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The College of St. Scholastica

The Master’s in Nonprofit Leadership (MNPL), grounded in holistic principles of collaborative and community-based learning, will provide the essential skills for creating and leading a nonprofit organization. Fundraising, finance, marketing, writing, HR, advocacy, communications and more. Students will learn the art of building and sustaining public relationships, creating a learning organizational culture, and developing the lifelong habits of analysis, reflection and action for social change.

This program combines the creative strengths of the School of Arts and Letters and the logistical knowledge of the Stender School of Business and Technology, preparing students with theoretical, practical and experiential knowledge to lead nonprofit organizations with courage and grace.

Fast Facts

  • Two synchronous online classes per week
  • Offering three start terms per year
  • Completion in two years or less — 36 credit program
  • Designed by nonprofit professionals focused on developing leadership across a diversity of nonprofits

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Designed for employees in nonprofit organizations and those who would like to pursue such a vocation.

Sparks Grant

Two — $5,000 scholarships will be awarded. Deadline is July 15.

Crawford Scholars

Two — $10,000 scholarships will be awarded. Deadline is July 15.

Degree Details

Tuition

Tuition: $565/credit*


* Tuition rates are for the 2022-23 academic year. Additional fees and costs for course materials may apply. Total program cost and completion time varies depending on transfer credits and individual program plans. Tuition rates are subject to change.

Program Overview

Position Yourself to Lead

Designed for 4-year degree holders interested in leadership roles in the nonprofit sector, the program features an online synchronous structure, allowing the maximum amount of flexibility for students already engaging in nonprofit work.

This program is designed for people currently working in non-profit organizations who want to build their capacity for executive, administrative or program leadership and for people who think they would like to pursue such a vocation.

This 36-credit course is made up of 7 required courses, 3 electives and a Capstone experience that offers a shared learning process. Each person will engage in a practicum experience at a nonprofit with a mentor from the community, while meeting regularly in an accompanying seminar setting with a faculty member and their peers, where they can process, analyze, and integrate their learning experiences together with the cohort and pursue a thesis-level project.

The project will benefit the host organization while preparing the graduate for their future. Students currently working for a nonprofit are encouraged, but not required, to base the capstone in that nonprofit.

Capstone Options Include
  • Conduct original research and compose an academic paper for publication
  • Prepare a final report for the organization sponsoring the capstone project consistent with expectations of a professional consultant
  • Group practicum: Apply theory to practice through a small group project with your peers; suitable for presentation as poster session at a state or regional conference, or for publication

Curriculum

The coursework in this program will prepare you with theoretical, practical and experiential knowledge to serve in executive, administrative and programmatic leadership at nonprofit organizations. The curriculum includes 7 required courses, a Capstone and three electives.

Required Courses

Proseminar in Nonprofit Leadership

Comprehensive, intensive course covering theory and practice in areas such as laws governing nonprofit organizations; program planning, monitoring and evaluation; creative entrepreneurship; arts and cultural leadership; community organizing and coalition building; and the evolution of social movements, social justice and social change. The course also explores practices to support the well-being and growth of leaders and followers, and the creation of a learning organizational culture.

Fundraising and Financial Management for Nonprofits

This course covers essential practices, including legal compliance and ethical standards, for fundraising and financial management of non-profit organizations. Students will learn the major categories of fundraising, internal controls and accountability to stakeholders. Students will analyze the fiscal health of organizations, create financial and fundraising policies and plans, generate budgets, navigate grant cycles, write grants and individual appeals, and gain a solid foundation in donor research, cultivation and stewardship. They will become familiar with a variety of software platforms for fundraising and financial management.

Human Resources Management and Board Governance for Nonprofits

Managers in nonprofit organizations face the challenge of working with both paid and unpaid stakeholders to shape organizational futures. Examines workplace equity, hiring and employment practices; contracts, compensation and benefits, and performance appraisal. Emphasizes the roles, responsibilities and powers of boards of directors. Cultivates approaches to developing, supervising, motivating and recognizing volunteers and staff. Addresses effective organizational communication; staff-volunteer relations; and stress, conflict and crisis management.

Writing for Nonprofit Leadership

Introduces students to grant proposals, reporting and other forms of narrative writing. Topics include effective research and producing the elements of a strong grant proposal. The course also provides opportunities to practice other elements of writing essential to success in nonprofit settings: press releases, appeals, social media content, blogs, newsletters, and other forms of thought leadership and storytelling.

Promoting and Marketing Nonprofit Organizations

Provides an overview of marketing principles and practices through many forms of media, including print, television, Internet, and social media, focusing on branding, and brand awareness, thought leadership, and sharing original content to tell an organization’s story in a way that motivates engagement and positive action. To learn these skills, the course will utilize lectures, research, projects and case studies.

Communication across Cultural Boundaries

Explores the complex connections among strategy, leadership and change. Set in a global environment characterized by rapid technological change, it emphasizes the importance of a leader’s capacity to anticipate, envision and work collaboratively toward a viable organizational future. The course requires students to synthesize and integrate lessons learned in their previous courses.

Organizational Behavior

This course explores the behavior of people within organizations and the factors that most influence it. Those include factors related to individuals, groups and the larger organizational system. The course utilizes experiential learning to help students understand their strengths and weaknesses.

Capstone

The Capstone experience brings together a cohort of students in their final term for individualized yet shared learning processes. Each person will engage in a practicum experience at a nonprofit with a mentor from the community, while meeting regularly in an accompanying seminar setting with a faculty member and their peers, where they can process, analyze, and integrate their learning experiences together with the cohort and pursue a thesis-level project. The project will benefit their host organization while preparing the graduate for their future. Students currently working for a nonprofit are encouraged, but not required, to base the capstone in that nonprofit.

