Feb 02, 2023  
2016-2017 Graduate Catalog 
2016-2017 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Nonprofit Management Certificate

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Shamima Ahmed, Ph.D., Department Chair

Julie Cencula Olberding, Ph.D., Graduate Program Director


Program Description

The Nonprofit Management certificate is an 18 credit hour program suited for mature individuals currently working in or interested in a career in the nonprofit sector. Students may complete the certificate at their own pace with most of them taking a year or two by enrolling in one to three courses per semester.

The core courses and a few electives are typically taught on weekday evenings (6:15 to 9 p.m.) or online, and they include a mix of lecture, seminar, small group, and service learning. The one- or two-credit electives are usually taught in intensive weekend formats over two or four Saturdays. For the most recent information about the Nonprofit Management certificate consult our website at npm.nku.edu.

Office of the Nonprofit Management Certificate

The main office of the Nonprofit Management certificate is currently 125 Landrum Academic Center.  For more information please call (859) 572-5326, email npm@nku.edu or visit our website at npm.nku.edu.

Program Mission

NKU’s graduate certificate in Nonprofit Management provides students and practitioners with the knowledge, skills, and competencies to manage and lead nonprofit organizations. An 18 credit hour program, this graduate certificate includes three required courses (three credits each) plus nine credit hours of electives selected by the student from a variety of offerings. The Nonprofit Management certificate includes both pre-career students and in-career students who work in the Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati metropolitan region.

Program Objectives

Current staff and leaders of nonprofit organizations, as well as students wishing to explore a future in this field, can benefit from this program.


  1. Provide skills and knowledge to form and manage nonprofit organizations.
  2. Develop fundraising and financial management skills for the non-profit sector.
  3. Understand the uniqueness of working with and managing volunteers.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Understand the process of forming an incorporated nonprofit organization.
  2. Identify and comprehend important issues and challenges in non-profit management, including legal and ethical issues, accountability and performance evaluation, and the increasing involvement of the private sector.
  3. Learn fundamental principles and concepts of fundraising as well as various programs and methods to acquire funds for nonprofit organizations.
  4. Understand the basics of resource management, particularly budgeting, accounting and financial reporting.
  5. Learn and apply theories, processes and best practices related to volunteer management.

Program Administration

While the Nonprofit Management certificate follows the academic rules established by the NKU Graduate Council (detailed previously in this catalog), there are also program specific guidelines. To facilitate program-specific activities, the certificate is administered by the director of the Master of Public Administration (MPA) program. The MPA director, with the input and consultation of other MPA faculty, makes program-specific decisions related to curriculum, admission, enrollment, and graduation.  The Nonprofit Management Certificate and MPA programs are housed in the Department of Political Science,Criminal Justice and Organizational Leadership located in the College of Arts and Sciences at NKU.


Program Admission Process

To qualify for admission to the Nonprofit Management graduate certificate, an applicant must:

  1. Possess a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university.
  2. Have a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 2.5 or higher (on a scale of 4.0) for all college work or a 3.0 for all graduate work.
  3. Submit a narrative essay of 300 to 400 words stating your career and academic goals and how the graduate certificate program will help you attain those goals.

Transfer Credit

Successful applicants to the Nonprofit Management certificate may transfer up to three semester hours of appropriate, acceptable graduate coursework from other programs and/or institutions in which they must have earned a minimum grade of B. These courses must be deemed appropriate to your program of study at the time of admission by the program director.

Relationship between Nonprofit Management Certificate and MPA Programs

Students completing the Nonprofit Management graduate certificate may apply for admission to the MPA program. If admitted, they may receive up to 12 hours of credit towards the 39 credit hour master’s degree. For academic questions about the Nonprofit Management certificate and/or MPA programs, contact the MPA office at (859) 572-5326.

Academic Standing

A cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 must be maintained for all 600-level coursework. A student cannot receive the Nonprofit Management certificate without a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above. Students falling below 3.0 will be placed on probation. A course may be repeated only once, and only two courses may be repeated. Only courses with a grade of C or below can be repeated; the repeat grade is used in the GPA determination.

♦ Indicates prerequisite.

Program Curriculum

Nonprofit Management Core (9 credit hours):

Students are required to complete three core courses. All courses are three credit hours (45 academic contact hours) and are taught by a mix of full-time MPA faculty and experienced professionals.

Total Hours: 18

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