participants in a business meeting
College of Arts and Sciences

Nonprofit Management

Our Online Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management Can Help You

Gain the skills to lead and thrive in one of the largest sectors in the U.S. economy with the Kent State University online nonprofit management graduate certificate program.

Course Delivery
100% online
Total Credits
Approximate Tuition Cost
$571.90 in state
$581.90 out of state
Time to Completion
Graduate in as little as 1 year
I’m a working mom with 18+ years in my career. I needed something that was accredited and rigorous, but also flexible enough to allow me to work, parent and go to school. Kent State fit that description.
Jessica G. MPA ‘19

Time for a Quick Career Upgrade?

Transform your career with as little as one year of part-time courses. We can help you affordably gain the skills you need to lead your nonprofit to success and make a real difference with your service.

Learn Principles That Apply to Any Nonprofit

No matter the field or the size of the organization, nonprofit organizations must operate according to the law and specific financial and advocacy practices. Successful nonprofit leaders also keep up with best practices in governance, program management and leadership. The Kent State online graduate certificate in nonprofit management offers you expert-led courses on these key topics.

Is This Program Right For You?

If you are already working in the nonprofit sector, this program will help you develop your expertise and increase your influence. Our graduate certificate in nonprofit management is also a quick, affordable introduction to the field if you are just starting your career or pivoting from work in another sector. Our Admissions Outreach Advisors are happy to provide more information.

Talk With an Admissions Outreach Advisor

Skills You Will Develop

Your coursework for the nonprofit management graduate certificate can help you develop these key leadership skills:

  • Recruiting, selecting, leading and managing people in public organizations
  • Developing and managing budgets for nonprofit and public organizations
  • Fundraising and resource development for nonprofit organizations
  • Implementing effective nonprofit governance
The condensed seven-week courses taken one at a time, instead of two simultaneous semester-long courses, makes it easier to immerse yourself in that one topic and focus on it exclusively, which I feel enhances the learning experience.
Leslie B. MPA ‘19

Nonprofit Industry Career Options

With the expertise you gain in our nonprofit management program, you could start a nonprofit, operate a small, local organization or pursue a satisfying career in a variety of settings. The nonprofit industry encompasses organizations including:

  • Schools, foundations and churches
  • Social and business engagement associations
  • Human services providers
  • Arts, cultural and humanities groups
  • Advocacy, rights and policy organizations1

Nonprofit Numbers

The nonprofit industry is one of the largest sectors in the country, and key roles within it are projected to have much faster than average job growth through 2030.2, 3

  • There are more than 1.8 million nonprofits in the United States1
  • U.S. nonprofit revenues are $2.48 trillion4
  • 12.3 million people draw paychecks from U.S. nonprofit organizations5
Earning Opportunities in Public Administration

Because the industry is so large and diverse, many job roles are available for experts in nonprofit management, ranging from advocacy director to major gifts officer and CEO. Here are some representative nonprofit titles and average national salaries.

Fundraising Manager
Program Manager
Executive Director

Program Overview

Develop the skills most important to your career with our flexible curriculum design. Kent State’s online graduate certificate in nonprofit management:

  • Is open to people with bachelor’s degrees
  • Offers asynchronous online flexibility
  • Has a part-time workload with focused, seven-week courses
  • Has no GRE requirement
  • Has three start dates: January, May, August

See the Course List

Earning your graduate certificate in nonprofit management could be just the beginning of your professional education. You can transfer 12 credits from Kent State’s nonprofit management graduate certificate to the Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree when you decide to continue.

View Courses

Accredited and Affordable

Complete your graduate certificate in nonprofit management for less than $7,000, even though our Public Administration program is one of a select few online programs accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA).

We’re proud to be recognized with the Military Friendly® gold designation, for the level of service we offer members of the extended military community and all our students. Our rankings reflect our commitment to helping you achieve your dreams.

Military Friendly Logo


Well-Rounded, Expert Faculty

Professors for the online graduate certificate in public management are connected, engaged practitioners and researchers with expertise in diverse areas.

Faculty interests and experience include policymaking and policy implementation, political systems and public management, city planning, professional ethics, nonprofit governance and advocacy, quantitative research methods, international business, and public sector IT management.

With their varied interests, experiences and connections, our faculty can help you chart your course to a successful nonprofit management career.

Build Your Professional Network

Our robust learning management system helps you stay closely connected with professors and cohort peers throughout your program. Build your professional network through:

  • Class discussions
  • Student forums
  • Private messaging
  • Live check-ins with professors
Admissions Requirements

To be considered for admission, students must have completed a bachelor’s degree with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Applicants with a GPA of 2.75 or higher will be considered for conditional admission. Contact an Admissions Outreach Advisor for more information about this process. The bachelor’s degree may be in any area of study.

Further admissions requirements include:

  • Completed online application
  • Three letters of recommendation from professors and/or employers
  • Application fee: $45
  • Official transcripts
  • Statement of purpose
  • Writing sample
  • Resume/CV
  • No GRE required for admission
Important Dates
Application Deadline
Spring 2024 Term
First Day of Classes
Spring 2024 Term
Application Deadline
Summer 2024 Term
Choose one core management course (3 credits) from the following:

PADM 60375 Public Personnel Administration

This course provides a foundation for leading and managing people in public organizations. This includes an examination of public personnel systems, and the public service values that underlie these systems. The emphasis is on skill development and techniques for public personnel managers, which include recruitment and selection, motivation, performance appraisal, diversity management, and cultural competence.

