The College of Letters & Science and the Lubar College of Business offer a Master of Science in Nonprofit Management and Leadership. The program is designed to provide students with the essential theoretical and practical knowledge and skills to manage and lead nonprofit sector organizations successfully.

Courses address the full range of skills needed to serve nonprofit organizations effectively, including financial management, resource development, governance, organizational leadership, and program planning and accountability. Both students and instructors in the program include experienced professionals representing a full spectrum of nonprofit organizations.

The Master of Science in Nonprofit Management and Leadership is one of only 12 programs worldwide to be recognized with accreditation from the Nonprofit Academic Centers Council (NACC). Per the accreditation review panel, UWM's program "...unambiguously meets 16 of the 16 major content subject areas through curriculum instruction..." and surpassed these requirements in 10 of those categories. Online options for program completion are available.

Related Certificates

Admission Requirements

Application Deadlines

Application deadlines vary by program, please review the application deadline chart for specific programs. Other important dates and deadlines can be found by using the One Stop calendars.

Applications are considered on a rolling admissions basis, although we suggest that a completed portfolio be submitted at least 6-8 weeks prior to the beginning of the starting semester.

Applicants should keep in mind that applications for various University fellowships are typically due in January. If you are planning to apply for Financial Aid, all application materials must be submitted by March 1 of each year.


To be admitted to the MS in Nonprofit Management and Leadership degree program, an applicant must meet Graduate School requirements.

During the admissions process, students will be asked to show evidence of having satisfactorily completed undergraduate or higher level foundation coursework in the principles of accounting and economics. Those students who are unable to show such evidence may be admitted with these academic deficiencies but will then meet with their respective academic advisors to identify and obtain approval for what they must do to remove these deficiencies.

The student is expected to satisfy deficiency requirements within three enrolled semesters. The deficiencies are monitored by the Graduate School and the individual graduate program unit. No course credits earned in making up deficiencies may be counted as program credits required for the degree.

Applicants must submit the following for review by the Graduate School and the Nonprofit Management Program Faculty Committee:

  1. Official transcripts from all colleges or universities previously attended.
  2. Three letters of recommendation from persons familiar with the applicant’s academic ability and/or professional achievements.
  3. Scores from either the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT).
  4. For those students whose native language is not English, minimum TOEFL score (Test of English as a Foreign Language) of 550 PBT or 79 iBT or minimum IELTS score (International English Language Testing System) of 6.5.
  5. Each student’s academic preparation is evaluated at the time of application. A personal interview may be required.

Credits and Courses

The MS in Nonprofit Management and Leadership degree requires satisfactory completion of 39 credits of graduate-level coursework including 33 credit-hours of required or “constrained choice” courses and 6 credit-hours of elective courses as follows:

BUSMGMT 718Concepts and Practice of Nonprofit Management3
BUS ADM 766Marketing for Nonprofit Organizations3
BUSMGMT 721Fundraising and Development for Nonprofit Organizations3
BUSMGMT 724Accounting for Nonprofit Organizations3
NONPROF 705Professionals and Volunteers in Nonprofit Organizations3
NONPROF 725Governance of Nonprofit Organizations3
NONPROF 792Decision-Making for Nonprofit and Public Organizations3
NONPROF 793Law of Nonprofit Organizations3
NONPROF 795Introduction to Nonprofit Revenue Streams and Portfolios3
Select one of the following:3
Nonprofit Advocacy and Public Policy
Seminar in Nonprofit Administration: (The Nonprofit Economy)
Executive Leadership of Nonprofit Organizations
BUSMGMT 730Strategic Management and Leadership for Nonprofit Organizations 13
Select two of the following: 26
Leadership in Diversity and Inclusion
Managerial Decisions and Negotiations
Managing in a Dynamic Environment
Information Technology Management in International Businesses
Leadership, Team Building, and Effective Management
Social Entrepreneurship in the Nonprofit Sector
International Nongovernmental Organizations
Leveraging Technology in the Public and Nonprofit Sectors
Managing Change in Public and Nonprofit Organizations
Nonprofit Administrative Internship
Organizational Theory and Practice
Analyzing and Evaluating Public Policies and Programs
Sociology of Race and Ethnicity
Urban Social Structure
Total Credits39

This course will serve as the integrative “capstone” requirement for the program and must be taken after completing all other required courses (or concurrently with the final required courses).


This is a pre-approved but not exhaustive list: Students may request alternative courses offered in other departments at UWM. Please send an email to Program Advisor with a course description and/or syllabus, and stated reasons why the course being proposed is an appropriate fit for the student’s academic and career goals.

Additional Requirements

Major Professor as Advisor

The student must have a major professor to advise and supervise the student’s studies as specified in Graduate School regulations. A student who is not assigned to an advisor at the time of admission should immediately contact the Program Director.


Not Required

Comprehensive Examination

Not Required

Time Limit

The student must complete all degree requirements within seven years of initial enrollment.