MA in Nonprofit Management

Program of Study
Course Descriptions

Notre Dame of Maryland University offers two graduate programs in nonprofit management, the Master of Arts degree in Nonprofit Management and the Graduate Certificate of Leadership of Nonprofit Organizations. Nonprofit organizations strengthen, inspire, and protect our communities, heritage, and world as well as offer unique challenges to their leaders and managers. Built on a foundation of ethics and mission, Notre Dame's nonprofit management programs combine business methods, management theory, and social commitment to prepare dedicated individuals to serve as effective leaders in the nonprofit sector.

The Master of Arts in Nonprofit Management degree provides middle- and upper-level managers the opportunity to learn practical strategies, grounded in business theory, in an atmosphere of frank exchange and interaction with other nonprofit practitioners. The Graduate Certificate of Leadership of Nonprofit Organizations is designed for those who seek the challenge of graduate-level exploration but not necessarily a full degree.

Nonprofit professionals explore the rapidly evolving environment of nonprofits, responding to social and policy challenges, funding stream patterns, and technological advancements. They examine the changing relationship between nonprofits and government, the evolving strategic alliances among nonprofit and for-profit organizations. This curriculum prepares people of commitment to manage the “business” of the mission-based organization effectively and efficiently. These courses guide nonprofit professionals in skill development that crosses the broad range of management responsibilities of the skills necessary to develop strategic direction, seek funding streams, manage staff and volunteers, evaluate finances, and evaluate programs. The program is grounded in practical experience, and students are given the opportunity to apply their knowledge to real-life challenges in every course. In the capstone project, students have the opportunity to integrate the theoretical and practical experiences into a project of the student's own design.

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Program of Study

The program of study leading to the Master of Arts in Nonprofit Management requires completion of a minimum of 36 credits of coursework. The core curriculum of 30 credits develops a broad-based foundation. Courses incorporate the environment of the nonprofit sector, managing and leading, resource management, strategic positioning, marketing and social media, and program evaluation. The remaining six credits permit the student to explore areas of particular personal interest, whether in additional study in the core areas or in management, marketing, finance or technology. Students integrate their educational experience with a capstone project of their own design.

A baccalaureate degree is required for admission. However, there are no undergraduate prerequisite courses.

Students must maintain a 3.0 (B) cumulative grade point average to remain in good academic standing. Students whose cumulative grade point average falls below 3.0 will be placed on probationary status. Students on academic probation will be given three semesters (in which they register for a course) to raise their cumulative grade point average to 3.0. Failure to do so, or receiving more than two grades below a B, will result in dismissal from the graduate program. These provisions do not apply to students admitted on probation; provisions governing that status are identified in the letter of admission.

Part-time graduate Nonprofit Management students may enroll in a maximum of six credits during the fall, spring and summer semesters. Full-time graduate students may enroll in nine credits per semester. All graduate students are restricted to 3 credits during the Winterim semester. Classes are scheduled in the evenings and on weekends to accommodate working professionals.

At the conclusion of this program, students are expected to be able to:

  • Apply Nonprofit Sector fundamentals in simulated and real-world situations.
  • Assess operational effectiveness in nonprofits and propose strategic alternatives.
  • Apply Nonprofit best practices in all external relationships including marketing and fundraising.
  • Compare and evaluate effective business practices for the nonprofit sector.
  • Integrate nonprofit theory and research and apply to real-world situations.
  • Analyze strategic and ethical leadership in mission-driven organizations to effectuate real-life policy, process and procedure.
  • Identify and evaluate important sources of information in the nonprofit sector for future learning and networking

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Curriculum (36 Credits)

Central Core (30 Credits)
NPM-501 Strategic Planning in the Nonprofit Sector (3)
NPM-510 Leadership and Organizational Development in Nonprofits (3)
NPM-520 Board Development and Human Resource Management in Nonprofits (3)
NPM-545 Fundraising and Grant Writing (3)
NPM-531 Managing Financial Resources in Nonprofits (3)
NPM-551 Government – Nonprofit Relationships (3)
NPM-560 Nonprofit Law and Ethics (3)
NPM-570 Nonprofit Marketing (3)
NPM-580 Program Evaluation Methods (3)
NPM-690 Masters Project Seminar (3)

Electives (6 Credits)
NPM-691 Master's Project Seminar II (3)
BUS-520 Health Care Administration (3)
BUS-533 Advanced Financial Analysis (3)
BUS-541 Legal Issues in Human Resource Management (3)
BUS-542 Performance Management Systems (3)
BUS-554 Women in Leadership (3)
BUS-558 Leadership and Leading (3)
BUS-562 Leading Organizational Change (3)
COM-505 Business Communication (3)
COM-620 Public Relations Management
CST-554 Principles and Issues in Information Systems (3)
CST-534 Data Driven Business Decisions
CST-580 Managing Information in a Web Based World (3)
CST-593 Web Development (3)
CST-621 Database Management (3)
ECO-548 Economics Theory in Management (3)
ENG-503 Graduate Writing (3)*

* After careful review of a student's admissions essay and Notre Dame graduate admissions exam scores, a student may be required to complete ENG-503 within their first nine credits at the University.