The capstone options include:

  • Conduct original research and compose an academic paper for publication
  • Prepare a final report for the organization sponsoring the capstone project consistent with expectations of a professional consultant
  • Group practicum: Apply theory to practice through a small group project with your peers; suitable for presentation as poster session at a state or regional conference, or for publication

Electives

Administration of Arts and Cultural Organizations

This course focuses on the role of nonprofit arts and cultural organizations in society, engaging students in the management and operations of arts and cultural nonprofits through techniques and applications of mission/visioning, planning, staffing, volunteerism, board governance, fundraising, promotion and modes of community engagement. Theoretical and applied knowledge of leadership in arts related organizations will be synthesized through site visits and interviews with arts and cultural organizations.

Advocacy, Community Organizing and Public Policy for Nonprofits

Provides preparation to create meaningful change by better understanding the structures of public policy and learning various styles of community organizing in order to mobilize people and organizations, and to advocate for systemic change. Course includes exploration of the creation and execution of public policy, models to describe political life, the strategies and skills of community organizing such as social analysis, listening, building a membership base, running campaigns, developing grassroots leadership, building and maintaining complex public relationships, and consensus and coalition building. Students will have opportunities to reflect on, practice and assess leadership styles and skills.

Cultural Sustainability/Revitalization and Entrepreneurship

At the heart of cultural sustainability and entrepreneurship is the ability to perceive need, value, voice, cultural knowledge and innovation from a particular community perspective. Cultural sustainability utilizes approaches from anthropology, public history, communications, community development, and activism to effect positive, community-driven development and change. This course introduces collaborative orientations and frameworks for effectively working within and among communities to identify, protect, enhance and advocate for specific traditions and knowledge bases. It explores strategies for working alongside communities as they support and develop the cultural practices, spaces and sources of social and economic capital that matter most to them.

Ethical Issues and Wholeness in Change Leadership

Explores the ethical responsibilities of organizational leaders and practitioners who design, guide and implement change interventions or initiatives. It also considers the issue of practitioner wholeness and how living a divided life can contribute to ethical conflicts during times of rapid organizational change. Topics that will be covered include: Values, “use of self,” conscious vs. unconscious choice, ethical decision-making, and wholeness at the individual, group and organizational levels.

Health Care Administration

This course provides an orientation to the current health care business environment and service delivery systems. Students will develop a broad based perspective of key environmental factors influencing current and future trends in health care. Students develop a knowledge base and context for synthesis, discussion, and analysis of contemporary issues and trends.

Organization Development

This course serves as an introduction to the theory and practice of organization development (OD), also referred to as “planned change.” It emphasizes the historic evolution of OD, models of planned change, the dynamics of resistance to change, organizational culture and the role of the OD consultant. The course also seeks to compare and contrast OD with other approaches to “change management” and to assess their relevance in organizations today.

Strategic Leadership for Change

Explores the complex connections among strategy, leadership and change. Set in a global environment characterized by rapid technological change, it emphasizes the importance of a leader’s capacity to anticipate, envision and work collaboratively toward a viable organizational future. The course requires students to synthesize and integrate lessons learned in their previous courses.

Experiential Learning

Capstone

The Capstone experience brings together a cohort of students in their final term for individualized yet shared learning processes. Each person will engage in a practicum experience at a nonprofit with a mentor from the community, while meeting regularly in an accompanying seminar setting with a faculty member and their peers, where they can process, analyze, and integrate their learning experiences together with the cohort and pursue a thesis-level project. The project will benefit the sponsoring organization while preparing the student for their future. Students currently working for a nonprofit are encouraged, but not required, to base the capstone in that nonprofit. The capstone options include:

  • Conduct original research and compose an academic paper for publication
  • Prepare a final report for the organization sponsoring the capstone project consistent with expectations of a professional consultant
  • Group practicum: Apply theory to practice through a small group project with your peers; suitable for presentation as poster session at a state or regional conference, or for publication

Career Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 15% increase in public/nonprofit sector (social and community service managers) jobs from 2020-2030. In Minnesota, the number of employees working in nonprofit organizations exceeds for-profit companies. And the number of nonprofit organizations continues to grow in Minnesota, with the healthcare sector taking the lead.

Admission Information

Visit our admissions page for information about transcripts, online application, international admissions and financing.

Application Deadlines

Fall: July 15 preferred, final-Aug. 15
Spring: Jan. 4
Summer: May 4

Eligibility

New Students
  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university
  • Cumulative GPA of 2.8
  • Preferred 2-3 years of professional experience
  • Note: Meeting minimum entrance requirements does not guarantee admission
Returning Students

A returning student is a student who was admitted and enrolled in a program at St. Scholastica but has been absent from the program for at least three continuous semesters, including summer. To return to the same program at St. Scholastica, a returning student must be in good academic standing and must apply for readmission to the College.

Prerequisites

  • No GMAT or GRE required
  • No prerequisite coursework is required, however, students who enter the MNPL program should demonstrate strong writing and quantitative thinking skills

Meet Our Faculty

Experienced, Dedicated and Distinguished Educators

Expect to be heard, to be challenged and to be involved. St. Scholastica faculty are world-class scholars and experts in their field who invest in your success. Our values of community, respect, stewardship, hospitality and love of learning reflect our faculty’s commitment to lifting up others and celebrating our common humanity.