Master of Arts in Nonprofit Leadership and Management

This 36 unit degree presents an integrated course of study combining leadership theory and practice with proven management models, strategies and tools designed to produce thoughtful and effective nonprofit leaders. The program is designed for individuals who want to be part of an intentional learning community of practitioners and scholars in the nonprofit field. Students learn new ways of conceptualizing their work through their studies with noted faculty from the School of Leadership and Education Sciences as well as from prominent nonprofit practitioners who teach in the program.

All students in the Nonprofit Leadership and Management Program take nine required courses (27 units). Students also select nine units of elective coursework to meet their specific needs and learning objectives.  The nonprofit curriculum is focused on applied learning, which facilitates the transfer of knowledge from theory to practice. Most courses include applied projects in which students work independently or in teams to provide consulting services to nonprofits and foundations. These projects give students an opportunity to incorporate real-world expertise into their learning while building their professional networks. Examples of applied projects include organizational audits, governance documents, development plans, legislative campaigns, research-based programs and evaluation designs, and community engagement campaigns (among other products).  Examples of noteworthy applied projects can be accessed through our online library.

Optional National Credential with the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance (NLA)

Credential is open to all current students and alumni of the Nonprofit Leadership and Management Program.
Students wishing to receive the credential must complete the following:

  • Nonprofit competency requirements (which is a part of the MA program coursework). Competency areas of study include: nonprofit fundamentals, ethics, volunteer management, board development, fundraising and resource development, finance, management and marketing

  • At least 300 hours of work in a nonprofit (this can be actual work experience in a nonprofit or volunteer work)

  • Attendance at the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance Institute or an equivalent professional development meeting (i.e. Nonprofit Governance Symposium, State of Nonprofits Philanthropy Summit, etc.)

  • Personal essay on leadership

Additional Requirements for Admission

Master of Arts in Nonprofit Leadership and Management

See here for basic admission requirements.

Entrance Semesters Fall
Application Deadlines Visit
Minimum Grade Point Average 3.0 (4.0 scale) in all undergraduate and graduate coursework
Standardized Admission Test Applicants whose Grade Point Averages are below a 3.0 (on 4.0 scale) should submit the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) General Test for consideration.
Additional Requirements Resume
Statement of Purpose
Two letters of recommendation

Program Requirements 

Required Courses (27 units)
LEAD 500Research, Design and Evaluation of Nonprofit Programs4
LEAD 501Nonprofit Sector: Theory & Practice3
LEAD 503Nonprofit Finance3
LEAD 505Developing Human Capital3
LEAD 506Resource Development and Marketing3
LEAD 507Community Partnerships & Civic Engagement3
LEAD 510Board Development2
LEAD 550Integral Leadership Theory3
LEAD 559Leadership and Organizational Change3

Please note: In rare instances where a student has a demonstrated competency in one of the core curriculum subjects the student may approach the program director and subsequently, the course professor, about opting out of that course. If the director and professor agree, the student may substitute elective units for those required courses. No other course substitutions will be granted.

Electives (students will select 9 or more units)
LEAD 504Human Relations for Leaders1
LEAD 508Grant Making for the Greater Good2
LEAD 509Legal Issues, Human Resources and Risk Management2
LEAD 511Strategic Planning and Positioning2
LEAD 512Beyond Collaboration1
LEAD 513Advocacy Skills and Strategies2
LEAD 514Public Speaking1
LEAD 515Social Entrepreneurship-­Innovations in Creating Social Value2-3
LEAD 517Capital and Endowment Campaign Planning2
LEAD 518Nonprofits and Civil Society in Guatemala2
LEAD 519IUnderstanding Bi-National Nonprofits In The Us-Mexican Border2
LEAD 555Leadership and Ethics3
Other electives may be added.

International Requirement

At SOLES, all masters 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. 

Exit Requirement

The majority of the courses offered in this program will contain an applied consulting project, completed on behalf of a nonprofit organization. A student may not undertake more than 50% of his or her applied projects with a single nonprofit client.

The terminal project for this degree is a portfolio of demonstrated competencies which will be evidenced by a submission of no fewer than three applied projects with accompanying supporting documents. Each portfolio will be evaluated by a nonprofit program faculty member and an external executive level nonprofit practitioner.