FAQs

Master of Arts in Nonprofit Leadership and Management

Department of Leadership Studies

Course Work 

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 three or four years depending on the pace they set for themselves. Approximately half of our students complete the degree in two years. Please see the course schedule for course offerings and the sample two and three year course schedule for scheduling options.

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.

Admissions 

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 four 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 2014 is $740 per unit (total cost of $26,640 for the degree if completed in 2 years). An annual $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.

Is this program offered online?

No, this program is offered on campus at USD only. There is no online, hybrid or distance learning option available.

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. 

Do you provide job placement services?

No, we don’t, but 86% of our students get raises, new jobs or 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 Jennifer Yebba, Assistant Director, Institute for Nonprofit Education and Research by email  at jyebba@sandiego.edu or (619) 260-2918. You may also contact Pat Libby, Director, Institute for Nonprofit Education and Research at plibby@sandiego.edu 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.