PADM 60377 Public Budgeting and Financial Management

This course focuses on two aspects of public finance: budgeting and financial management. Relative to budgeting, students are taught about budgets as mechanisms for resource control and allocations, as legal documents, different formats and cross-walking of formats, budget preparation, legislative review, budget implementation, and auditing. Relative to financial management, students are taught budget analysis, debt management, fund accounting, and forecasting.

PADM 60379 Program Evaluation I

Introduction to evaluation of government programs. Emphasis on familiarizing students with the theory and, specifically, the techniques utilized under different evaluation formats.

PADM 60574 Strategic Planning

This course is designed to introduce students to the practice of strategic planning as it relates to program design and implementation by public and nonprofit organizations. Consideration is given to concepts, frameworks, and methods of program/policy analysis; as well as understanding the institutional context, agency-environment linkages, and internal dynamics of organizations.

Elective Courses
Choose three electives (3 credits each, 9 total) from the following:

PADM 60200 Nonprofit Advocacy

This course explores the U.S. public policymaking process as it applies to nonprofit organizations. Nonprofits influence policymaking or “advocacy” through a variety of methods, such as lobbying, campaigning, protesting and policy monitoring. The course explores how nonprofit organizations both shape and are shaped by public policy.

PADM 60310 Leadership in the Nonprofit and Public Sector

This course teaches students theory, practice, and skills for leading nonprofit and public organizations. Topics include organizational theory and behavior, organizational culture, integrity and ethics, group dynamics, conflict management, and creating an environment that promotes diversity and inclusion.

PADM 60471 Nonprofit Law

Introduction to legal issues for nonprofit organizations in the United States, including types of IRS tax-exempt status; basic requirements for establishing/operating nonprofit organizations specifically in Ohio.

PADM 60472 Nonprofit Board Executive Relationships

Key aspects of effective nonprofit governance, major roles of nonprofit board members and their responsibilities, and governance structures.

PADM 60477 Nonprofit Financial Resource Development

Successful strategies for fundraising and resource development for nonprofit organizations. Students will be exposed to fundraising in practice and will write a resource development plan.

The online MPA program application process is simple and we’re here to guide you through it.

Our Admissions Outreach Advisors are available to answer your questions regarding admissions requirements for the program. If you have questions, please email us at or call us at 330-672-8671.

Application FAQs

Create an account in the online application system to save your work and track the progress of materials submitted via the application system.

I am a U.S. citizen. Where should I send my application materials?

If you are a U.S. citizen or permanent U.S. resident, all required application materials should be sent to the Division of Graduate Studies at or by mail to:

Division of Graduate Studies
Kent State University
Cartwright Hall
P.O. Box 5190
Kent, OH 44242

Please be sure to include your full name and Kent State ID (9-digit number starting with 8) on all submitted documents. For questions, contact Graduate Admissions at +1 330-672-2661 or

I am not a U.S. citizen. Where should I send my application materials?

If you are not a U.S. citizen or permanent U.S. resident, all required documents should be submitted to the Office of Global Education at or by mail to:

Office of Global Education
Kent State University
106 Van Campen Hall
625 Loop Rd.
Kent, OH 44242

For questions, contact International Admissions at +1 330-672-7970 or

Tuition and Financial Aid

The online Postbaccalaureate Certificate in Nonprofit Management consists of 12 credits.

Ohio ResidentsOut of State
Per Credit Hour$571.90$581.90
Approximate Program Cost $6,863$6,983

An additional distance learning fee for all students enrolled in a distance learning course is $15 per credit hour. Program tuition and costs are estimated and subject to change. For a complete listing of tuition rates for approved online programs, please contact Kent State’s Financial, Billing & Enrollment Center at 330-672-6000 or via our website Contact Us link.

We recognize that pursuing a graduate degree is a significant investment. Your Admissions Outreach Advisor can answer your questions on program costs, discuss how a Kent State degree compares to others and connect you with financial aid representatives when you are ready to discuss your financial options.

Please contact an Admissions Outreach Advisor for more information on tuition and fees by email at


Courses are delivered through Canvas, our course management system. Course content consists of text, narrated PowerPoint presentations, video and audio, live chats, discussion groups, and other learning enhancements. To participate in this online program, you will need a computer and broadband internet connection. Your program may have further requirements that include the ability to record video and audio. If you have questions regarding technology requirements for the program, please contact your Admissions Outreach Advisor at or call us at 330-672-8671.

Other Programs You Might Like
Hone your public-sector leadership skills with a well-rounded graduate education. Earn a Master of Public Administration (MPA) in as little as two years or a Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management in as little as one year. Help build a better tomorrow for everyone.
The International Business graduate certificate allows students to gain specialized knowledge in various domains of international business. Study abroad options are possible, with no language skills required.
The Human Resource Management graduate certificate allows students to gain specialized knowledge in the human resources domain. Topics offered include employee selection and appraisal, performance management and compensation, global human resources, leadership, and organizational change, and current issues.

Related Reading from the Kent State Online Blog

Check out one of our featured blog posts below
Kent State University’s Online Master’s in Public Administration has moved up in the U.S. News rankings! The program is currently ranked 135 (out of 270) in the U.S. News 2024 Best Public Affairs Programs. The program is also tied for 4th place in Ohio and second place in Northeast Ohio.
Watch Dr. Daniel Hawes speak to Sage Publications about a paper he presented at the American Political Science Association conference in Montreal 2022. The paper also won the Herbert Kaufman Best Paper award from the Public Administration Section in 2023.