Master of Science in Nonprofit Leadership & Management


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Apply Proven Leadership Theories to Your Nonprofit Practice

Designed to be completed in 20 months (five semesters), the online Master of Science in Nonprofit Leadership and Management (MSNP) program consists of ten 3-credit courses, including one capstone course. 

The MSNP program curriculum is designed to teach students how to: 

For their final semester capstone project, students create an organizational analysis of their own nonprofit organization or an existing case study.


Number of months it takes to graduate from the program


Average number of hours of coursework to expect each week

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


MSNP courses are delivered 100% online in an asynchronous modality. Students take two courses each term, focusing intensively on one seven-week course at a time.
Topics covered include:

  • Leadership theory
  • Management ethics 
  • Equity and social justice
  • Research
  • Finance
  • Board development
  • Policy creation
  • Philanthropy
  • Resource management

The curriculum consists of the following courses: 

Course Units

This is a survey course that is intended to prepare students for leadership roles in the nonprofit sector by helping them gain an understand…

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This course is designed to help nonprofit leaders become critical and well-informed consumers of research to support effective program plann…

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The course focuses on the connection between leadership and change in contemporary organizations and societies. Students will learn about es…

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This course provides students with the knowledge required to effectively supervise the financial management of nonprofit organizations by fo…

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A study of how leadership and change in contemporary organizations are connected conceptually and in practice. Students will study models of…

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This course examines the fundamental role of fundraising programs within nonprofit organizations. Students will learn to craft communication…

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The course focuses on the role of policy advocacy as an essential tool in shaping governmental and corporate policies. Understanding advocac…

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This course focuses on the governance of nonprofit organizations, including the roles and responsibilities of various stakeholders such as t…

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To ensure accountability to their constituents and the broader public, nonprofit leaders must be able to critically analyze and report on th…

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In this capstone course, students apply their knowledge by working on a project with a nonprofit organization of their choice. They will ass…

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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.

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 seven-week course at a time. This degree program can be completed in five semesters (20 months).

Program Development

The online MSNP program is founded in the on-campus Master of Arts in Nonprofit Leadership and Management program and was developed in partnership with the Department of Leadership Studies in the University of San Diego School of Leadership and Education Sciences (SOLES). Faculty members comprise a diverse group of full-time instructors and practitioner adjuncts, each with extensive professional experience in the nonprofit sector. 

All MSNP courses were designed by a faculty subject matter expert. Each course contains evidence-based instruction, readings and activities that allow for students to build skills, collaborate with peers and construct artifacts that demonstrate learning outcome achievement. 

Details of the online program format are as follows: 

learner outcomes

The online MS in Nonprofit Leadership and Management is designed to achieve the following outcomes:

Short-Term Programmatic Outcomes

  • Demonstrate mastery in concepts and theories related to leading and managing nonprofits.
  • Illustrate a meaningful transfer of knowledge from academic studies to professional practice.
  • Apply critical thinking and a synthesis of information from multiple theories, fields and/or constituencies to draw conclusions and make recommendations.
  • Reflect personal/professional growth and leadership capacity through experiential learning
  • Demonstrate leadership on issues of diversity, inclusion and multiculturalism through the development of a global mindset.

Long-Term Outcomes

  • Post-graduation alumni will demonstrate professional growth. (Measured by exit surveys, new jobs, promotions, raises, job satisfaction and professional contributions)
  • Recent grads will report high levels of degree utility (measured by exit surveys, satisfaction with degree and relevancy of topics to career field).

Student Learning Outcomes

  • MSNP students will demonstrate a deep foundational knowledge of the origins and significance of the nonprofit sector (voluntary action, philanthropy), compare its relationship to the government and the for-profit sector (domestic and international) and how the nonprofit sector is shaped by the larger political and economic environment.
  • MSNP students will be able to implement ethical standards and understand the implications of values-based management and leadership practices such as advocacy for diversity, inclusion and multiculturalism to advance social justice through nonprofit research and practice.
  • MSNP students will be able to execute relevant management and leadership skills related to nonprofit governance, finance, advocacy, public policy and resource management. 
  • MSNP students will critically apply social science research and evidence-based practices to understand and respond to community needs, facilitate culturally appropriate solutions and enhance organizational effectiveness. 
  • MSNP students will be able to effectively design programs or strategic initiatives that deliver high impact results to a nonprofit organization.