The Best Online Doctorate in Nonprofit Management Programs

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If you have a passion for helping others and the skills to lead, then you should consider an online doctorate in nonprofit management program. According to a report by the National Center for Charitable Statistics, there are a total of 1.5 million nonprofits the U.S., and new organizations are created each year. Nonprofits offer a great opportunity for students who want to give back to their communities and find fulfillment in their work. Keep reading to learn about common coursework, specializations, career paths and what to look for in the best programs.

The Best Online Doctorate in Nonprofit Management Programs

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Online Doctorate in Nonprofit Management Ranking Guidelines:
We selected the degree programs based on the quality of program and range of courses provided as well as school awards, rankings and reputation.

The Best Online Doctorate in Nonprofit Management Degree Programs

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Colorado Technical University 

Colorado Springs, CO Apply Now

About this school

Colorado Technical University is a for-profit university that was established in 1966. Colorado Technical offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate degrees that focus on career-readiness and professional success. Colorado Technical offers an online doctor of management with a nonprofit leadership specialization for students who seek advanced leadership roles in nonprofit organizations.

The online doctorate program requires 100 quarter-credit hours for completion; these credits include a blend of core coursework, dissertation research credits and 20 specialization credits. Students learn advanced knowledge and develop skills by engaging with key concepts, such as:

  • Nonprofit leadership, management theories and practices
  • Philanthropy and grant writing
  • Public administration and advocacy
  • Career strategies

In addition to coursework, the program requires students to complete a dissertation project and a brief residential symposium.


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Choosing a Doctoral Program in Nonprofit Management

When selecting a doctorate in nonprofit management program, students must consider several factors in order to find the school that best meets their needs. Many learners prioritize a program’s faculty and the availability of courses. Prospective students should look for classes offered by professors who specialize in areas that students are interested in. Common coursework typically studies advanced leadership theory, nonprofit governance and executive fundraising.

Students should also consider a school’s available concentrations. Many doctorate in nonprofit management degrees allow students to specialize in a subfield. Concentrations are specific to an individual program; some examples may include studies in international nonprofit management, public policy and governmental advocacy, and leadership development. In addition to their coursework, degree seekers must complete a comprehensive exam and write a dissertation. Dissertations often approach the length of a book and must include original research that focuses on a unique idea within the nonprofit field. Some online doctorate in nonprofit management programs also require students to visit their campus to fulfill residency requirements; learners should inquire about these requirements prior to attending.

What Else Can I Expect from an Online Doctorate in Nonprofit Management Program?

While there are many common courses across doctorate in nonprofit management degrees, students should consult each school’s curriculum to learn about available classes and concentrations.

Online Doctoral Degree in Nonprofit Management Concentrations

  1. Public Policy & Advocacy:

    This concentration teaches students how to best interact with local, state and federal governments in order to achieve their nonprofit’s goals.
    • Concentration Careers: Any senior-level roles at nonprofits that require an understanding of how to work with and lobby governmental agencies.
  2. Global Affairs:

    This concentration prepares graduates for roles at international or multinational nonprofits. Topics may include international human rights law, finance, and effectively communicating with diverse clients and staff.
    • Concentration Careers: Any nonprofit with a presence outside the U.S.
  3. Leadership Development:

    This concentration caters to degree seekers who want to hone their leadership skills and prepare themselves for CEO or executive director roles.
    • Concentration Careers: Any nonprofit that requires someone with leadership experience and training.

Curriculum for an Online Doctoral Degree in Nonprofit Management

  • Nonprofit Management Ethics:

    This course explores common business ethics questions that frequently arise in nonprofit settings. Students learn to handle potentially unethical situations, make morally sound decisions and ensure adherence to grant and funding protocol.
  • Executive Fundraising:

    This course teaches students the necessary skills to be a nonprofit executive director that represents their organization and raises funds.
  • Volunteer Management:

    This course focuses on integrating volunteers into the nonprofit environment. Students learn how to recruit volunteers, how best to use their time and skills, and how to make connections with volunteers who wield influence in local government.
  • Diversity in the Nonprofit Workforce:

    Students in this course consider some of the issues which surround traditional workforces in the areas of diversity, acceptance, and hiring. These courses emphasize issues related to ethnocentrism and equal opportunity.
  • Creating Financially Viable Nonprofits:

    Students in this course learn to balance short-term fundraising goals with long-term financial stability by using future-oriented strategies.

Careers with a Doctorate in Nonprofit Management

Nonprofits both champion the needs of different groups of people and provide valuable services to these people. Someone who is interested in nonprofit management has many career options. Students should spend time researching their chosen careers and the organizations that match their interests. The careers highlighted below give learners an idea of the available roles.

  1. Social & Community Service Manager:
    These managers work alongside other nonprofit professionals and both plan and organize social and community programs. They also ensure that communities can access public programs, and they create metrics to measure the effectiveness of new program offerings.
    • Median Annual Salary: $64,100
    • Projected Growth Rate: 18%
  2. Executive Director:
    Executive directors manage other employees, create strategic plans and forecasts for future growth and sustainability, communicate with the board of directors and oversee the overall organizational budget.
    • Median Annual Salary: $104,700
    • Projected Growth Rate: 8%
  3. Nonprofit Management Professor:
    Working at both public and private universities, nonprofit management professors instruct the next generation of nonprofit leaders. Besides teaching, they may also mentor students or alumni.
    • Median Annual Salary: $76,000
    • Projected Growth Rate: 15%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics