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Nonprofit Management and Leadership

Earn the nonprofit management certificate that positions you to lead.

We are facing health, economic, and social challenges without precedent. Nonprofit organizations face an urgent need to hire professionals who know how to manage and lead. The four-course Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management and Leadership, which can be completed in as little as one year, prepares mission-driven professionals to excel in leading people as well as strategy, finances and fundraising.

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Nonprofit Management Certificate Program Highlights

  • With state and local governments increasingly strapped financially, nonprofits are meeting critical needs in their communities while employing nearly 16% of the workforce - over 415,000 people - in D.C. and Maryland (BLS).
  • To direct a successful program or lead a high-impact nonprofit organization, one should be proficient in planning and implementing strategy, program evaluation and performance management, effective fundraising, communications strategy, fostering innovation, building a high-performing team, budgeting and accounting, governance and compliance.
  • With the University of Maryland’s Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management and Leadership, students gain these skills while joining a robust network of professionals who are changing the world for good.

Graduate Certificate Curriculum

The 12-credit, four-course graduate certificate program is designed for working professionals.

Students are required to maintain at least a 3.0 grade point average in order to be awarded the graduate certificate.

Spring 2021 Courses
  • PLCY688F Nonprofit Financial Management
    Spring 2021: Mondays, 7-9:30 pm, beginning on January 25, 2021
  • PLCY689Z Strategic Management for Nonprofit and Public Organizations
    Spring 2021: Tuesdays, 7:00-9:30pm, beginning January 26, 2021 
  • PLCY689Y Nonprofit Fundraising Theory and Practice  
    Spring 2021:  Wednesdays, 7:00-9:30pm, beginning January 27, 2021
  • PLCY798Y Nonprofit and NGO Management and Leadership
    Spring 2021: Thursdays, 7:00-9:30pm, beginning January 28, 2021

All courses in the Fall 2020 semester are being taught completely online. Spring 2021 semester courses will be delivered online, even if there is also an option for in-person instruction.


Nonprofit Management Certificate Faculty

Tuition & Fees

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Aid & Scholarships

See the financial aid and scholarships that are available to help fund your education. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

Are there other elective requirements or options in addition to the four classes?
There are four required courses for completing the Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management and Leadership. They are Fundraising, Financial Management, Strategy, and Management and Leadership. These courses cannot be substituted for others. There are no prerequisites or electives in the Graduate Certificate program.

What is the typical class size, and how are classes scheduled and structured?
In the 2019-20 school year, classes ranged in size from 10-15 students. Each semester, two classes are offered in the evenings in College Park, typically one on Tuesday and one on Wednesday. Each of the four classes is structured in a different way, according to the teaching style of the course instructor, but all classes balance readings with discussions and real-world projects that enable application of course concepts.

What types of assignments are required in the courses?
In all four courses, students are expected to complete the assigned readings and participate in robust weekly discussions in-class. The Strategy and Fundraising courses require students to complete a capstone consulting project with a nonprofit in the region. The Management and Leadership course capstone project is developing a personal leadership philosophy. The Finance class teaches students how to use Excel for nonprofit financial management and then requires use of the software for course assignments.

Can I complete this program while also working full-time? What is the weekly time commitment?
Yes, you can! The program is designed for working professionals, with classes beginning at 6:30 p.m. Previous students have taken either one or two classes per semester while working full-time. Based on students’ past experiences, we advise starting with one class if you have a full-time job.

Will I need to purchase textbooks and other materials for the courses?
That depends on the class and the instructor. Generally, each class requires one or two reference books that detail the primary principles of the course. The strategy and fundraising courses, however, are grounded in case studies and professional reports. These materials will need to be purchased. The average cost of books and other materials per class is less than $100.

What is the Do Good Institute’s role in the program?
The Do Good Institute is housed in the School of Public Policy and co-manages the Graduate Certificate program with the School. DGI staff provide Graduate Certificate students opportunities to get involved in campus events and publish a bi-weekly newsletter that alerts Graduate Certificate students about campus events, nonprofit sector news, and job opportunities.

From orientation to graduation, the Do Good Institute engages the entire student body in initiatives designed to ensure that every student who graduates from UMD will do so informed and motivated to Do Good in their communities and around the world.

What types of students enroll in this program?
All of our students are interested in learning how to effectively manage a nonprofit organization and join an elite network of nonprofit professionals.

