USD announces their newest online master’s degree program, starting September 5, 2023.

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — Nonprofit organizations exist to make a positive impact on public welfare, but a nonprofit without strong leadership will likely fall short on its mission. With the U.S. nonprofit sector employing 1 in 10 working adults and representing nearly every industry, there is an abundant need for talented individuals to provide strong direction and implement strategic visions.

The University of San Diego is committed to developing the next generation of changemakers with the new Master of Science in Nonprofit Leadership and Management, a 100% online degree program. The curriculum is built upon the foundation of USD’s on-campus Master of Arts in Nonprofit Leadership and Management (MANP), which is accredited by the Nonprofit Academic Centers Council.

Designed for motivated nonprofit professionals, the online Master of Science in Nonprofit Leadership and Management (MSNP) program equips current and aspiring nonprofit leaders with the practical skills to implement change on any scale.

“What’s unique, I think, about this program is that we’re in the USD Department of Leadership Studies, so all of our coursework is infused with leadership development,” says Program Director Dr. Laura Deitrick, PhD.

For example, “If you want to work with kids in an after-school support program, you get a degree in social work,” Dr. Deitrick explains. “If you want to run the organization that develops, provides and manages that after-school program, then this is the degree for you.”

Ideal MSNP program candidates include current or future nonprofit leaders, nonprofit employees, career changers, current or retired military personnel, recent undergraduates with related degrees or experience, and any other motivated professionals looking to put their managerial, philanthropic, business administration or other relevant skills to use.

“This degree is for folks who want to have a career with a social purpose,” says Dr. Deitrick. She explains that any job found in the for-profit sector has a counterpart in the nonprofit sector, whether it’s in marketing, law, health care, education, finance, arts or public infrastructure. “The common denominator is that you’re contributing to something that’s really meaningful to you or your community.”

Among other things, courses will teach students how to:

  • Conduct, identify and evaluate research that supports nonprofit program development
  • Apply leadership and management theories to real-world scenarios
  • Understand the fundamentals of nonprofit finance
  • Develop human capital to become agents of change
  • Promote and amplify organizational messaging
  • Forge community partnerships and inspire civic engagement
  • Develop and manage a board of directors

Led by Dr. Deitrick, the faculty of the online MSNP program represent a diverse group of full-time instructors and practitioner adjuncts. Each faculty member brings a diversity of experiences to their instruction, having held executive leadership positions, conducted field research and participated in organizational development. In short, every instructor is able to connect course concepts directly to real-world examples. All instructors hold an advanced or terminal degree in their field — which is becoming the norm for nonprofit leaders.

“Master’s degrees are very common in this field. It’s required more and more for senior-level positions,” says Dr. Deitrick. “Plus, the experience students gain in this program becomes highly valuable and highly marketable once they graduate.” This sentiment is supported by the fact that 91% of on-campus MANP program alumni report receiving a raise, new job or promotion as a direct result of their participation in the program.

Degree candidates will be able to complete the online program in just 20 months (five semesters) on an asynchronous schedule. Rolling acceptance means that students can enroll in either the spring, summer or fall starting term. Each term lasts 14 weeks, with students completing one 7-week course at a time. This flexibility makes the degree ideal for busy working professionals who may not be able to commit to an on-campus master’s program.

The program’s inaugural term begins September 5, 2023 with an application deadline of August 1, 2023.

If you’d like to learn more about the program, or are interested in applying, please connect with a USD enrollment advisor. Take advantage of this exciting opportunity to advance your nonprofit career!


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