University of Oregon

Planning, Public Policy and Management

Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management

How To Apply

Applications are received quarterly:  February 1st, May 1st, August 1st and November 1st for entry in the next quarter.

The objective of the Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management is to prepare students for leadership positions in nonprofit and philanthropic (grant making) organizations. The curriculum, which centers on technical skills specific to the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors, is designed to develop the skills necessary to manage and lead financially stable, innovative and effective organizations.

Opportunities for nonprofit managers with specialized skills have expanded sharply. Currently, approximately 8% of the U.S. total employment is in the nonprofit sector – more than the number employed in construction, transportation and communication, finance, insurance, real estate or agriculture. Recent graduates serve in all nonprofit sectors in a variety of leadership positions.

Required Courses for Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management

PPPM has one of the most comprehensive nonprofit curricular programs in the nation. Our faculty has a wealth of experience working with and for nonprofit organizations, and conducting research on the nonprofit sector. We offer a wide-ranging curriculum in the important facets of nonprofit management, including the following specialized courses:

Grant Proposal Writing, PPPM 522. 1 credit. This class is an introduction to the process of preparing grant applications.

Fundraising for Nonprofit Organizations, PPPM 581. 4 credits. This course is a comprehensive introduction to fundraising for nonprofit organizations, including annual giving, major gifts, planned giving, and campaigns.

Philanthropy and Grantmaking Seminar, PPPM 507/586. 2 credits. Students research regional nonprofit organizations and learn the fundamentals of grant making. Students award a grant of $15,000 to their selected nonprofit organization. (Can be waived and replaced with elective credits – see below.)

Managing Nonprofit Organizations, PPPM 680. 4 credits. This course explores the legal, administrative and organizational issues surrounding nonprofits, and how to manage nonprofit organizations for superior performance in a humane and responsible manner.

Public and Nonprofit Financial Management, PPPM 684. 4 credits. This course focuses on financial management decisions and control processes in public agencies and nonprofit organizations. Topics include expenditures and budgeting, stewardship of resources (taxes, donations, grants), and capital project analysis.

Required courses in the Certificate program are offered annually or more often, usually once per week, 4:00 p.m. to 6:50 p.m. (with the exception of the one-credit classes), to accommodate professional schedules. 24 credits are required for completion of the Certificate. In addition to the 15 required credits, students wishing to complete the Certificate must complete an internship, and three elective credits OR take nine credits of nonprofit-relevant elective courses, which are described below. Students who have no significant work experience in the nonprofit sector are strongly recommended to complete an internship by enrolling in six credits of PPPM 604 (Internship).

Course Schedule

Elective Courses for Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management

The Department of Planning, Public Policy and Management has a variety of courses available throughout the year that qualify as nonprofit program electives. These courses are offered annually. Examples include:

  • Strategic Planning, 4 credits
  • Nonprofit Legal Issues, 4 credits
  • Program Evaluation, 4 credits
  • Nonprofit Board Governance, 3 credits (1 per quarter; fall, winter, spring.)
  • Volunteer Management, 2 credits
  • Project Management, 4 credits
  • Nonprofit Law/Management Clinic, 4 credits
  • Seminar Communications Management, 4 credits
  • Nonprofit Management Consultancy, 4 credits

Students may also receive elective credits for a content-relevant course offered elsewhere on campus, in departments such as Law, Arts and Administration, Historic Preservation, Environmental Studies, International Studies, Museum Studies, Business, Journalism, and others. For authorization to receive Certificate credits for a course taken outside the PPPM Department, or for other information about the Certificate, please contact the program director.

UO graduate students from any department may apply to the Nonprofit Management Certificate program to obtain the Certificate as an important add-on to their main graduate degree. If the Certificate comprises the electives portion of their main graduate degree, the student may not need additional time to complete both the graduate degree and the Certificate.

The Certificate program is also available as a stand-alone program for students not pursuing another graduate degree.

Doctoral Students: If you have a research interest in nonprofit sector issues, the Certificate coursework will provide a grounded look at the practical problems faced in the sector. You will be able to spot the hot button issues of the day, gauge the potential external interest in possible research topics, and locate data for your research. As faculty members in this field, we have a strong interest in providing academic field-specific socialization and support for nonprofit scholars at UO, regardless of their home department. We can recommend the best conferences, datasets, and journals for your research interests.

If your interests lie outside academia – for example, you are interested in heading a foundation specializing in your field of interest – you will need the practical skills that the Certificate emphasizes for leadership of nonprofit and philanthropic organizations. Your experience in the Certificate program will set you apart from and above the crowd. Graduates of our program report that employers, both academic and non-academic, are drawn to the Certificate listing on their curriculum vitae, and are interested and pleased to see this level of preparation for any nonprofit-related research or administrative position.

Renee Irvin, Ph.D., Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management Program Director
Phone: (541) 346-2155


Application files for the Certificate program are reviewed for admission on a quarterly basis. Deadlines for application are the first day of August, November, February, and May.

Admission Guidelines

Currently enrolled graduate students interested in completing a concurrent degree program please contact Bob Choquette,

Gainful Employment Disclosure Information

Certificate program description

Although there are nonprofit programs in many universities across the US and internationally, University of Oregon’s nonprofit program is one of the largest, with extensive course offerings and services and large numbers of both undergraduate and graduate students. Read Resources for Nonprofit Organizations to find out what you can do for your organization.

PPPM is a full institutional member of the Nonprofit Academic Centers Council (NACC).

NACC logo

An equal-opportunity, affirmative-action institution committed to cultural diversity and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. This publication will be made available in accessible formats upon request.