Graduate Programs in Nonprofit Leadership Studies

The Nonprofit Leadership Studies Graduate Program is designed to prepare individuals for leadership roles and functions in mission-driven nonprofit sector organizations dedicated to improving the quality of life at the local, regional, national, and global levels. Commitment to innovation, social entrepreneurship, social change, engagement, and advocacy guide the curriculum.

The NLS Graduate Program is built on core course content focused on the full range of organizational leadership roles and management functions central to the successful pursuit of the public good missions across the nonprofit sector. They include but are not limited to organizational development and strategic planning, human resource development, financial resource development, legal issues and advocacy, and innovation and social change strategies.

The M.S. in Nonprofit Leadership Studies is not currently accepting new students but will still be available to current students already working through the program. As human resources grow, the goal it to reopen the M.S. degree opportunity.

Graduate courses continue to be provided in support of the core nonprofit leadership and management functions. A number of other MSU graduate programs support the inclusion of these courses as electives within their curricula. In addition, a Leadership Development Concentration Area is available in the Human Development & Leadership Master’s Degree Program (HDL) which includes four of the NLS Graduate Courses.

Nonprofit Leadership Studies Certificate

The Nonprofit Leadership Studies Certificate is designed to support professionals working in leadership roles and those seeking to advance into leadership roles in the nonprofit sector. In addition, it supports those wanting to transition from government or business into the nonprofit sector. The certificate is designed to help ensure a quality understanding of the role of the nonprofit sector in strengthening civil society. In addition, students can customize the set of courses taken to align with career interests across the field of practice. NLS 600 is required, and with academic advisor support, students complete three additional courses to receive the Certificate.

Total Curriculum Requirements (21 hours)

Required Courses (21 hours)

NLS 600: The Nonprofit Sector and Civil Society (3 hours)

NLS 601: Seminar on Nonprofit Organizations (3 hours)

NLS 602: Financial Resource Management and Development (3 hours)

NLS 625: Nonprofit Organization Development, Management, and Leadership (3 hours)

NLS 665: Policy, Legal Issues, and Advocacy for Social Change (3 hours)

NLS 675: Social Entrepreneurship (3 hours)

NLS 685: Seminar on Leadership Development (3 hours)


Please use this link to find out more about the program, or you can directly contact:

Elise Lael Kieffer, Ph.D.
Program Director & Assistant Professor
Nonprofit Leadership Studies
Organizational Communication and Leadership
309A Wilson Hall
Murray, KY 42071

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