MPA - Nonprofit Specialization


MPA Nonprofit Specialization


The MPA program offers several fields of  specialization. MPA students declare an intended field of specialization upon admission, enroll in 5 courses (15 credits) to make up the field, and are expected to complete a “field of specialization” form with a proposed program of study upon entering the program, but are required to complete the form by the time they complete 30 credits of the MPA program; this must be signed by the faculty advisor and submitted to the Division office.  The declared specialization and specific program of study may be changed based upon consultation with the faculty advisor.  On occasion, a student may create a unique field of specialization with advisor approval, which must be documented in the student’s file. 


Each specialization has required and recommended elective courses. In addition, certain skill development courses are recommended (9 credits of the 60 credit MPA).  Additional suggested preparation and/or courses in other academic units, as well as other professional experiences, may be appropriate.  In all cases, consult with your advisor for further information and specific guidance relevant to your particular interests.


Courses listed here reflect those that are currently offered and projected for the next two years; see the PA two-year schedule at Note it is subject to change.


For overall MPA degree requirements, see  

For information on the newly-redesigned Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit & Public Management, see


For the Nonprofit Management Specialization


Required courses:

PA 520 Introduction to Nonprofit Management

PA 521 History and Foundations of the Nonprofit Sector

PA 522 Governance of Nonprofit Organizations

PA 524  Financial Management in Nonprofit Organizations (see NOTE)


Choose at least one course from the following (or an additional nonprofit skills class approved by your advisor)

PA 523 Nongovernmental Organizations: Nonprofits on the World Stage

PA 527 New/Emerging Nonprofits: Development and Management

PA 528 Organizational Leadership and Decision Making in Nonprofit Organizations

PA 529 Oaxaca Field Study

PA 538 Advocacy and Political Participation by Nonprofit Organizations

PA 541 Social Entrepreneurship

Other courses with the PA 510 course prefix may also be relevant; check with your advisor.


Recommended skill development courses:

PA 514 Global Leadership and Management

PA 525 Grantwriting for Nonprofit Organizations

PA 526 Fundamentals of Fundraising in Nonprofit Organizations

PA 536 Strategic Planning

PA 543 Creating Collaborative Communities

PA 545 Organizational Development

PA 549 Crosscultural Communication in the Public Sector

PA 555 Program Evaluation and Management

PA 556 Public Contract Management

PA 581 Advanced Fundraising

PA 592 Volunteerism and Volunteer Management

PA 598 Values-Based Management


NOTE:  Students in this specialization must take PA 524 Financial Management in Nonprofit Organizations, and may substitute it for PA585 from the MPA core. If they choose to use PA 524 as a substitute for PA 585, they are required to make up the three credits with an elective from the MPA program curriculum (either from the nonprofit course offerings or with another course approved by their advisor); this assures that students meet their 60 credit MPA program requirement.

Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit & Public Management

Contact the PA Office about the newly-redesigned Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit & Public Management.