Home Graduate Graduate Certificate Programs Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management and Leadership

Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management and Leadership

Program Overview

Nonprofit organizations, philanthropy and social entrepreneurs are major players in how public policy gets developed and implemented and how change occurs in our society. In the United States, the nonprofit sector encompasses more than one million organizations, represents approximately 10 percent of the workforce and is primarily funded by government resources.  Annually, the sector reports trillions of dollars in revenue and assets and generates more than $400 billion dollars through donations and volunteers.  Students of all professional interests and backgrounds will find a number of interesting career opportunities in the nonprofit sector.

The School of Public Policy is home to an unmatched group of faculty who are both scholars and practitioners, teaching in the classroom while playing key roles the nonprofit, international NGO and social innovation spaces.

Experiential learning is the signature of our Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management and Leadership and many of the courses include client projects which provide our students with the opportunity to practice what they are learning in the classroom, bolster their resumes and build their professional networks with leading regional organizations.

Curriculum and Requirements

The 12-credit, four-course graduate certificate program is designed for working professionals. 

Students are required to maintain at least a 3.0 grade point average in order to be awarded the Graduate Certificate.

Plan of Study





 PLCY798Y (3 credits)

 Nonprofit and NGO  Management and   Leadership

 Fall 2019 (to be scheduled)

 To be announced

 PLCY688F (3 credits)

 Nonprofit Financial  Management

 Fall 2019 (to be scheduled)

 To be announced

 PLCY689Y (3 credits)

 Theory, Practice and  New Paradigms in   Nonprofit Fundraising

 Spring 2019 (Wednesdays/6pm-8pm plus
  1 hour online session every other week)

 Prof. Robert Grimm
  Prof. Sara  Gallagher


 PLCY689Z (3 credits)

 Strategic Management  for Nonprofit and   Public  Organizations

 Spring 2019 (Tuesdays/6:30pm-9pm)

 Prof. Robert Sheehan

Tuition and Fees

The 2019/2020 tuition for this program is $5,500 per course. There are associated mandatory fees, which can be found here. Students are billed each semester based upon how many courses for which they register. Fellowship funding is available.  Please contact the program for more information.

Faculty Research and Expertise

The School of Public Policy has an active cluster of full-time faculty; adjunct faculty; and other affiliated faculty and joint appointees from other centers and programs at the University. Key faculty include:

Ken Apfel  (School of Public Policy)
Angela Bies  (School of Public Policy)
Patricia Bory   (School of Public Policy)
Alex Counts   (School of Public Policy)
David Crocker  (School of Public Policy)
Elizabeth Duke  (School of Public Policy)
Toby Egan  (School of Public Policy; Robert H. Smith School of Business)
Robert Grimm  (School of Public Policy)
Nina Harris  (School of Public Policy)
Philip Joyce  (School of Public Policy)
Jennifer Littlefield  (School of Public Policy)
Robert Sheehan  (Robert H. Smith School of Business; School of Public Policy)
Susannah Washburn  (School of Public Policy)

Fall Semester Courses 

Nonprofit and NGO Management and Leadership (PLCY 798Y)
Nonprofit organizations, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), philanthropy, civil society and social entrepreneurs are major players in how public policy gets developed and implemented as well as how change occurs in the United States as well as countries around the world. In the United States alone, the nonprofit sector encompasses over a million organizations and annually reports trillions of dollars in revenue and assets. The nonprofit sector is so heavily intertwined with the public sector that government executives will find themselves interacting and partnering with nonprofits on a regular basis. Through discussions of contemporary trends, challenges and issues, this course provides an introduction to the nonprofit sector and the leadership and management skills required to achieve social impact.  (3 credits)

Nonprofit Financial Management (PLCY 688F) 
This course covers the fundamentals of accounting and financial management for public and nonprofit organizations. Through course readings, case studies and short assignments, students will learn how to understand and use public sector financial information to inform decision-making. The first half of the course will focus on: operating budgets, cash budgets, tools for evaluating capital budgeting decisions and an introduction to accounting principles. Topics in the second half of the course include financial reporting, financial condition analysis and unique aspects of accounting for public and not-for profit organizations. Along the way, students will gain familiarity with spreadsheet applications and financial calculations. By the end of the course, students should be able to read and interpret financial information and perform straightforward financial analyses.  (3 credits)

Spring Semester 2019 Courses

Theory, Practice and New Paradigms in Nonprofit Fundraising (PLCY 689Y), Wednesday's, 6 p.m.
This course will introduce students to the fundamentals of fundraising. We will identify the major types of nonprofit funding models and assess which fundraising methods are appropriate for each model. We also will explore motivations for giving; types of funding sources; types of fundraising mechanisms and instruments; grant writing and the rise of strategic philanthropy and the new demands it places on nonprofit leaders.  (3 credits)

Strategic Management for Nonprofit and Public Organizations (PLCY 689Z), Tuesday's, 6:30 p.m.
Serving as a successful leader for a nonprofit or public organization of any kind requires an understanding of the strategic management process and a well-developed and managed strategy is a key to an organization’s performance. This course provides an integrated approach to leadership theories and concepts, research and modern practices related to strategic planning and execution. Leading strategy approaches will be discussed and students will gain a deep understanding of how strategy can be effectively developed, implemented and managed in these organizations. The course will be relevant for students who want to work for and/or consult with nonprofit and government organizations. (3 credits)

Need more?  The School of Public Policy also offers master's degree programs.  In fact, you can apply up to three of the four certificate classes toward a master's degree.  Please contact the Graduate Admissions Office at 301-405-6331 or policy-applications@umd.edu, for more information about the certificate and/or master's degree.

Application Process

Before you can enroll in courses, you must first submit an on-line graduate application for admissions review.  See link for details. Select "Nonprofit Management and Leadership (Z116)" for intended program of study in the online application. Note:  If you are a current University of Maryland, College Park, graduate student wishing to simultaneously complete the nonprofit certificate program,  you must follow a different application process than the one using the standard graduate school online application.  See below for instructions.


  • Statement of Purpose - please include a description of your motivation for the program of study
  • Transcripts - upload your official transcripts for all prior academic work. 
  • Resume

Do not upload an encrypted transcript to the application.  It will upload as a blank document and the program will not be able to use it for its evaluation.  Please print the document out, scan it, then upload a scanned version.

Application and Fellowship deadlines:

For Fall 2019 start:  Priority for fellowship funding:  June 28; Final: August 16
For Spring 2020 start:  Priority for fellowship funding:  December 20; Final:  January 17

Instructions for applicants currently enrolled in another degree seeking program offered through the University of Maryland (College Park) Graduate School:

  • Complete the paper application: available here
  • Submit the paper application with your statement of purpose, resume and copies of previous transcripts (unofficial is okay) either by emailing to policy-applications@umd.edu or mailing to:  Attn SPP Student Affairs, 3111 Van Munching Hall, College Park, MD  20742
  • Complete the application for fellowship: available here

Learn more about the School's application process