Graduate Program Nonprofit Leadership

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Nonprofit Leadership Master's Degree Overview

PSU's Master of Nonprofit Leadership is for those who believe in the power of collective action for meaningful social change. MNL students are a part of the next generations of nonprofit leaders who work for the common good. In the MNL curriculum, we marry the best of theory and practice so that students gain critical insights into nonprofit leadership and management and the skills to affect meaningful change. Coursework focuses on four core areas: Foundations of the Nonprofit Sector and Nonprofit Leadership; the Fundamentals of Nonprofit Management; Analytic Skills; and Advocacy, Policymaking, and Community Change. Beyond these core areas, students enhance their knowledge with elective courses of their choosing and a community-based capstone project.

Degree Details

  • M
    On campus
    Total Credits
    Start Term
    Fall, Winter, Spring

Nonprofit Leadership Master's Degree: Why PSU?

Students will be joining a learning community of faculty and professionals who share their passion for leading meaningful social change and working for the common good. PSU's Department of Public Administration offers a faculty of dedicated professors and professional instructors who draw on the best of both theory and applied practice from the nonprofit and public sectors to help students lead for the common good. The students and faculty in the MNL program are well-positioned to help "let knowledge serve the city" with a strong focus on community-engaged learning opportunities across the curriculum and through PSU's Nonprofit Institute. In addition, PSU's MNL offers a first-rate graduate education at a fair price. Similar programs in the Portland area cost two or three times as much in tuition each year as PSU's MNL program.

What can I do with a Master's degree in Nonprofit Leadership?

The MNL program is new to PSU but a market study commissioned by PSU for the development of the MNL indicated that students who complete this program can expect to find themselves in leadership positions with nonprofit organizations in the near future upon completion of the program. Job titles for individuals who have an MNL degree can expect to be in positions such as:

  • Executive Director
  • Director of Finance
  • Director of Development
  • Program Director/Manager

Featured Courses

  • PA 528 Leadership for the Nonprofit Sector
  • PA 549 Cross-cultural Communication
  • PA 522 Governance of Nonprofit Organizations
  • PA 526 Fundamentals of Fundraising
  • PA 524 Financial Management of Nonprofit Organizations
  • PA 555 Program Evaluation and Management
  • PA 538 Advocacy and Political Participation by Nonprofit Organizations


  • PA 425/525 Grantwriting for Nonprofit Organizations
  • PA 541 Social Entrepreneurship
  • PA 536 Strategic Planning
  • GRN 510 Social Justice Pedagogies
  • PA 556 Public Contract Management
  • PA 591 Employment Law and Policy


Portland State University is fully accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).