The Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit and Public Management

The Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit and Public Management

The Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit and Public Management consists of 21 credit hours of graduate coursework in Public Administration with an emphasis in either Public or Nonprofit Management. The Certificate is intended to provide existing and aspiring middle managers in nonprofit and public organizations with the knowledge and skills necessary to be successful in carrying out their administrative responsibilities. The certificate program has been deliberately created to meet the very high rate of retirements that is occurring at the middle and upper ranks of many nonprofit and public organizations.


Program Objectives

We aim improve the effectiveness, efficiency and efficacy of those who have responsibility for managing nonprofit and public organizations, by providing them with the following knowledge and skills to achieve the following learning objectives:

  • Understand the distinctive role responsibilities as middle managers in the nonprofit and public sector.
  • Develop or enhance knowledge and skills to manage organizational systems, such as budgeting, personnel, 
management information.
  • Develop or enhance knowledge and skills to manage organizational design, change and evaluation.
  • Develop or enhance knowledge and skills to manage inter-organizational and inter-jurisdictional relationships.
  • Develop or enhance knowledge and skills to manage conflict.
  • Develop or enhance knowledge and skills to manage cultural and organizational diversity.

This program extends the mission of the University and the Mark O. Hatfield School of Government to those who currently have responsibility for managing nonprofit and public organizations throughout the Pacific Northwest. This certificate enables the Mark O. Hatfield School of Government to carry out this mission more effectively and to work in partnership with nonprofit and public agencies to improve the quality of public service.

Course of Study

Students must take the following two current courses:

  • PA 511- Public Administration (3 credit hours)
  • PA 540 - Administrative Theory and Behavior (3 credit hours)

Students must take any five of the following current courses, and are encouraged to meet with an advisor to plan a suitable complement of courses to meet their individual interests and professional development needs.  Substitutions may be made with permission of the academic advisor. As indicated below, courses my be drawn from any of six content/skill areas. All courses listed are 3 graduate credit hours. Through these courses students will achieve outcomes that correspond to the specific objectives listed above.

General Management

  • PA 513 - Administrative Ethics and Values
  • PA 520 - Introduction to Nonprofit Organizations
  • PA 522 - Governance of Nonprofit Organizations
  • PA 536 - Strategic Planning 

Finance & Budgeting

  • PA 524 - Financial Management in Nonprofit Organizations
  • PA 525 - Grantwriting for Nonprofit Organizations
  • PA 526 - Fundamentals of Fundraising in Nonprofit Organizations
  • PA 582 - Public Budgeting 
  • PA 583 - Advanced Budgeting Concepts and Techniques
  • PA 585 - Financial Management in the Public Sector

Leadership & Human Resource Management

  • PA 570 - Environmental and Natural Resource Leadership
  • PA 517 - Leadership Development for Public Organizations 
  • PA 528 - Organizational Leadership and Decision-Making in Nonprofit Organizations
  • PA 590 - Human Resource Management in the Public Sector
  • PA 592 - Volunteerism and Volunteer Management
  • PA 594 - Affirmative Action Planning
  • PA 598 - Values Based Management

Community Building & Communication

  • PA 541 - Social Entrepreneurship
  • PA 527 - New/Emerging Nonprofits: Development and Management
  • PA 543 - Creating Collaborative Communities
  • PA 545 - Organizational Development
  • PA 549 - Crosscultural Communication in the Public Sector

Public & Nonprofit Sector

  • PA 521 - History and Foundations of the Nonprofit Sector
  • PA 533 - Public Policy: Origins and Processes 
  • PA 534 - Administrative Law and Policy Implementation 

Specific Management Skills

  • PA 538 - Advocacy and Political Participation by Nonprofit Organizations
  • PA 550 - Managing Information Resources
  • PA 555 - Program Evaluation and Management
  • PA 558 - Public Productivity Analysis

Admission Requirements

This program is targeted to existing supervisors or managers in nonprofit and public agencies, most of whom are not currently enrolled in the MPA program. Students who complete courses in the Graduate Certificate may subsequently apply to the MPA program (all regular admissions criteria apply) and transfer those courses. Students must have an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 and at least 6 years of full-time work experience or two years of supervisory responsibility.

The admission cycles for the Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit and Public Management can be found under Review Cycles here.

Students must submit one online application though the Office of Graduate Admissions, which will ask for the following materials to be uploaded:

  • One transcript from each post-secondary institution attended.
  • Copy of current professional resume.
  • Personal Essay (250 word statement): To qualify for the Certificate in Public Management, students must meet the threshold requirement of at least six years of significant work experience (or two years of supervisory responsibility) in a combination of the public, private or nonprofit sectors. Briefly describe how you meet this requirement and provide detail on the amount and scope of your organizational experience; programmatic and/or management experience; line management responsibility; and budgetary responsibility. Describe your career goals and how you believe the Certificate will help you advance to the next level of leadership
  • Copies of official course descriptions and syllabi for all non-PSU graduate courses that you would like evaluated for transfer credit may be requested by the admissions committee. Please list the courses on the online application under Pre-admission/Transfer credits.*
  • Three letters of recommendation from academic or professional references. Letters should comment on the applicant's potential to succeed in a graduate program.

    *Students may apply up to 7 credits of previous coursework to the Certificate.

    Please list all graduate-level courses you would like evaluated for pre-admission/transfer credit. Courses taken at an institution other than Portland State University will not be evaluated for transfer unless official course descriptions and syllabi accompany the application form. Important Note: Pre-admission/transfer credit will only be evaluated and approved during the application process. No additional credit received outside of the Certificate Program can be applied to degree requirements once a student has been admitted into the program. Pre-admission credit must be graded at a B- or above AND cannot be more than seven years old at the time of graduation.

    If you are currently enrolled in a graduate program at PSU and are looking to apply to the Graduate Certificate, the application fee is reduced. Please be sure to contact the Office of Graduate Studies to get the reduced fee.