Best Online Ph.D. in Nonprofit Management

TBS Staff Writers
Updated October 10, 2023
An online Ph.D. in nonprofit management can develop your skills in finance, management, fundraising, and leadership in order to help your community.

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An online Ph.D. in nonprofit management can develop your skills in finance, management, fundraising, and leadership in order to help your community.

If you strongly value community outreach and social justice, you might consider working for or pursuing leadership roles in a nonprofit. These organizations need leaders with knowledge of public policy and business to succeed.

These managers remain in high demand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that employment for social and community service managers will grow by 17% from 2019-2029. Professionals can advance to the top of this field by earning Ph.D. degrees in nonprofit management.

A Ph.D. in nonprofit management can open doors to fulfilling, lucrative work. This terminal degree can help you become an executive-level public relations manager, fundraiser, or development overseer in a large charitable organization. You can also prepare to become a research scientist who sets public policy for the future.

Nonprofit leaders have used teleconferencing technology to safely complete their work and uphold the principles of nonprofit management amid the COVID-19 pandemic. With strong employment projections from the BLS, these professionals are expected to continue to find work and maintain employment following the pandemic.

Read on to discover some of the top online doctorates in nonprofit management. These programs are listed alphabetically and not ranked.

Nonprofit Management Doctorate Programs for You

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The Best Online Doctorate in Nonprofit Management Programs

The school and/or program descriptions below were drafted using natural language generation technology and have been edited for clarity and accuracy. The data is primarily sourced from government databases such as IPEDS – see sources section for more details.

#1 Best Online Ph.D. in Nonprofit Management

Liberty University

  • Location-markerLynchburg, VA
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$15,417
  • Out-of-state$15,417
  • Retention Rate81%
  • Acceptance Rate51%
  • Students Enrolled85,586
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment92%
  • AccreditationYes
Rankings Methodology

What Is an Online Ph.D. in Nonprofit Management?

Though online Ph.D. in nonprofit management programs vary in requirements, curriculum, and available concentrations, most share some common elements. Most programs require an accredited master’s related to management or public service and experience with research methods and statistics. A Ph.D. in nonprofit management typically takes 3-5 years to complete and culminates with a thesis.

Coursework for most online nonprofit management Ph.D. programs covers quantitative research methods, public policy and advocacy, and nonprofit management ethics. Learners prepare for careers spent solving issues in policy and public administration.

Learners develop their leadership and critical thinking skills. They also learn to apply nonprofit ethics to real-world problems. They also learn to use research designs and methods to further organizational goals or contribute to nonprofit management theory.

Learners in doctoral nonprofit management degree programs generally take two paths: executive roles in nonprofit management, fundraising, and marketing; or research-oriented roles as scientists or educators. Online nonprofit management Ph.D. degree-holders can use their skills and knowledge to become leading contributors to the public good and the nonprofit management field, regardless of their chosen pathway.

Choosing an Online Doctoral Nonprofit Management Program

When looking for the right online nonprofit management doctorate for your needs, you should consider a few key factors, such as cost. Though financial aid can help lower the overall burden of paying for your degree, learners should remain realistic about whether they can afford tuition without incurring significant loan debt.

Prospective enrollees can also research program length. Does the degree’s length fit into your personal timeline? Consider the curriculum — does this degree’s available concentrations and overall area of focus align with your career plans? Make sure you’re selecting a program that prepares you for work in your desired field.

Accreditation for Online Nonprofit Management Degree Programs

Accreditation ranks among the most important factors for when deciding on the right nonprofit management Ph.D. program. Aside from only considering programs from regionally accredited schools, you should research programmatic accreditation for nonprofit management.

The U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation accredit nonprofit management schools and programs. The Nonprofit Academic Center Council handles accreditation for subject-specific programs oriented toward nonprofit leadership, public administration, and public service.

What Else Can I Expect From a Ph.D. in Nonprofit Management Program?

