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Curriculum & Courses

Full-time, On campus

  • 36 points (credits) for degree completion
  • On-campus option
  • Fall entry only*
  • 3 terms to complete
  • Nonprofit Management Capstone Project
  • Upon matriculation, students will be required to meet with their academic advisor to plan their path through the program.

* The M.S. Nonprofit Management Program only has Fall entry.

International students are responsible for ensuring they have read and understood the University’s student visa application eligibility and requirements. Please note that it is not permissible to enroll while in B-1/B-2 status. In addition, if studying on a student visa, you must enroll full-time (12 points/credits per term) and study on campus.

Focused on the broad range of nonprofit management activity, the Nonprofit Management program reflects the mission of the School of Professional Studies to prepare students for interdisciplinary, cutting-edge career fields.

The program is distinct from MPA programs, such as the Master of Public Administration at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs, which prepare students for careers and study in public administration and government.

Students in the Nonprofit Management program complete twelve 3-point (credit) courses:

  • Six core required courses, which provide an overview of the nonprofit sector, its various components, and required management skillsets;
  • Six elective courses, in which students can focus their studies in different areas of the nonprofit sector; and
  • A capstone project: a real-time, client-based group project supervised by a program faculty member designed to address high-level considerations within the field and integrate a student’s knowledge gained throughout the program.

Each course consists of theoretical and practical approaches to its subject matter. In-class exercises (such as formal presentations, role play, and experiential learning) and real institution-based assignments provide students with applied, tangible skills that readily transfer into the workplace, while homework (including readings, research, and report writing) keeps students up to date on the latest trends, techniques, and strategies in nonprofit administration. The program imparts both the requisite subject matter necessary for mastery of the field as well as the techniques and tools essential for individual confidence and success.

The curriculum is demanding and requires a significant commitment of time and energy outside of classroom. Students must complete the 36-point (credit) program with an overall grade point average of 3.0 (B) or better in order to be awarded the degree. 

Course Formats

For maximum flexibility, the program offers courses both online and on-campus. Please consult the Columbia University Directory of Classes for course timing and availability.  

Nonprofit Management Capstone Project can only be taken after completing 30 points (credits) or, for full-time students, in the final semester in the program. Electives may still require prerequisites, so students should be prepared to fulfill those requirements as needed.

Nonprofit Management Core Courses

Core courses with required sequencing

After completing the first two required core courses in the sequence ("The Nonprofit Sector: Scope and Impact" and "Leadership & Management of Nonprofits"), students may take any combination of remaining core and elective courses. Note: Electives may still require prerequisites. Students should be prepared to fulfill those requirements as needed.

Elective Courses

All elective courses are 3 points (credits).

The University reserves the right to withdraw or modify the courses of instruction or to change the instructors as may become necessary.