Master of Science in Nonprofit Leadership & Management

Admission Requirements

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Start making an impact by earning your degree in just 20 months. Please review the standard admissions expectations below as you prepare your application for the online MS in Nonprofit Leadership and Management degree program. 

All applicants must provide:

You can find additional information and guidance on preparing your application by visiting our Starting Your Application page.

If you have questions regarding any aspect of the application process, please contact an Enrollment Advisor for assistance.

Are you an International Applicant?

International applicants must meet additional requirements for admission, including: 

At a Glance

Strengthen your nonprofit leadership and management skills with a master’s degree you can earn online in just 20 months from the School of Leadership and Education Sciences.

20 Months
30 Units
September 3
August 2


Our borders are open to international students of all regions.

Start Your Future Now


Ideal candidates for the Master of Science in Nonprofit Leadership and Management program currently work, will work or have worked in mid-to senior-level management positions at nonprofit corporations and philanthropies.

All applicants are considered utilizing a holistic review process that accounts for any professional and/or extracurricular experiences relevant to the program. Letters of recommendation should refer to specific examples of the candidate’s competencies and aptitudes relevant to the program goals.

Ideal Program Candidates

Potential candidates for this program include: 

Admission to the MSNP program requires a bachelor’s degree with strong academic credentials in a discipline that lends itself to nonprofit leadership or development. 

academic calendar

Degree candidates are admitted throughout the year to begin their degree during one of three terms (spring, summer, fall). Students take two courses during each 14-week semester, focusing on one 7-week course at a time. This degree program can be completed in 5 semesters (20 months).

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I don’t have nonprofit management experience?

We are looking for applicants who are already (or have the potential to be) leaders in the nonprofit community, in addition to people with critical thinking skills, good interpersonal skills and strong writing skills. We have a preference for applicants who have professional experience or real-world knowledge that will help them immediately translate their learning in the program into concrete application for their work. That said, all candidates are unique. Interested applicants are encouraged to discuss their qualifications with the admissions team or program director to determine eligibility.

How much does the MSNP program cost?

Tuition for the MSNP program is $880 per unit. With a total of 30 units, the full cost of tuition for the program is $26,400.

Tuition amounts shown on this website, or in other university publications or web pages, represent tuition and fees as currently approved. However, the University of San Diego reserves the right to increase or modify tuition and fees without prior notice and to make such modifications applicable to students enrolled at USD at that time as well as to incoming students. In addition, all tuition amounts and fees are subject to change at any time for correction of errors. Please note that the displayed tuition covers only the cost of courses, and additional expenses such as books and other fees are not included.

Can I work full-time and complete the program in two years?

Yes, you can work full-time and complete the program in 20 months — just five semesters. The program is considered part time and designed to fit any schedule; students can access their coursework at any time.

What qualities are you looking for in applicants?

We look for applicants who have been in the workforce for three years or longer, preferably leaders in the nonprofit community in a management-level position. However, considerations are taken into account for any professional and/or volunteer experience in the nonprofit sector and for those who have the potential to be leaders and critical thinkers with good interpersonal and writing skills. Interested applicants are encouraged to discuss their qualifications with the admissions team or program director to determine eligibility.

Who should write my recommendation letters?

Applicants are asked to submit one letter of support from a current supervisor. If you are unable to obtain a letter of support from your current supervisor, you are required to submit two letters of support from a previous employer, board member, and/or previous professor who can comment on your experience and potential for graduate studies.

Do you provide job placement services?

No, we do not provide job placement services. However, 91% of our on-campus students report they have received a raise, new jobs or promotions as a direct result of their participation in the program. We have a robust alumni network that often hires fellow graduates. Additionally, 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 and exciting jobs.

Does the MSNP program admit international students?

Yes, provided they meet the additional requirements for admission, including a TOEFL exam score of 83 or higher and course-by-course transcript evaluation and report by an approved agency. If you are currently in the U.S. on an F-1 or M-1 student visa, you are not eligible to pursue the online section of our program, per U.S. immigration regulations. International students who are currently in the United States on an F-1 student visa may be able to transfer the F-1 record to the University of San Diego. Please contact an enrollment advisor if you think this situation applies to you.

Do I need to complete International and Exit Requirements?

At SOLES, all master’s and doctoral students participate in an international experience designed to support the growth of cultural competency. Our goal is to inform best practices in working with culturally diverse populations locally, nationally and globally. International experiences are approved by each student’s faculty advisor and can be credit-based or non-credit-based activities.

For this online program (MSNP), your international experience and exit requirement objectives will be met by completing your capstone course. The terminal project for this degree is a final applied project for a nonprofit and a leadership reflection paper and presentation, all of which will be embedded in LEAD 531 – Capstone.