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Nonprofit Leadership Graduate Programs

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Wheelock College and Boston University have reached an agreement to merge as of June 1, 2018 and we are no longer accepting new applications. As a prospective applicant to Wheelock College, we hope you will be interested in applying to Boston University.

Nonprofit organizations employ 14 percent of the total workforce in Massachusetts, making the industry one of the state's biggest employers. Yet trends predict an upcoming shortage of qualified nonprofit leaders.

Wheelock College's Nonprofit Leadership master's degree and graduate certificate programs will prepare you to take on leadership roles in nonprofit organizations and NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations). Peace Corps alums accepted into the Nonprofit Leadership master's degree program can qualify for financial assistance through our Peace Corps Coverdell Fellows Program.

Focused Nonprofit Leadership Programs for Today's Social Sector Organizations

Through our focus on civic engagement and social justice, you will learn to build effective, multi-cultural organizations where the talents and contributions of individuals from diverse backgrounds are recognized, respected, and valued. You will also develop the capacity to lead organizations in an increasingly global environment.

All of our courses are focused exclusively on building the knowledge and skills needed to be an effective leader in the nonprofit sector. Unlike typical management programs in which nonprofits are merely an add-on, our students dive deep into issues surrounding nonprofit governance, mission and strategy, program planning and evaluation, as well as budgeting and financial management.

Nonprofit Leadership Master's Degree and Certificate Options

Wheelock offers a variety of master's degree and graduate certificate programs designed to meet your professional needs and fit your busy schedule. Program options include:

  • MS in Nonprofit Leadership (30 credits): Earn your master's degree in two years part-time while you continue to work. Wheelock is currently offering a 25% tuition scholarship to current staff of nonprofit organizations entering the degree program. This scholarship will be applied to the full cost of the nonprofit master's program. Learn more about the master's program.
  • Master of Social Work/MS in Nonprofit Leadership dual degree (78 credits): Earn two specialized degrees in as little as three years: A unique opportunity for individuals interested in human services administration. Learn more about the dual degree program.
  • Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership (12 credits): Give your nonprofit career a boost in just one year of study: All four courses may later be applied to our MS degree. Learn more about the graduate certificate program.
  • Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership for MSW Students (12 credits): Gain key management skills in just one year in this program designed exclusively for MSW students and professional social workers. Learn more about the certificate program for MSW students.

Each program is grounded by the same four-course foundation:

  • NPL 510 Organizational Leadership, Mission and Strategy (3 credits)
  • NPL 530 Planning, Evaluation and Marketing (3 credits)
  • NPL 520 Organizational Governance (3 credits)
  • NPL 540 Budgeting, Financial Management and Resource Development (3 credits)

Master's in Nonprofit Leadership

Students wishing to earn our MS in Nonprofit Leadership complete the foundational courses and then take additional courses in organizational governance and organizational change, plus elective courses that cover a variety of topics, such as:

  • Effective Nonprofit Communication
  • Policy Practice
  • Resource Development
  • Entrepreneurship for Nonprofits

Master's degree students also complete a two-semester Capstone Project that provides real-world nonprofit experience. In this group project, students work with a local social sector organization to address a challenge or opportunity identified by the participating organization. Students integrate their learning in a content or issue area, as well as develop their skills in the areas of teamwork, research, project management, and how to work in the complex and often unpredictable nonprofit sector.

Why Choose Wheelock's Nonprofit Leadership Degree?

  • Faculty are experienced nonprofit practitioners and leaders in the social sector (read their faculty bios)
  • Small, interactive classes incorporate your work experience
  • Diverse student body represents a wide range of nonprofit fields, allowing you to gain new perspectives
  • Convenient and accessible campuses located in the heart of Boston
  • Evening and weekend classes
  • Scholarships are awarded to current staff of nonprofit organizations. These scholarships are awarded in amounts of up to $7,500. 
  • Americorps Scholarships are available in the amount of $2,500 for two incoming graduate students who have completed previous service in an Americorps organization. There is no application process to be considered for the scholarship, however, you must indicate on your application or resume that you have served in one of these organizations. Please click here for more information.

What Students Say about the Nonprofit Leadership Program

  • "I'm excited for the next class and for the rest of the program."
  • "I feel that I have gained inside knowledge about how an organization works. I have also gained more confidence."
  • "I am putting a lot of what I have learned this past year and a half into practice at work and in my personal life. My future looks great in the organization I work for thanks to everything I have learned in the program."
  • "I'm definitely growing as a person and as a leader. I thought that the readings and assignments were realistic and applicable."
  • "I really enjoyed the classes, and I was able to apply many of the concepts in my current position."
  • "I came into this class looking for elective credits and am coming away with a new passion."
  • "This has helped me to become a more aware and enlightened person and to guide me towards what I wanted to do. I honestly could not ask for better professors."
  • "I've learned more in this one semester at Wheelock than I have in years."

Pursue a graduate degree in the Boston area. Discover the advantages of expert training in Nonprofit Leadership at Wheelock and make a difference in the global environment.

Peace Corps Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program

Wheelock's Coverdell Fellows Program provides graduate school financial assistance to returned Peace Corps Volunteers to serve in a high-need area in the community. Coverdell Fellows who are accepted into the Nonprofit Leadership graduate degree program will be eligible for a 25% tuition discount for the full master's program. In addition to the required coursework, Coverdell Fellows will be placed in a nonprofit for a two-day-a-week internship for one semester. In their second year, all students are engaged in a two-semester capstone project, where they work as part of a team to address an expressed need of the organization.

Learn more about the Coverdell Fellows Program at Wheelock

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