The program includes professionals who have been in the workforce from between 3 and more than 30 years, as well as master’s and PhD students from UMD schools and colleges who are looking to complement their subject-matter-expertise with practical management and leadership skills.

Some of the students work for nonprofits and want to lead an organization in the future. Others have a leadership role at a nonprofit, and a few have created their own nonprofit organization.

What is the background of the instructors in the program?
We select instructors for their subject matter expertise as well as their teaching abilities. Each of them brings at least a decade of experience in a leadership role at a nonprofit organization and has experience teaching at the graduate level.

Is the community supportive and collaborative?
Absolutely! Most of the classes entail team-based consulting projects that will give you the opportunity to grow and learn with your fellow classmates of nonprofit professionals and graduate students. Students in past classes have celebrated holidays, each other's birthdays, job placements, and more. The program also provides opportunities to connect with program alums.

Are networking and other professional development opportunities offered?
Yes, many. Nonprofit professional guest speakers are a key component of the classes in the program. Students will be able to network with foundation executives, nonprofit program staff, board members, and senior fundraising professionals. Also, outside of class, Graduate Certificate students are invited to events and workshops on and off campus that allow them to grow their networks and gain additional workplace skills.

How have students used the coursework in their careers?
“My experience as a student of the Certificate in Nonprofit Management and Leadership was and will always be a valuable learning opportunity. I felt that this program gave me the opportunity to learn how to be an effective nonprofit leader, how to manage nonprofit finances and operations, and how to design and implement an effective fundraising event. In addition, the Certificate program has knowledgeable professors who provide guidance and insight based on their nonprofit experiences. I know that my Certificate degree in Nonprofit Management and Leadership from the reputable School of Public Policy will boost my professional persona as I continue my career path within the nonprofit sector.” - Nicole Stephenson

“I’ve been operating a nonprofit for five years and I want to get things right as we start getting ready to scale our programs nationwide. After just a few weeks in this Certificate program, I feel much more confident in my ability to lead us in the right direction.” -Tenneh Kemah

Are there job or internship opportunities available to students in the program?
Yes, lots! Graduate Certificate students can apply to be a Philanthropy Fellow and earn a part-time paid position at a regional foundation during the school year. Students who are enrolled in the program will be notified of these opportunities during the spring and summer of 2020.

In addition, we regularly receive job postings from our alumni and various regional nonprofit partners. We publish these in our biweekly newsletter.

One of the greatest assets of the Certificate program is the hands-on care and attention that each student receives from Do Good Institute and School of Public Policy faculty and staff to determine their career goals, expand their networks, and land that dream job.

How does this degree help a professional who wants to grow their nonprofit?
The program gives you a solid foundation in fundraising, financial management, and strategic planning--key skills for an effective nonprofit leader. At the same time, you will also learn about yourself and your own management and leadership philosophy along the way, and how to effectively manage people to achieve social impact.

How much does the program cost?
Tuition for each course is $3,000, and there is about $400 in university administration fees per semester. This brings the total published price of the four-course certificate to around $12,800 if you complete it in two semesters. To date, all of our students have received fellowship funding to help offset the cost of the program, significantly reducing the net tuition price they pay.

Is financial support available for current nonprofit professionals?
For the Fall 2020 semester, new applicants will be automatically considered for the TIAA Nonprofit Leaders Fellowship. This program awards students up to $7,000 to be used towards tuition. There is no work requirement to receive the financial support.

There is also the zero-interest Terp Payment Plan which enables you to spread tuition payments over a semester or academic year so you don't have to pay a lump-sum at the start of the semester. Learn more.

Finally, Federal financial aid is available to students who are taking two courses per semester. Eligible students will need to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year. Using the FAFSA, eligible students may be offered a Direct Federal Unsubsidized and Direct Graduate PLUS Loan. These students are required to enroll for at least 6 credits (24 units) or more each semester. Please review the Gainful Employment Disclosure requirements.

University of Maryland staff and graduate assistants may be eligible for tuition remission as a benefit of their employment. Check with your HR coordinator for specific information.

What is the parking and transportation situation?
Free parking is available near every class. The College Park campus is accessible via Metro and Metrobus as well. From the Metro Green Line College Park Station, you can take a free shuttle to campus and then walk a short distance to class.