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To enroll in the Nonprofit Management & Leadership Program, you must be admitted to the Graduate School

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In the past two decades, the nonprofit sector has become increasingly complex with more government oversight and greater public demand for services. The UMSL Nonprofit Management and Leadership program has kept pace with these changes, and organizations throughout the region recognize that NPML graduates receive rigorous and well-rounded preparation to work in the sector. In fact, the UMSL program is the only one in the region that has full membership in the Nonprofit Academic Centers Council (NACC), which has developed industry-recognized guidelines for education in the field.

Applicants must meet the minimum requirements for admission to the university. In addition, the following factors are considered:

  • Grade Point Average: You must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale in previous college coursework for regular admission. Grade point averages below 3.0 will be considered on an individual basis for restricted admission. Transcripts must come directly from the institution.

  • Personal Statement: Applicants must submit a two-page personal statement explaining how the certificate program fits in with the applicant’s educational and professional goals. 

  • Two Letters of Recommendation:

    These letters are an opportunity for those who know you to speak to your ability to complete the NPML Certificate. It is helpful to have letters from those who are familiar with your professional and academic skills as well as your future goals. Preferably, at least one letter should be from a person who has had you as a student in a course and who can speak to your academic abilities. Please be sure the individual clearly explains in what capacity he or she knows you (as an advisor, supervisor, mentor etc.) and his or her contact information.

How to apply

If your GPA is lower than 3.0, you may apply for the program. However, you must indicate why your GPA is low, and why you think you are now prepared for graduate studies. In addition, your letters of recommendation become more important and we look most favorably on letters from academic sources such as a previous instructor who is familiar with your academic ability. If you are admitted, you will be placed on restricted status, which means you must maintain a 3.0 GPA for a specific number of credit hours that will be explained in your admission letter.

Whether an individual’s field of interest is human services, education, the environment, or political advocacy, the NPML Certificate program offers a challenging and comprehensive course of study that complements an MSW. There are nine MSW courses that are pre-approved as electives in the NPML program. This allows you to get "double duty" out of some of your courses. Electives in other disciplines are available.

Let your advisor know you'd like to add the NPML Certificate to your program. He or she will help you design your schedule to include the required NPML coursework. In addition, contact the NPML program academic advisor at (314) 516-6378 or npml@umsl.edu to be added to our list of students, and so you are notified of important information regarding the program. You also will need to fill out the online application for the NPML Graduate Certificate.

Employers or volunteer managers who can speak to the quality of your work, and whether you are capable of graduate-level work. If you're accepted into the program without a letter from a college-level instructor, your acceptance will be provisional and you will need to obtain a letter from a professor in your first semester.

The program does not require you to submit (GRE) scores. However, if you believe it would help your case, you are welcome to take the GRE and submit your scores. For more information on Graduate Record Examinations, see GRE Information.

The NPML Graduate Certificate is an approved full member of the Nonprofit Academic Centers Council (NACC), which has developed industry-recognized guidelines for education in the field. The UMSL program is the ONLY one in the region that has full membership in the NACC.

The following matrix provides an overview of the schedule for the core, required courses. Many electives are offered in the evening.

This schedule is subject to change


Course Number Course name Credits Duration Fall Spring
6300 Leadership & Management in Nonprofit Organizations 3 16 weeks X  
6310 American Philanthropy & Nonprofit Resources Development 3 16 weeks   X
6311 Staff Management Issues in Nonprofit Organizations 1 5 weeks X  
6312 Legal Issues in Governing and Managing Nonprofit Organizations 1 5 weeks X  X
6313 Financial Issues in Nonprofit Organizations 1 5 weeks X  

Yes, you may attend part time or full time. Students must complete the program within six years from the date of their initial enrollment.

From time to time we offer online classes. Online class options vary from semester to semester. In terms of in-person classes offered at satellite or remote sites, at the moment, we do not offer any in-person classes anywhere other than the St. Louis campus of UMSL.

The Nonprofit Management & Leadership Graduate Certificate is an 18-credit hour program. Of these, 9 credit hours are core required courses, 6 credits are electives and a 3-credit-hour internship.

The NPML program generally discourages transfers. However, in certain circumstances with proper documentation, up to 6 credit hours of electives may be transferred from another institution.

The cost for each course in the program is the per-credit-hour tuition rate in effect at the time of registration.

The program is 18 credit hours. The cost of the program is the current per-credit-hour tuition rate at the time, times 18 credit hours, plus the price of books and supplies as needed and required.

There is no minimum number of NPML courses that must be taken at one time, so students can set their own pace for completion of the Certificate. It is possible to take just one course each semester.

Students participate in a 3-credit-hour, 300-clock-hour internship (about 20 hours a week over the course of a semester) after completing all or most of their core coursework. Internships are arranged through the internship coordinator. For more information about internship requirements, read Internship Basics.

Students may request that the internship requirement be waived by documenting their previous leadership and management experience in a nonprofit organization. Eighteen credit hours are still required, so in place of the internship students would take an additional elective. For more information about internship requirements, read Internship Basics.

The Nonprofit Management & Leadership offers a graduate certificate that may be earned alone, or in conjunction with a master’s degree. The certificate program is designed to coordinate with either a Master of Public Policy Administration or Master of Social Work. Both the MPPA and MSW programs offer nonprofit management emphasis areas. We will work with students who wish to earn a master’s degree in another area to set up their program in the most efficient way.

Full-time NPML Graduate Certificate students are eligible to be considered for financial aid. See the Financial Aid web site for more information. 

The Nonprofit Leadership & Management Program offers one Graduate Research Assistantship (GRA) to an outstanding full-time student as funds are available. Applications for GRA positions can be found on the Graduate School website. 

Additional scholarship and grant opportunities are available through the Office of Financial Aid.

Contact Dan Sise in the NPML program at (314) 516-6378 or sised@umsl.edu

The NPML program uses a rolling admissions process whereby applications are reviewed continuously throughout the year. Students can be admitted at any time and would start the next semester. The NPML program has three core courses which are offered later in the semester, so students admitted after the start of the semester may be able to take one or all of these courses. However, if students want to be assured of admission prior to a particular semester, the following deadlines apply: Fall = July 1; Spring = December 1; Summer = May 1