The Top 10 Online Masters in Non-Profit Management Degree Programs


Are you looking to be ready and relevant in today’s nonprofit sector? Perhaps you know how to motivate a team of volunteers but need the particular skills to write poignant and effective grants You may know the ins and outs of your particular mission and cause but are uncertain of how to inspire the community to back, support and embrace your organization. The top 10 programs tie all of the skills required to manage a nonprofit together. We love the high academic quality, the relevant real-world skills imbedded in the curricula, great value, and targeted flexibility offered in each of these programs.
Methodology:

  • Academic Prestige (1/3): admissions standards, percentage of faculty with terminal degrees, average class size.
  • Affordability (1/3): estimated out-of-state tuition per credit hour (if applicable).
  • Flexibility-enhancing aspects (1/3): aspects of the program that enhance flexibility, including prior experience credits, generous transfer policies, accelerated courses, and so forth.

1. Capella University


Capella University is a for-profit institution of higher learning based in Minneapolis, Minnesota where the majority of education is online. The University offers competency-based education meaning that what you learn is applicable to your job instantly, your curriculum is built by experts directly in your profession and there is high percentage of alumni success. Flexible programming means that online education is offered in two formats: the GuidedPath program and the FlexPath program. Guided requires you to meet set deadlines and mirrors more of an on-campus approach where Flex is self-paced where the pace will determine the price. Each path determines different payment options. There are currently over 37,000 student that attend Capella where nearly 80% of the student-body is female and the vast majority are professionals attending part-time. Capella makes it their mission to address the disconnect between academia and real work experience.

We selected Capella University’s Master’s in Public Administration for its accelerated pace and its generous transfer allowance. In fact, Capella allows the transference of up to 25% of previous graduate work. This is a 48 credit hour program meaning you can transfer up to 12 credit hours. This program equips individuals with the critical skills required to manage and lead in today’s nonprofit sector through the analysis of ethical and legal use of data and evaluation, and the application of fiscal strategic methodology in areas such as philanthropic support, grant writing, and fund raising. The core programming includes public administration theory, strategic management, and integrative public administration. Additionally, non profit management students take three specialization courses for a total of 48 credit hours. The cost per credit hour is $519. This program may be completed in as little 18 months.

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  • Estimated Tuition: $519
  • Flexibility-enhancing aspects: Accelerated, and credit for prior learning

2. Johnson and Wales University


Johnson and Wales University is a private non-profit university with locations in Providence, Miami, Denver, Charlotte, and online. The curriculum focuses on the “experiential” model of education with an emphasis on not only intellectual development, but also an industry-focused education, work experience, and opportunities for involvement in the community. Experiential learning addresses the learning needs of all types of learners and sets the individuals up for success when it’s time to graduate. Programming is accredited by the New England Association of School and Colleges to nearly 10,000 students with a 20:1 student to faculty ration. U.S. News ranks JWU as the 67th best college in the region, and over 90% of student who applied for scholarships or awards were granted financial aid. Several colleges offer degree programs online including their school of science and liberal arts, school of professional studies, school of business, the school of hospitality and the graduate studies program.

We selected Johnson and Wales’ Master of Science in Nonprofit Management because it offers an accelerated program with 11 week courses all of which can be completed in as little as 15 months on their accelerated schedule. We also like the academic rigor that comes from this highly ranked regional institution. Be prepared to engage in the material in a comprehensive rigorous manner while learning how to budget for nonprofit organizations, evaluate program effectiveness, execute effective management skills relevant to the nonprofit sector and learn concepts and theories practical for the social as well as ethical responsibilities of nonprofits. You will be able to word in organizations like hospitals, federal agencies, churches and more. This program requires between 45-49.5 credit hours for completion.

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  • Estimated Tuition: $462
  • Flexibility-enhancing aspects: Accelerated

3. Walden University


Walden University is a for-profit University fully accredited through The Higher Learning Commission to offer programs from the bachelor’s to doctoral level. This online program is headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Currently, Walden enrolls over 50,000 students who represent all 50 states and 114 countries world wide. Walden offers a large range of degree programs including 140 degrees with over 300 areas of specialization. In 2016 Walden ranked among the Best Colleges for Adult Learners according to Washington Monthly and offers a self-paced learning option called “Tempo Learning” for students who require flexibility to earn their degree according to their unique schedule. “Tempo Learning” is currently offered for 5 distinct degree programs. All other programs are course-based and more closely resemble an on-campus with instructor-led and set time frames. G.I. Jobs ranks Walden University as a Military Friendly school. According to their mission statement, Walden aims to effect social change through their programming using tools like student coaching, empowering adolescents, teaching ethical behavior, leadership and decision making skills, and including behavioral management seminars for educators.

We chose Walden for it’s tremendous flexibility. Not only are you able to transfer up to 23 graduate credit hours, there are also 5 areas of specialization to select from including their general program, global leadership emphasis, emphasis in international nongovernmental organizations, their programming in local government management for sustainable communities as well as the very flexible self designed option which allows you to create your own learning experience. Students will be able to apply principles of nonprofit organizations in domestic and international settings, research nonprofit organizations, learn to budget, and fundraise, market and manage. The general program requires 46 quarter credit hours for completion and costs $480 per quarter credit hour. All other specializations require 61 total credit hours for completion.

