MNLM Curriculum

The Master of Nonprofit Leadership and Management is a 40 unit cohort-designed program. A group proceeds through a sequence of core courses, which will allow for collaboration that benefits from diverse backgrounds, experiences, and interests. The MNLM degree is offered as a three-semester or five-semester cohort model, making the program feasible for nonprofit professionals at various stages of their careers.

Core Courses

30 units of core coursework is organized under three areas: Theory and Context; Leadership and Management; and Analytical Skills. These are followed by an integrative Capstone course, in which students work in the field to apply the range of knowledge and competencies covered over the course of study.

Theory and Context:

PPD 689 The Nonprofit Sector and Philanthropy (4 units)
Nonprofit organizations and their relation to government and business; the role of philanthropy, social enterprise and public support; and implications for policy, strategy and management.

Leadership and Management:

PPD 675 Nonprofit Management and Leadership (4 units)
Issues in nonprofit management and leadership including: the role of boards; strategic planning; marketing and fund-raising; financial management; and volunteer and human resource management.

PPDE 680 – Board Governance and Leadership (2 units)
How nonprofit organizations are governed: roles and responsibilities of boards, staff, and volunteers; unique aspects of nonprofit board governance; boards and individual board member effectiveness; and changes in governance as a result of recent federal and state legislation.

PPDE 681- Fund Development for Nonprofit Organizations (4 units)
Key aspects of the fundraising process for nonprofit organizations: major theoretical foundations and general fundraising principles; fundraising techniques; sources of donations; and key aspects of managing the fundraising process.

PPDE 645 Financial Management of Nonprofit Organizations (4 units)
Accounting and financial management principles and practices in nonprofit organizations: budgeting financial analysis, internal controls, financial policies, grant making and financial reporting.

Analytical Skills:

PPD 501ab Economics for Policy, Planning and Development (2 units each)
a: Microeconomic theory as applied to policy, planning, and development; concepts of efficiency; macroeconomic issues.
b: Microeconomic analysis and modeling to incorporate Market failure and issues of uncertainty and information failure; organization models; policy instruments; policy and planning applications.

PPD 542 Policy and Program Evaluation (4 units)
Methods and models for policy and program evaluation; methods of collecting and analyzing evaluation data; processes for linking evaluation to policy formulation and program management. (Duplicates credit in former PUAD 525 and former PUAD 529.) Prerequisite: PPD 502x.


PPDE 682 – Strategic Leadership and Management in Nonprofit Organizations (4)
The capstone is an experiential learning course that brings together core knowledge, skills, and values acquired throughout coursework.


Students will also select 10 units of electives in consultation with their advisor. Sample electives may include:

  • PPD   599 – Leadership for Social Change (2)
  • PPD   599 – Impact Investing (2)
  • PPDE 647 – Civic Engagement and Governance (4)
  • PPDE 649 – International Development NGOs; Theory, Policy and Management Issues (4)
  • PPD    665 – Contemporary Issues in Philanthropy (4)
  • PPD    668 – Entrepreneurship in the Public Sector (4)
  • ARTL  500 – Arts Leadership (2)
  • ARTL  501 – Executive Leadership in the Arts (2)
  • ARTL  503 – Arts Organizations: Innovation and New Models (2)
  • BAEP  591 – Social Entrepreneurship (4)
  • CMGT 577 – Communicating for Corporate Social Responsibility (4)
  • CMGT 578 – Nonprofit Advocacy (4)

Statistics Prerequisite

Competence in descriptive and inferential statistics is required for the MNLM program. This prerequisite may be met in one of two ways:

  1. Entering students must have passed an undergraduate inferential statistics class, with a grade of “B” or better, at an approved university within three years of matriculation.
  2. Enrollment in PPD 502x Statistical Foundation for Public Management and Policy, a two-unit graduate level inferential statistics course. Students must complete the course with a grade of “B” or better. The units associated with this class may not be used toward the MNLM degree.

The Statistics prerequisite must be fulfilled within the first 12 units of graduate course work. Students will be advised to complete the prerequisite in their first semester.