is fast, it is still a thorough program covering all aspects of non-profit management. The courses are broken into 11-week cohorts. Some of the classes students are required to include:
- Corporate Financial Accounting
- Theory and Practice of Nonprofit Management
- Methodological, Decision-Making and Analytic Techniques.
Johnson and Wales offer faculty with significant experience in the non-profit industry so students can benefit from leaders in this field.
To apply to this affordable online masters in non-profit management , students must submit the application along with their undergraduate transcripts, as well as graduate, if applicable. Additionally, applicants must submit a statement of purpose and two letters of recommendation. If you achieved a GPA of over 2.85 in your undergraduate program, the GMAT is not required for admission.
Johnson and Wales University was ranked as one of the best colleges for its high graduate rates and low levels of debt, as well as the quality of the teaching. Johnson and Wales Univeristy offers several undergraduate and graduate degrees online, as well as significant tuition discounts for members of the military.
The University of Maryland University College is affiliated with the University system of Maryland and offers over 100-degree programs, many of which are online. The program requires 36 credit hours to complete the MS in Management: Nonprofit and Association Management degree.
There is also a capstone course requirement. Some of the courses that are necessary for students to take include
- Nonprofit and Association Organizations and Issues
- Marketing, Development and Public Relations in Nonprofit Organizations and Associations
- Strategic Management in Nonprofit Organizations and Associations
- Nonprofit and Association Law
- Governance and Nonprofit and Association Financial Management.
Students may also elect to take Effective Graduate Writing, which can significantly improve their writing abilities, an important skill to have in the non-profit industry. The program places a particular emphasis on financial management, revenue generation, and cost control issues, and legal foundations and governance.
The application fee for United States citizens is $50, and students have the opportunity to call before applying to the program to speak with an advisor about any questions or concerns they are having. This best school for non-profit leadership requires students to already possess a baccalaureate degree before applying.
The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) offers an entirely online Master of Arts degree in non-profit management (MANPM) that requires 36 hours of course work to complete. There are 18 credits worth of core courses and 12 credits worth of electives for students to choose from.
Additionally, students are required to complete an internship and a capstone assignment. Some of the course requirements include:
- Principles of Non-Profit Marketing
- Principles of Non-Profit Finance
- Leadership in Non Profit Organizations
- Program Assessment and Evaluation
- Resourcing the Nonprofit Organization
Some of the elective options include Grant Writing for Nonprofit Organizations, Law and Advocacy in Nonprofit Management, and Governance of the Volunteer Board and Organizational Behavior. The Final internship is worth six credits.
The University of Houston-Downtown is one of the largest universities in Houston, although it offers several top programs online. Students can choose from nearly 60 different bachelor or masters programs. One of the requirements for this masters in non-profit management is that students must have completed a baccalaureate degree with at least a GPA of a 3.0 for the past 60 credit hours. Students who graduated from a university in which English is not the native language will be required to achieve a minimum of a 550 on the TOEFL exam. Applicants must submit their transcripts, resume, and three letters of recommendation. Additionally, students must submit a personal statement describing in 1,000 words or less their experience in the non-profit industry and why they believe this experience will help them find success and contribute to the not-for-profit sector.
Rutgers University offers a Masters in Public Administration with a concentration in Public and Nonprofit Performance Management. Although students have the option to take classes on campus, there is also a completely online degree program available. Students must take 11 courses worth three credits for a total of 33 credits towards the core curriculum, followed by nine credits towards the Non-profit performance management concentration. Students must take four foundation courses including Introduction to Public Administration and Technology and Public Administration, two courses towards Research and Analysis, three courses towards Management, one course towards financial management, and a capstone project to complete the degree.
Although this best masters in non-profit leadership does not require students to participate in an internship, it is strongly encouraged, and Rutgers assists students in securing these internships with organizations in their area, which is a unique and helpful aspect of this program.
Rutgers University is one of the largest universities in New Jersey and offers several online programs. Students interested in applying must submit an application, a resume, their transcripts from their bachelor's degree, as well as three letters of recommendation and a personal statement of two to three pages that explains why you are interested in this particular degree. Applications are accepted all year round on a rolling basis, so students are eligible to enroll in the following semester after they have been admitted to the program. Transfer credits can be accepted if a student was previously registered in a similar program, but the university will evaluate the courses first.
The University of Central Florida Division of Continuing Studies offers a master of non-profit management that requires 36 credits to complete. Students can complete the program in as little as six semesters as the university recommends taking two courses per semester. In addition to the degree program, students have the unique opportunity to pursue the National Nonprofit Leadership Certificate option which includes an internship which can be extremely beneficial for many students. Some of the classes that are required for this degree include:
- Volunteerism in Nonprofit Management
- Nonprofit Financial Management
- Nonprofit Resource Development
The University of Central Florida is one of the largest universities in Florida and offers more than 200 programs at the bachelor, master, and doctoral levels. It is a large research university with a lot of opportunities for students and faculty support. One of the best things about the online program is that it offers the same curriculum as the residency program at less than half the cost of out-of-state tuition. To apply, students must have a 3.0 GPA in their previous studies, three letters of recommendation, a resume, as well as a statement of goals.
If you are considering a job as an Association Program Director, Community Engagement Director or a Non-profit Executive Director, this masters in non-profit leadership will be worth it to you.
Northeastern University is the best pick for the MS degree in non-profit management for many reasons. It is a top university with a high level of research activity that students can participate in. This program requires 45 credits to complete the degree, which is longer than some of the other programs, so students learn more about the field and are more readily prepared to make a significant impact in the non-profit management and leadership industry.
The schedule is extremely flexible, as students do not need to log in at a certain time every day or night, as long as the course work is completed in a certain amount of time. Co-op and internship experiences are available, but not required. This is important because students who are already employed do not want to take time off of work to participate in an internship or co-op, but those who are not employed in the non-profit industry and are looking to gain some experience can benefit from the work.
Some of the courses that students will include Financial Management for Nonprofit Organizations and Legal and Governance Issues in Nonprofit Organizations. Students also have the option of choosing from one of seven concentrations including:
- global studies
- human services
- social media and online communities
- sports and social change
- leadership, organizational communication
- project management.
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