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  • Estimated Tuition: $480
  • Flexibility-enhancing aspects: Number of concentrations
4. University of Denver


The University of Denver is a private coeducational university founded in 1864 just a few years after the city of Denver itself was discovered. There are over 11,500 students enrolled in the over 100 undergraduate and 120 graduate programs where the student-to-faculty ratio is 11:1. The North Central Association Commission accredits programs from the bachelor’s to the doctoral level. According to U.S. News The University of Denver is ranked 86th in the nation, 53rd as the best college for veterans and 60th for best value schools. The school’s impact is both local and global with its vibrant study abroad programs in Africa, Europe, and Asia. Students engage in world-class experiences like archaeological digs, medical implementations abroad, and environmental studies. In fact, according to the “Open Doors” report DU ranks 4th in the U.S. among doctoral and research universities for the number of undergraduate students studying abroad. Further accolades according to the Princeton Review include the 8th most popular study abroad program, 18th best college city, 18th best college library, and 19th best school for its impact. For a world-class education , the University of Denver is a phenomenal choice.

We chose the University of Denver’s Master’s in philanthropic leadership for its high class education to price ratio. Though this is one of our more expensive picks, the University of Denver is one of the top schools in the nation and provides a high-quality academic program. Like other programs you will learn about fundraising strategies, budget planning and fiscal responsibility, and practices in philanthropy. We like how this program also includes information on how to gain and maintain donor support- an area of extreme important in the nonprofit sector. We also like that this degree is customizable- another component of flexibility that is essential for online learning. The Master of Science in Leadership Organizations with a concentration in Philanthropic Leadership requires 48 credit hours for completion and costs $628 per credit hour.

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  • Estimated Tuition: $628
  • Flexibility-enhancing aspects: N/A
5. Regis University


Regis University is a private Roman Catholic Jesuit institution that enrolls over 8,700 students and is located in Denver, Colorado. The student-to-faculty ratio is 14:1 where 60 percent of the student body is female. According to U.S. News Regis University is the 23rd best school in the region and has one of the top 25 best online business schools! Other accolades include a “Top Military School” according to G.I. Jobs and top 25 best colleges online according to SuperScholar . GetEducated.com lists the Master of Non-Profit management as a “best buy online masters degree.” Though all campuses are located in Colorado and primarily in Denver, Regis University is home to a large online degree program with dozens of degrees and certificate in fields like non-profit management, healthcare, criminology, nursing and several others.

The Master of Nonprofit Management at Regis is a 36 credit hour program offered at one of the top schools in the region. The cost for this program is $525- a great value for this program. This comprehensive curriculum equips the learner to engage in all facets of the nonprofit sector; everything from writing grants to ethics business intelligence, financial resource development and more. All student culminate their program with a capstone experience either as a professional project or through field experience. The program also lays the foundation for flexibility in the workforce, and students leave equipped to become executive directors, social and community service managers, case managers among others. Regis University includes career support with training, resources, and advice to help you meet your career goals.

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  • Estimated Tuition: $525
  • Flexibility-enhancing aspects: N/A
6. American Public University


American Public University is a for-profit online university that enrolls over 50,000 students. The University is comprised of the American Public University and the American Military University making up the American Public University System. The Higher Learning Commission accredits APU to offer bachelor’s and master’s degree programs as well as certificates. The school’s written mission includes an emphasis on educating the nation’s military and public service professionals. They achieve this by offering diverse and career relevant programs in their center for applied learning, through the development and upkeep a community of lifelong learners, offering affordable programming, and maintaing partnerships with key organizations and stakeholders.

The MBA with a concentration in Nonprofit Management at APU is our least expensive option costing $350 per credit hour or $325 with a military grant. This degree is 39 credit hours in length and allows for the transference of up to 15 credit hours! American Public University school of business is accredited through the Accreditation Council for Business Programs. The curriculum is foundational and focuses on the legal, financial, and governance structures for nonprofit organization which includes raising funds, promoting mission statements, and philanthropic motivations as well as securing donor support. The total cost for tuition is $13,650.

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  • Estimated Tuition: $350
  • Flexibility-enhancing aspects: N/A
7. Louisiana State University Shreveport


Louisiana State University- Shreveport is a small public school that opened its doors in 1967 and enrolls 4,428 students with a student-to-faculty ratio of 21:1. U.S. News gives LSUS’ business school a high ranking. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges accredits LSUS to offer bachelor’s through to doctoral degree programs. There are over 20 undergraduate, 10 master’s and one doctoral program in education available. We like that LSUS offers 8-week accelerated programs, it’s generous scholarship offerings, and it’s partnership with Bossier Parish Community College- giving more students affordable options for their university experience. In fact, the U.S. Department of Education has listed LSUS as one of the most affordable colleges in Louisiana.

