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Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management and Leadership

The School of Public Policy offers professional programs that develop innovative leaders in the art of policy and governance, advance the frontiers of applied interdisciplinary knowledge, and promote local, national and global public good. The curriculums are designed to develop the skills and techniques used by professionals to implement policies, projects, and programs that resolve important societal problems.

Mentoring and advising are an essential part of the program. Students meet with faculty and the academic program director to ensure that educational goals and career learning and development goals are met. Students with specific academic questions may contact Thomas Kennedy, Director, Office of Executive Programs, via email:


The Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management and Leadership equips working professionals with skills to formulate innovative strategies, negotiate the complexities of nonprofit management, develop entrepreneurial skills, generate more resources, effectively manage finances, and employ their talents to make a significant difference for a nonprofit organization and the community it serves.

  • Offered online (major code Z159).
  • Designed for mission-driven professionals to excel in management, strategy, finances, and fundraising, the program has a 12-credit, 4-course curriculum wherein students enroll in two required courses and two electives.
  • Successful graduates acquire skills that translate to strong professional preparedness and a deeper understanding of what it takes to excel in the nonprofit sector.
  • Focuses on planning and implementing strategy, program evaluation and performance management, effective fundraising, communications strategy, fostering innovation, building a high-performing team, budgeting and accounting, and governance and compliance. 
  • Can be completed in nine months of continuous part-time enrollment. See Designation of Full-time/Part-time Status.

Program Features

  • Students build a professional community and join a cohort of nonprofit professionals who are changing the world for good. Students connect outside of class through organized open houses, coffee chats, and more. 
  • Program organizes professional development and networking events throughout the semester. These include, but are not limited to invitations to exclusive Mastermind Groups for fundraising, financial management, and program evaluation; career coaching and resume support; and mentorship and networking opportunities with faculty, staff, alums, and nonprofit leaders.


Below is a listing of all program courses. For a detailed course description that includes pre-requisites or co-requisites, see The Graduate School Catalog, Course Listing as follows: PLCY Course Descriptions.

Category Course Number Course Title
Required PLCY688F State, Local and Nonprofit Financial Management
Required PLCY798Y Nonprofit Management and Leadership
Elective PLCY689D Social Entrepreneurship
Elective PLCY689P Strategic Philanthropy
Elective PLCY689Y Theory, Practice, and New Paradigms in Nonprofit Fundraising
Elective PLCY689Z Strategic Management for Nonprofit and Public Organizations
Elective PLCY698T Networks: Leading and Managing Across Sectors
Elective PLCY752 Managing Differences: Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating Agreements

Registration Overview

  • See the sample plan of study, below. Students should use this as a guide to develop a plan with the academic program director. 
  • Actual course offerings are determined by the program and may vary semester to semester. Students should note if a course has a pre-requisite or co-requisite. 
  • Specific class meeting information (days and time) is posted on UMD’s interactive web service services, Testudo. Once on that site, select “Schedule of Classes,” then the term/year. Courses are listed by academic unit. 
  • The program uses specific section codes for registration which are listed on the sample plan of study. 

One-Year Sample Plan

Semester Year Course Number In Person Section Code Online Section Code Credits
Fall 1 PLCY**** PCM* PWL* 3
Fall 1 PLCY**** PCM* PWL* 3
Spring 1 PLCY**** PCM* PWL* 3
Spring 1 PLCY**** PCM* PWL* 3

Two-Year Sample Plan

Semester Year Course Number In Person Section Code Online Section Code Credits
Fall 1 PLCY**** PCM* PWL* 3
Spring 1 PLCY**** PCM* PWL* 3
Fall 2 PLCY**** PCM* PWL* 3
Spring 2 PLCY**** PCM* PWL* 3


  • Offered online (major code Z159).
  • Uses the semester academic calendar with classes held in the fall and spring semester (16 weeks each).
  • Classes are held weekday evenings (e.g., after 5:00 p.m.) to accommodate the working professional’s schedule
  • Instruction provided by University of Maryland faculty and professionals in the field.

Online Learning 

  • Using advanced audio and video technology, UMD’s online learning environment delivers dynamic and interactive content. 
  • Featuring convenience and flexibility, online instruction permits asynchronous or synchronous participation.
  • Lectures are video archived. Students who are unable to attend in real time can review the session through asynchronous participation.

Upon successful completion, graduates will have mastered the following competencies:

  • Understand the principles and practices of nonprofit management.
  • Understand how the principles and practices of nonprofit management
    relate to the overall management of nonprofit organizations and programs designed to serve the public.
  • Apply the tools and techniques related to leadership and management to address specific issues related to social entrepreneurship and philanthropy.
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