MA in Nonprofit Management

Business and Economics Department

Degrees offered



Main Campus


Nonprofit organizations strengthen, inspire, and protect our communities, heritage, and world as well as offer unique challenges to their leaders and managers. Notre Dame of Maryland University is built on a foundation of ethics and mission and offers two graduate Programs of Study in Nonprofit Management:  the Master of Arts degree in Nonprofit Management and the Graduate Certificate of Leadership of Nonprofit Organizations. These 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.

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 27 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 nine 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 Academic Good Standing. Students whose Cumulative Grade Point Average falls below 3.0 will be placed on Academic Probation 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 Academic 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:

      • Cultivate the skills and knowledge needed to succeed as leaders in nonprofit, philanthropic, social enterprise, and voluntary action.
      • Implement management processes, practices, forms and structures in nonprofit, philanthropic, social enterprise and voluntary action organizations.
      • Understand the theory, context of the nonprofit, philanthropic, social enterprise and voluntary action sector in a global, national, local and regional perspective.
      • Express critical thinking through strategic, ethical, socially responsible, well-reasoned action and communication.

Curriculum (36 Credits)

Central Core (27 Credits)

          NPM-502 Introduction to Nonprofit Management (3)
          NPM-510 Leadership and Organizational Development in Nonprofits (3) or BUS-558 Leadership and Leading (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-560 Nonprofit Law and Ethics (3)
          NPM-570 Nonprofit Marketing (3) or BUS-560 Marketing Management (3)
          NPM-580 Program Evaluation Methods (3)
          NPM-690 Masters Project Seminar (3) or BUS-651 Strategic Organizational Leadership (3)

Electives (9 Credits)

Students may complete 9 credits of coursework in any area of special interest in nonprofit management, business, economics, communications, knowledge management, computer studies, leadership, or project management, A list of possible elective courses are listed below.

          NPM-501 Strategic Planning in the Nonprofit Sector (3)
          NPM-551 Government – Nonprofit Relationships (3)
          NPM-691 Master's Project Seminar II (3)
          NPM-511 Topics in Nonprofit Management (3)
          BUS-511 Topics in Leadership (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-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.


Accreditation Council for Business Schools & Programs (ACBSP)

ACBSP promotes excellence in business education. It focuses on strong student learning outcomes and teaching excellence.


BUS-520 Introduction to the U.S. Healthcare System

Introduces the student to the organization and structure of the U.S. health care system, including institutions, professionals and government programs. Topics also include policy issues relating to access, efficiency and quality of health care services. [ 3 credits ]

BUS-533 Advanced Financial Analysis

Provides in-depth analysis of financial management decisions and decision-tools. Topics may include capital structure and capital issuance, dividend policy, corporate financial planning, derivatives for hedging stock volatility, derivatives for hedging interest rate risk, and financial institutions. Students will complete a research project and develop strategies to manage an external environment challenge. Projects involve written and oral reports. Prerequisite: BUS-530. [ 3 credits ]

BUS-541 Legal Issues in Human Resource Management

Explores the fundamentals of workplace law. Emphasizes federal and state equal employment law, compensation and benefits law, legal termination practices and labor relations. Learning is based on readings, interactive discussions about the practical applications of legal theory, and a major research paper. [ 3 credits ]

BUS-542 Performance Management Systems

Describes the purposes and criteria for effective performance management systems including the major approaches and techniques used in each approach. Evaluates the advantages and disadvantages of different methods and reinforces the importance of integration with corporate management strategy. Uses readings, case analyses, and experiential activities to examine different elements of performance management. [ 3 credits ]

BUS-554 Women in Leadership

Increases the learner's awareness of societal expectations, pitfalls, and opportunities faced by women. Emphasizes the role of women leaders, deciphering the code of the workplace, and confronting female collusion in silencing women's ways of knowing. Often cross-listed with undergraduates to promote cross-generational mentoring. [ 3 credits ]

BUS-558 Leadership and Leading

Develops learners' personal capacities to lead others and manage leadership development. Learners grapple with current leadership issues applying theory and extending lessons provided by cases and ideas of leaders both past and present. Personal leadership and interpersonal skill are developed through guided exercises in group interaction, emotional intelligence, self-awareness, and reflection. Prerequisite: BUS-501 or NPM-502 and a minimum of 9 credits completed in either MA in Leadership and Management, MA in NPM or graduate certificate program. Students who are at least midway through other graduate programs are welcome to attend with permission of the instructor. [ 3 credits ]

BUS-560 Marketing Management

Examines the concepts and processes used in designing and implementing marketing-driven strategies. Students will learn a marketing strategy decision making process which takes full advantage of secondary data resources. Case studies, in-class discussions and a semester-long project provide students with an opportunity to design marketing strategies utilizing marketing principles, descriptive statistics, competitive information and management functions such as analysis planning, implementation and control. [ 3 credits ]