The Master of Science in Nonprofit Administration at Louisiana State University Shreveport made it to our list for is affordability and quality programming. The degree requires 30 core credit hours plus 3 hours for a final project and costs $395 per credit hour. We also like this quality programming that recognizes the importance of social purpose when combined with effective business management. The curriculum is sequenced so that all students start with development of philanthropy and the law, move into nonprofit administration and governance, and conclude with giving financial management and a thesis. This program is great for any level individual who is looking to advanced their career in the non-profit sector. The total cost for tuition is $13,035.

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  • Estimated Tuition: $395
  • Flexibility-enhancing aspects: N/A
8. Concordia University Nebraska


Concordia University Nebraska (CUNE) is a private Christian institution that was founded in 1894 and is located in Sward, Nebraska. Seward has the lowest crime rate of all cities in Nebraska. According to U.S. News CUNE is the 40th best school in the region, and the 14th best value school! All students attending receive some form of financial assistance. The student body is small with less than 3,000 students attending and the student-to-faculty ratio remains low at just 14:1. The Higher Learning Commission accredits CUNE to offer over 100 undergraduate and graduate programs. Online, there are over 30 master’s degrees and endorsements available in education, business, health, leadership and others. The stated mission is to equip student with academic excellent in leadership skills and they are doing so with their “best online graduate education programs”, military friendly environment, and global awareness.

The MBA in Nonprofit Management from Concordia University Nebraska is a fantastic degree that offers programming from one of our top-ranked school. Though our most expensive pick, this degree is invaluable in that it provides the learner with immediately relevant real-world applicable skills. Meaning, you can take what you learn in class today and implement in your career. This is due to the clear and comprehensive program goals that show you how to develop a solid nonprofit business plan tied to a mission, teaches you how to write clear and compelling grant proposals, manage and oversee operation in the nonprofit sector including the management of staff and volunteer workers, communicate with community stakeholders, develop marketing and advertising that drive fundraising, and use your entrepreneurship to create and produce innovative solutions for societal problems. Courses are 8-weeks long, cost $697 per credit hours and the degree requires 36 credit hours for completion. This program culminates with capstone experience in strategic management.

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  • Estimated Tuition: $697
  • Flexibility-enhancing aspects: Accelerated courses
9. Grace College and Theological Seminary


Grace College and Seminary is a small private Christian university located in Winona Lake, Indiana. This small university enrolls less than 3,000 students and has a student-to-faculty ratio of 20:1. Grace College prides itself on its Christian liberal arts status and vast array of academic offerings. In fact, the Higher Learning Commission accredits Grace College to provide bachelors’ and master’s degrees. There are over 70 degree programs for students and nearly all undergraduates receive financial aid. All students participate in something known as “applied learning” or real-life experiences while taking classes. In fact, the college offers over 200 opportunity for applied learning year round. There are nine online degrees that range from a bachelor’s to master’s degree in fields like human services, athletic administration, nonprofit management, and mental health counseling. Grace College is also a member of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities.

Grace college and Seminary offers a Master of Science in Nonprofit that can be completed in 2 years. This program is 36 credit hours and accelerated. The other particular strength to this program is price- only costing $425 per credit hour meaning the total cost for tuition is just $15,300. This degree is particularly useful for those looking to go into church management as the core curriculum comes from a Seminary. That being said, this program has flexibility within the curriculum design as it offers 4 electives and all courses are transferable into a myriad of real-world scenarios. Some courses include the foundations of nonprofit management, obtaining resources, management, marketing and others. This accelerated program requires a full-time commitment.

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  • Estimated Tuition: $425
  • Flexibility-enhancing aspects: N/A
10. Bay Path University

Bay Path University is an independent not-for-profit university located in Massachusetts. Known originally as a foot path for Native Americans, this “path” was a much-travelled route for early settlers including Boston where this university is located. Student enrollment is small with a total of 3225 students enrolled and Bay Path is also a member of the Women’s College Coalition though Bay Path offers both all-women and coeducational degree opportunities. The student to faculty ratio is small at just 12:1. The university turned 120 this year and remains up-to-date and innovative in its programming including its use of the online learning school. Additionally, Bay Path provides uniques learning experiences including their One America Trip, Capitals of the World Trip, first-hand experience in India with today’s global businesses, a home for the homeless shelter, opportunities to develop business plans, and their unique involvement in Change the Equation- a nonprofit that assists women’s growth in STEM subjects. We like Bay Path for its unique learning environment, high regional ranking, and high value.

Bay Path University offers a Master of Science in Nonprofit Management & Philanthropy that is relevant and practical. The aim of this program is that of career readiness. We also love the flexibility offered in that out of 12 required courses, 4 of those courses are electives so you can tailor your education to meet your professional goals. Bay Path offers this program both full-time and part-time where each course is just 8 weeks in length with a 36 credit requirement. Most students complete this program in just 1-2 years. The application process is streamlined and no GRE or GMAT score is required. The curriculum is loaded with every aspect of nonprofit management starting with foundation of nonprofit management teaching on approaches to fund raising including grant writing and financial decision making and also teaching about the diversity in today’s nonprofit. The capstone experience is an advanced management seminar. The cost of this program is $675 per credit hours and requirers 36 credit hours for completion.

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  • Estimated Tuition: $675
  • Flexibility-enhancing aspects: Accelerated