Nonprofit Leadership & Management Certificate

The Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership and Management, within the ASU School of Community Resources and Development, is a post-baccalaureate certification that strives to give students an understanding of the nonprofit sector's role as steward of the public good. It provides the skills necessary for effective leadership and management of nonprofit organizations. The program is strengthened because of the variety of disciplines that contribute to its success.

Students graduating with a background in Nonprofit Leadership and Management are well situated, regardless of their primary discipline of study, to integrate theory and research and to become leaders in a variety of nonprofit settings.

The Nonprofit Leadership and Management Certificate will prepare you by offering a background in the history and philosophy of the sector, and the skills to provide better services to the community.

The Master of Nonprofit Leadership & Management Graduate Certificate is offered in two ways. You choose which format when you start the application process.

  1. In-Person format (located on Downtown Phoenix Campus, and can include online courses).
  2. Online format

Application deadlines

  • Fall Semester: July 26th
  • Spring Semester: December 16th
  • Summer Term: April 27th

Applications must be complete by the above dates for the application term or your application will be applied to the next term (fall, spring, summer). 

How to apply 


Course details

The Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership and Management requires a total of 15 credits. Students must take 9 credits of required core courses and 6 credits of electives. No more than six credit hours of graduate courses taken before admission can be included in the Program of Study for the Certificate. See the Graduate College's policy manual for more information on graduate certificates.


This certificate is designed for applicants with exploratory interest in studying the nonprofit sector.  Strong applications are those with evidence of 1-3 years of some management/leadership experience in the nonprofit and philanthropic sector. Evidence provided can include but is not limited to: leading a service or program as a volunteer and/or paid staff member, serving on a board of directors, volunteering in direct services, and similar experiences. Applicants meeting such criteria are encouraged to apply.

Criteria for admission to the graduate certificate program include a completed undergraduate degree with a minimum "B" average and experience in the nonprofit sector. This certificate is available to all ASU graduate students irrespective of their majors. Students not currently enrolled in a degree program at ASU may also be a part of the certificate program.

Combine with related master's degree

If you are enrolled or considering a master's degree, you can take these courses while earning your degree. Check with your major advisor today! We have had students from Recreation Management, Public Affairs, Business Administration, and other fields who have taken classes to earn the certificate.

Core courses (9 credit hours)

  • NLM 510 The Nonprofit Sector
    This course provides students with grounding in nonprofit management and the historical and philosophical foundations of the nonprofit sector in American society. Students identify and study issues and trends related to governance and delivery systems of the nonprofit sector.
  • NLM 520 Financial and Resource Management
    Reviews fiscal-management accounting procedures, understand financial tools used by nonprofit managers, and provides basic framework for evaluating financial performance of a nonprofit organization and fund raising practices.

CHOOSE ONE: Either NLM 540 OR NLM 545

  • NLM 540 Strategic Human Resources Management
    This course addresses the challenges of managing paid staff and human resources in nonprofit organizations. Students will gain an understanding of human resource theories and tools to determine roles, evaluate responsiblities, and lead staff toward optimal performance. It will improve supervisory, management and leadership skills. (Either used as a Core Class or Elective Class).
  • NLM 545 Volunteer Resource Management
    Exploring issues relevant to volunteer management. Allows students to learn about maximizing resources in effective management of volunteers in carrying out the mission of organizations as well as ensuring volunteers have good experiences with community organizations. (Either used as a Core Class or Elective Class).

Elective courses

Students also complete 6 credits of related elective coursework from a selection of graduate level NLM courses (see below).

  • NLM 525 Fundraising and Resource Development
    Examines fundraising and resource development in philanthropy from the perspective of the nonprofit practitioner. Also examines issues confronting nonprofit organizations related to fundraising and philanthropic purposes in society. Increases students' knowledge and understanding of charitable giving and fundraising--who gives to what, why, and how to raise funds for a cause. Examines a wide range of fundraising methods and tools. Focuses on critical thinking, reflection on practice, collaboration, discussion and writing.
  • NLM 530 Program Evaluation & Information Management
    This course provides the tools to design and conduct practical program evaluation research in today's nonprofit organizations. Develops skills in several areas, including evaluation, needs assessment, information and data collection, data management and analysis, computer applications, and report writing. Students will select an individualized project and design a program evaluation specific to their organization.
  • NLM 550 Philanthropy
    This course examines the role of philanthropy in contemporary American society from perspectives of the nonprofit practitioner, the philanthropist and the general public. It also examines issues confronting nonprofit organizations related to fundraising and philanthropic purposes in society.
  • NLM 560 Leadership & Ethics
    Examines leadership and ethical questions encountered by managers and leaders in the nonprofit organizations.
  • NLM 562 Social Entrepreneurship
    Introduces social entrepreneurship, including how ideas are formulated, constructed, and implemented; experiential learning in developing a social enterprise plan.
  • NLM 565 Grant Writing for Nonprofit Organizations
    Provides practical, experiential instruction identifying grant makers, writing proposals, developing budgets, and evaluating grant proposals for the nonprofit sector. Students develop proposals based on actual, identified needs of their partner nonprofit organization.
  • NLM 570 International Non-Governmental Organizations
    A small class emphasizing discussion, presentations by students, and written research papers. This course is designed to increase students’ knowledge and understanding of INGOs and the distinctions between them and their domestic counterparts.
  • NLM 572 Community & Social Innovations
    Examines what makes a healthy community and investigates innovative and creative communities around the world.
  • NLM 605 Nonprofits, Law and Society
    This graduate seminar is designed to enhance the legal sensibilities of nonprofit leaders and engaged stakeholders.
  • NLM 610 Executive Leadership and Governance
    Examines the multiplicity of roles for executives and board of directors in providing strategic leadership for nonprofits.

Certificate Electives must come from NLM courses.

Contact information

For administrative questions about the Nonprofit Leadership and Management Graduate Certificate, please contact the School of Community Resources and Development at SCRD@asu.edu.