BUS-562 Leading Organizational Change

Examines the core problems organizations and people face as they move through the dynamic processes of innovation and change. Leading change is a complex, long-term and challenging endeavor and a central process in the practice of leadership. Change is studied at every level, individual, organizational and societal, through a contextual lens. Students will identify highly successful change efforts and evaluate the strategies and techniques used. The key issues of changing behaviors, getting the rational mind and emotional mind to work together, overcoming resistance to change, and the role of leaders in the process will be important themes. [ 3 credits ]

BUS-651 Strategic Organizational Leadership

Clear strategic thinking and innovative implementation are critical to successful leadership in today's highly unstable and increasingly competitive business environment. Leading strategically means much more than strategic planning--it means taking a broad holistic and socially just view, identifying and analyzing competing interests, communicating effectively, and rapidly making mid-course corrections. This class takes a multi-disciplinary approach to strategic planning, communication, and implementation, drawing on ideas from the social sciences, leadership and management studies, and social justice and sustainability models. Prerequisites: BUS-530, BUS-558, BUS-560 and completion of 21 graduate level credits. [ 3 credits ]

COM-505 Business Communication

Analyzes verbal and written communication patterns and messages in organizations. Learners evaluate the effectiveness of a range of methodologies and tools to persuade and inform different stakeholder groups. Learners will critique and create oral and written presentations ranging from communicating statistical information and offering a persuasive call to action, to creating executive summaries and editing the work of others. [3 credits]

COM-620 Public Relations Management

Analyzes the practices of public relations in the corporate and nonprofit sectors as a function of management. Effective ways of preparing public relations messages are explored in depth. Strategies for communicating with an organization's internal and external constituencies including employees, clients, stockholders, media representatives, consumer advocates and regulatory agencies are evaluated. Emphasis in the course is placed on trends in public relations since the 1970s. [3 credits]

CST-534 Data Driven Business Decision

Introduces the role that data play in understanding business outcomes, including uncertainty, the relationship between inputs and outputs, and complex decisions with tradeoffs. Students work with real-life examples to interpret statistical distributions, understand hypothesis testing and evaluate reliability. [3 credits]

CST-554 Principles and Issues in Information Systems

Introduces the fundamental principles of informa-tion systems and subsystems and how they work together to facilitate decision making. Students will evaluate cases in database organization, data communication, systems analysis and design, and computer security in terms of their impact on the data/information/decision process. [3 credits]

CST-580 Managing Information in a Web-Based World

Examines the Internet as an organizational tool for data gathering, marketing, learning and communication. Students will study the advantages and disadvantages of using the Web as a major organizational decision support tool, including its social, legal and ethical impact. [3 credits]

CST-593 Web Development

Focuses on a user-centered approach to designing Web sites, including requirements gathering, conceptual design, physical design, coding, testing and implementation. Students will complete a number of practical projects as well as a Web site for a nonprofit organization. [3 credits]

ECO-548 Economic Theory in Management

Examines the economic environment in which firms operate. Introduces microeconomic and macroeconomic concepts and techniques to help managers "think like economists" when dealing with tactical issues or deciding on strategic directions for their firms. Provides the macroeconomics foundations for successful business decisions in a global economic environment while exposing students to a broad array of economic issues. [ 3 credits ]

ENG-503 Graduate Writing

Develops the writing skills that are essential in every workplace. Emphasis is on the relationship between thinking and writing, being able to present with clarity and coherence the message in written form. What distinguishes the manager or managerial candidate is the ability to present written matter with precision, economy, accuracy and grace. While the course presents business-related writing, the focus is on simply being able to write well. Learners enhance their skills through a series of writing experiences. [3 credits]

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. Corequisites: NPM-510, NPM-531. [ 3 credits ]

NPM-502 Introduction to Nonprofit Management

This course is designed to provide current and future nonprofit managers and leaders with the competencies needed to run effective nonprofit organizations, which include: Legal and Regulatory Contexts; Leadership and Governance; Human Resource Management and Volunteerism; Fundraising; Planning and Evaluation; Information Management; Advocacy, Public Policy, and Social Change; Communications, Marketing, and Public Relations; Financial Management and Social Entrepreneurship. Course projects and discussions expand students' management skills, analytical tools, and knowledge of nonprofit management core competencies. Students take the perspectives of nonprofit managers, volunteers, board members, policy makers, donors, and clients and complete a consulting project for a nonprofit organization. [3 credits ] NOTE: take within first 15 credits of the program, Co-requisite NPM-545.

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 complete a fundraising plan or write a grant for a nonprofit organization. [ 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 ]