Master of Arts in Nonprofit Leadership and Management
Department of Leadership Studies
Program of Study
The goal of this 36 unit program is to provide existing and aspiring nonprofit practitioners with cutting-edge leadership theories and state-of-the-art management tools that can be used to create high-performing organizations. Students learn new ways of conceptualizing their work through their studies with noted faculty from the School of Leadership and Education Sciences as well as from prominent practitioners who teach in our program. Most courses include consulting projects with locally-based nonprofits and foundations where concepts learned in the classroom come to life.
Practice Component and Portfolio Requirements
The majority of the courses offered in the nonprofit concentration will contain one or more practice projects with nonprofit organizations. A student may not undertake more than 50% of his or her projects with a single nonprofit agency.
The terminal project for this degree is a portfolio of demonstrated competencies which will be evidenced by a submission of no fewer than three practice projects with accompanying supporting documents, a narrative explaining the process you undertook to complete each assignment, and the impact said assignments had on the nonprofit agency with which the student worked. In addition, each student will be asked to prepare a synthesis of what he or she learned in the core Leadership classes. The students’ portfolios will be evaluated by a nonprofit program faculty member and an external practitioner.
Optional Certification with the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance
Certification is open to all current students and alumni of the Nonprofit Leadership and Management Program.
Students wishing to be certified must complete the following:
- LEAD 501 - Capstone course on Nonprofit Management
- Completion of nonprofit competency requirements (which is a part of the M.A. program coursework). Competency areas of study include: Nonprofit Fundamentals, Ethics, Volunteer Management/Board Development, Fundraising and Resource Development, Finance, Management, and Marketing
- At least 300 hours of work in a nonprofit (this can be actual work experience in a nonprofit or volunteer work)
- Attendance at the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance Institute or an equivalent professional development meeting (i.e. AFP national meetings, AMA Cause Marketing Conference, etc.)
- Personal Essay on Leadership
Core Courses (32 units)
In rare instances where a student has a demonstrated competency in one of the following subject areas: Finance, Marketing, Strategic Planning, Fundraising, Nonprofit Legal Issues, or Research Design/Program Evaluation the student may approach the program director and subsequently, the course professor, about opting out of that course. If the director and professor agree, the student may substitute elective units for those required courses. No other course substitutions will be granted.
Elective Courses (4 units)
Choose 4 or more units from the following:
|COURSE NUMBER||COURSE TITLE||GRADUATE UNITS|
|LEAD 513||Advocacy Skills and Strategies||
|LEAD 517||Capital & Endowment Campaign Planning||
|LEAD 514||Public Speaking||
|LEAD 579||Social Entrepreneurship – Innovations in Creating Social Value||
2 - 3
|LEAD 515||Risk Management||
|LEAD 518||Nonprofits and Civil Society in Guatemala (Not offered in 2014)||
2 or 3
|LEAD 519||Understanding Bi-National Nonprofits In the US-Mexican Border Region||
|LEAD 530||Creative Leadership - Assessment, Challenge & Support||
|LEAD 579||Grant Making for the Greater Good||
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take to complete the program?
The program is a 36-unit program that can be completed in two academic years (including a summer session that bridges the first and second academic year). Students who are looking to complete the program in two years, take at least 7 units per semester, a required 1-unit course during winter term, and are required to take one 3-unit summer course. Students can also elect to undertake their studies on a part time basis. If they choose to do so, they can complete the degree in either 3 or 4 years depending on the pace they set for themselves. Approximately half of our students complete the degree in two years. Please see the sample 2 and 3 year academic schedule and course schedule for course offerings and layout of the class schedule.
Can I work full time and complete the program on schedule?
Yes, the majority of our students work full time.
When are classes held?
Most of our classes take place from 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. during weekday evenings. A small number are held on weekend days. Please refer to the course schedule on this website for more detailed information. In addition all students participate in a multi-cultural/international academic experience of their choosing – either in San Diego or elsewhere – that is designed to strengthen their ability to understand and lead diverse organizations.
What types of people are enrolled in the program?
Our students are a very diverse group of professionals, the vast majority of whom work in mid-to-senior-level management positions at nonprofit corporations and philanthropies (a few work in the public and private sectors). They reflect the racial, ethnic and religious diversity of our nation, and work for nonprofits across the spectrum of fields ranging from human services to the environment, health care to arts, philanthropies, and everything in between. Approximately 1/3 of our students are in their twenties, 1/3 are in their thirties and 1/3 are over forty. A few of our students already have advanced degrees.
What qualities are you looking for in applicants?
We are looking for people who are already or have the potential to be leaders in the nonprofit community, people with critical thinking skills, good interpersonal skills and strong writing skills. We have a strong preference for people who have been in the workforce for 4 years or longer.
What is the cost of the program?
The cost of the program depends upon whether the student is employed by a 501 (c)(3) corporation or not. If the student is employed in the private sector, public sector, or a nonprofit that is not classified as a (c)(3) by the IRS, then the tuition reflects that of USD's graduate tuition cost.
Students who are employed by 501 (c)(3) corporations are eligible for reduced tuition and scholarship funds. The discounted tuition rate for fall 2012 is $650 per unit (total cost of $23,400 for the degree). An annual $1,000 - $2,000 scholarship is available for all nonprofit practitioners. Scholarship procedures.
Who should write my recommendation letters?
We like to see letters from people with whom you have a professional relationship – your immediate supervisor, a board member with whom your work closely, perhaps someone you supervise, or a colleague you collaborate with at a related organization.
Do you provide job placement services?
No, we don’t, but 84% of our students get raises, new jobs and promotions as a direct result of their participation in our program. We provide an informal job announcement distribution network that combined with the networks of our existing students, alumni and advisory board members helps many of our students land new jobs in the sector.
How can I find out more about the program?
For more information, please contact Elizabeth Castillo, Associate Director, Institute for Nonprofit Education and Research at email@example.com or (619) 260-7442. You may also contact Pat Libby, Director, Institute for Nonprofit Education and Research at firstname.lastname@example.org or (619) 282-8875.
We also sponsor many community events throughout the year including an open house for prospective students where attendees have the opportunity to chat with our enrolled students and faculty. Please check the events page on this website for more information on this and other events.