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Arkansas State University

Specialize in Nonprofit Management in the Online MPA Program

In today’s job market, a Master of Public Administration (MPA) is a valuable degree; it offers specialized areas of concentration that set job candidates apart. For example, graduate students can pursue a concentration in nonprofit management as part of an online MPA program to prepare themselves for a successful career in the nonprofit sector, whether they have only recently completed a bachelor’s degree or have been working for some time already.

Growth in the Nonprofit Sector

The number of jobs in the nonprofit sector, including nonprofit management, continues to grow as the nature of nonprofit work evolves. Government administration across many agencies has undergone reform during recent decades, leading to limits and changes to their functions. As these government functions evolve, many of their prior activities and services fall to nonprofit organizations who receive their funding either through grants or contracts.

This increase in the number of nonprofits means greater need for qualified leaders in nonprofit management at the national, state and local levels. Nonprofit organizations are looking for managers with experience leading teams and managing resources who also have solid educational backgrounds in public administration. Job candidates can prepare themselves for the nonprofit world by seeking a specialized degree in nonprofit management within an MPA program.

Focus on Topics Related to Nonprofits

General MPA courses include public administration research, public budgeting and finance, human resources management, administrative leadership, administrative ethics, grant writing and administration. Specializing in nonprofit management in an online MPA program gives graduate students opportunities to prepare for nonprofit careers by allowing them to dig deeper into topics related specifically to their chosen fields.

Specialized nonprofit coursework in an MPA program includes classes such as public information management, nonprofit fundraising, financial management, and nonprofit planning and marketing. These specialized classes give students the chance to explore management topics in the context of nonprofit scenarios and to learn from professors with backgrounds in nonprofit management.

Graduate students can further prepare for nonprofit work by participating in internships in public administration and completing MPA capstone experiences. The internship and capstone experience ensures that graduates have sufficient real-life experience with the topics their coursework covers before entering the professional arena.

Gain the Skills for a Nonprofit Career

Pursuing an MPA in nonprofit management gives students the opportunity to learn management skills in the context of the nonprofit sector. General management skills students develop in an MPA include program development and management, strategic planning, needs assessment, oral and written communication skills, and critical thinking.

Students in a Master of Business Administration (MBA) program, rather than an MPA, often find that the program focuses solely on corporate management. While many MBA skills can transfer to nonprofit management, MPA graduates with specializations in nonprofit management have specific experience with the nonprofit sector, including such areas as nonprofit legal issues, tax regulations, donor relations, volunteer management and program evaluation.

Well-Suited for a Variety of Backgrounds

Some professionals in online MPA programs have already worked in the corporate world or nonprofit operations. These students find that a concentration in nonprofit management offers them solid coursework in relevant nonprofit topics, allowing them to transition smoothly into jobs in nonprofit management. Other students may have recently earned a bachelor’s degree in unrelated subjects. These students can specialize in nonprofit management in an MPA program for thorough training in public administration and nonprofit management.

Learn more about A-State’s online MPA Non-Profit Management track.


Idealist Grad Resources: Learn About Grad School

American Society of Public Administration

America’s Future Foundation: What Is Nonprofit Management? And What Does It Involve?

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