Some nonprofit management Ph.D. programs feature concentrations in specialized public policy areas, such as environmental law or public health policy. Others may even allow for the option to complete a non-written dissertation. However, most programs cover similar topics.

Foundational nonprofit management coursework prepares enrollees for the leadership, conflict management, and financial concepts needed to manage organizations successfully. The courses below represent some common subjects in the typical online nonprofit management doctoral program. Nonprofit management Ph.D. programs also typically feature coursework on quantitative and qualitative research methods.

Common Courses for an Online Doctorate in Nonprofit Management

  • Financial Management in Nonprofit Organizations: This course provides an overview of how financial management concepts and analyses apply to the world of tax-exempt nonprofit organizations. Coursework explores accounting, budgeting, and cash management, along with how these concepts build stability in organizations.
  • Fund Development for Nonprofit Organizations: Students develop familiarity with tools to develop funding, including grant proposals and fundraising campaigns. The course culminates with a portfolio presentation for a real nonprofit organization.
  • Technological Innovation in the Public Sector: Enrollees in this course investigate modern technologies used in the public sector to streamline workflows and increase transparency, including collaborative work management programs and platforms like Worksheet Gov.
  • Fundamentals of Conflict Studies: This course offers a broad view of conflict analysis and resolution. Learners can develop the ability to understand and resolve workplace conflicts.
  • Human Resources Management: This course covers the basics of managerial tasks in HR departments, including hiring, training, and retaining employees. Students also investigate how conflict studies and cultural competency influence human resources management.

How Long Does It Take to Complete an Online Doctorate in Nonprofit Management?

It typically takes 3-5 years to complete an online Ph.D. in nonprofit management. However, the exact amount of time can vary due to several factors. Many programs feature accelerated tracks for students to earn their degrees in under three years by taking heavier course loads.

Conversely, taking courses at a part-time pace adds time to your schooling. Some programs also feature extra requirements. Whether you take courses at a part-time, full-time, or accelerated pace, check whether your program features asynchronous or synchronous courses.

Nonprofit Management Jobs

Nonprofit management careers combine organizational behavior and leadership theory with nonprofit ethics and knowledge. Earning a nonprofit management degree can prepare learners for roles as consultants, public relations managers, and training managers in nonprofit organizations.

Many top executives at nonprofits hold doctoral degrees. However, many high-level management positions require significant management-related work experience along with an advanced degree.

A degree in nonprofit management provides a solid foundation for careers across different industries. Many individuals with nonprofit management Ph.D. degrees pursue work as research scientists or professors. The following list includes some of the most popular nonprofit management careers:

Paying for Your Online Doctorate in Nonprofit Management Degree

Paying for an online Ph.D. in nonprofit management can seem daunting at first. However, if you know where to look for financial aid and how to access it, the process can become much easier.

First, fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and send it to your prospective school. Completing your FAFSA will help you determine how much financial aid you need. It is a prerequisite for applying for any kind of federal funding, such as Pell Grants, but colleges and universities need it to know your expected family contribution.

Once you receive an idea of your expected need, you can start applying to different forms of financial aid. Aside from federal grants, you can also consider private and local scholarships, state government grants, and work-study programs. These sources do not require repayment.

Finally, investigate different student loan options. Many student loans offer flexible payment timelines or do not require full repayment. Choose whichever resource best fits your needs.

Top Online Management Doctorate Programs

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Get a Doctorate in Nonprofit Studies?

Yes. Two of the most popular doctoral degrees in the field include the Ph.D. in nonprofit management and the doctor of public administration with a concentration in nonprofit management.

What Can You Do With a Nonprofit Management Degree?

A nonprofit management degree can help you pursue work as a high-level manager or executive at a nonprofit organization, or as a scientist or educator in research and academia.

What Degree Is Best for Nonprofit Work?

A nonprofit management degree offers a solid foundation for a career in nonprofit organizations. However, other degrees in nonprofit studies might suit your needs better, depending on your career goals.

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