Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Studies

Our graduate certificate in nonprofit studies (NPS) is designed for nonprofit managers and leaders — or those seeking to transition from positions in the corporate sector — to earn a credential related directly to their work. It’s also an ideal opportunity to determine whether a master’s degree in NPS is in your future, as all courses required for the graduate certificate can be applied to the Master of Nonprofit Studies degree.

Our program offers a thorough understanding of the nonprofit sector in addition to addressing key components of nonprofit leadership and management, including fiscal concerns, legal issues, governance, promotions, development and managing personnel.

The certificate combines theoretical frameworks with practical applications, culminating in a seminar focused on applying skills and knowledge obtained throughout the program of study to real-world problems.

Small class sizes (the average is 12-15) combined with adjunct professors who are themselves working professionals in the nonprofit sector provide students an unrivaled opportunity to engage in cutting-edge theory and to apply that theory on the job — sometimes even the very next day!

The graduate certificate requires six classes (18 semester hours). Students seeking the Graduate Certificate take classes with those seeking the Master of Nonprofit Studies, which enriches peer learning and networking opportunities across many segments of the nonprofit sector.

Program Details

  • Requirements

    GC-NPS Program of Study

    Total: 18 semester hours


    15 semester hours

    • NPS 501U Understanding the Nonprofit Sector
    • NPS 520U Financial Management and Budget Development
    • NPS 530U Law, Ethics and Governance
    • NPS 540U Resource Development and Promotion
    • NPS 550U Strategic Human Resource Management


    3 semester hours. Select 1 additional graduate-level Nonprofit Studies (NPS) course or another graduate-level course with approval from the chair.

  • Graduate Admissions

    Admission to Graduate Programs

    Transfer of Graduate Credits

    Up to six semester hours of graduate credit may be transferred toward a graduate program in the School. Transfer credits may be accepted only from another regionally accredited institution of higher education. In order for graduate academic credits completed prior to admission into a graduate program to be considered, credits: (1) must have been completed within the past five years with a grade of 'B' or better; (2) must not have been used to satisfy requirements for another degree or certificate at the University of Richmond or another institution of higher education; and (3) must be approved by the Program Chair. Possible transfer credits completed while in the program must receive prior approval by the Program Chair. Except by waiver, no more than six hours may be transferred into a graduate program.

    Graduate Admission Process

    Students seeking admission to a graduate certificate or a master's degree program must complete the following:

    • File a Graduate Application with the School and submit the non-refundable $50 graduate application fee
    • Have official transcripts from all colleges and/or universities where college work was attempted forwarded directly to the School
    • Have three (3) letters of recommendation sent directly to the School (requirement differs for Graduate Certificate in Teacher Licensure Preparation and Master of Teaching)
    • Have official TOEFL scores sent (when applicable)

    Official documents verifying college and university work and test scores must be sent from the institution or agency responsible for the information directly to the School.

    Letters of recommendation should be substantive regarding the applicant’s potential to be successful as a graduate student and professional in their field. Letters from past or current supervisors and professors are preferred, and those from professional peers and coworkers who can offer meaningful input about the applicant’s abilities and potential may be appropriate as well. Letters from friends, family members, and subordinates are discouraged.

    Additional requirements vary by graduate degree programs. See the section that follows for the graduate program to which you are applying.

  • NPS Admissions

    Admission to the Master of Nonprofit Studies or Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Studies

    Students seeking admission to the Master of Nonprofit Studies or the Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Studies must have the following (in addition to the admission requirements for all graduate programs):

    • A baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited U.S. college or university (or international equivalent)
    • A grade point average of 3.0 or higher on all college or university academic work attempted
    • Successful interview with the program chair or designee

    The three letters of recommendation should be substantive regarding the applicant’s potential to be successful as a graduate student and professional in the nonprofit sector. Letters should be written by those who have supervised or held responsibility for evaluating the applicant’s academic, professional, or nonprofit-related activities. At least one of the recommendations should come from someone who can speak to the applicant’s nonprofit-related interests or experiences.