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NOTE: Course descriptions for business and economics courses can be found in the Leadership and Management section of this catalog. Course descriptions for communication, CST, and English courses can be found in the Contemporary Communication section of the catalog.


NPM-501 Strategic Planning in the Nonprofit Sector

Explores strategic and operational planning in the nonprofit sector, its similarities to and differences from the for profit and public sectors. Based on this examination of the sector environment, learners engage in strategic planning for the specific nonprofit program of their choice. Co requisites: NPM-510, NPM-531. [ 3 credits ]

NPM-510 Leadership and Organizational Development in Nonprofits

Compares and evaluates leadership and organization development theories to the nonprofit sector. Learners expand their organizational development skills through exploring the differing needs and cultural perspectives of staff, volunteers, board members, donors and consumers. Compares and contrasts leadership in the for-profit and nonprofit sectors. Learners focus on assessing their leadership strengths and weaknesses through textural readings, assessment tools and case studies. [ 3 credits ]

NPM-520 Board Development and Human Resource Management in Nonprofits

Examines the unique human resources challenges in nonprofits including strategic workforce planning, hiring,training, personnel evaluation and compensation. Recruiting, developing and managing a volunteer Board of Directors is reviewed along with broader concepts of volunteer management. Learners select and apply these concepts to a portfolio of practical, useful Human Resource applications. [ 3 credits ]

NPM-531 Managing Financial Resources in Nonprofits

Introduces the underlying concepts, language and reporting methods of accounting and financial analysis. Emphasizes understanding and using accounting and financial statements, rather than producing them. Topics include budgeting, working with accountants and financial analysts to achieve organizational goals, and managing financial resources are explored through practical problem sets. [ 3 credits ]

NPM-545 Fundraising and Grant Writing

Explores the various methods that nonprofits use to raise funds to support the organization's operations and programs. Addresses basic grant acquisition methodologies including conducting grant research, making contacts, and creating standard and comprehensive case statements. Learners write the grant application of their choice. [ 3 credits ]

NPM-551 Government-Nonprofit Relationships

Explores the relationship between the public sector includinghow each sector influences the other. The inquiry reviews the development and implementation of public policy and how nonprofits influence government. Learners track a specific issue of their choice. [ 3 credits ]

NPM-560 Nonprofit Law and Ethics

Examines the legal issues related to the creation and management of nonprofits. Analyzes a range of ethical issues and dilemmas inherent in the nonprofit arena. Learners explore these issues through a series of practical applications. [ 3 credits ]

NPM-570 Nonprofit Marketing

Focuses on the complementary aspects of marketing and communications for a non-profit organization. Topics include segmentation, branding, and membership recruitment. This course also explores the roles of public relations, advertising and social media, as well as the process of preparing persuasive communication for target markets. Learners prepare a case statement, communications and social media strategy for an organization or program. [ 3 credits ]

NPM-580 Program Evaluation Methods

Examines performance measurement and outcomes assessment for nonprofit organizations. Learners are also introduced to the use basic descriptive statistics to identify, measure and present information, particularly to their organizations' Boards and to outside stakeholders. Learners develop an evaluation design for the program of their choice. [ 3 credits ]

NPM-690 Master's Project Seminar

Provides a framework for each learner to develop an original project as a capstone to the master's program. Projects may range from the development and leadership of a major new initiative for a non-profit organization to a written thesis based on an original investigation of a specific question in nonprofit management. Through this capstone endeavor, the learner integrates the theory and practice of many courses. The particular design of the project must be approved by the seminar leader. The seminar experience provides learners the opportunity to discuss their progress and outcomes with their peers and faculty. Learners are required to achieve the grade of B or higher to complete this requirement. Prerequisite: Completion of 21 credits, including the following core courses: NPM-501, NPM-510, NPM-525, NPM-580, and NPM-531. [ 3 credits ]

NPM-691 Master's Project Seminar II

Continues NPM-690 for particularly comprehensive projects. [ 3 credits ]