Program goal

The program mission is to empower community leaders with the knowledge, theory, research and real-world applications needed to creatively solve public issues and shape public policy. The program equips current and future executives, boards, staff and volunteers to lead, govern and manage nonprofit organizations collaboratively, thoughtfully and ethically.

In the graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management program, students gain knowledge and skills in nonprofit governance, management, fundraising, and program development and evaluation that they will need to become leaders and change agents in this rapidly growing sector. The school welcomes degree applicants from any undergraduate major, as entry- and top-level employees in nonprofit organizations have a wide range of backgrounds, including the sciences and humanities, social sciences, and technology. Courses are scheduled in the evening and on weekends with the working professional in mind.

Student learning outcomes

  1. To understand the nonprofit sector’s relationship to the for-profit and government sectors
  2. To know how to build a fundraising and donor communication plan model
  3. To understand how to budget and evaluate the financial management practices of nonprofit organizations
  4. To have the skills to analyze and implement laws impacting nonprofit organizations and their governance

VCU Graduate Bulletin, VCU Graduate School and general academic policies and regulations for all graduate students in all graduate programs

The VCU Graduate Bulletin website documents the official admission and academic rules and regulations that govern graduate education for all graduate programs at the university. These policies are established by the graduate faculty of the university through their elected representatives to the University Graduate Council.

It is the responsibility of all graduate students, both on- and off-campus, to be familiar with the VCU Graduate Bulletin as well as the Graduate School website and academic regulations in individual school and department publications and on program websites. However, in all cases, the official policies and procedures of the University Graduate Council, as published on the VCU Graduate Bulletin and Graduate School websites, take precedence over individual program policies and guidelines.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on academic regulations for graduate students.

Graduation requirements

As graduate students approach the end of their academic programs and the final semester of matriculation, they must make formal application to graduate. No degrees will be conferred until the application to graduate has been finalized.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following graduation requirements as published in the Graduate Bulletin for a complete list of instructions and a graduation checklist.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on graduation requirements.

Apply online today.

Admission requirements

Admission requirements
Degree:Semester(s) of entry:Deadline dates:Test requirements:
CertificateFallApr 1 (Mar 1 for financial aid)None
SpringOct 1

Special requirements

  • Students who achieve a minimum GPA of 3.6 in certificate course work in the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs are eligible to apply to the Master of Public Administration program, provided they do so before the completion of the certificate. The student must still formally apply and be admitted to the M.P.A. program. A 3.6 GPA in certificate work does not guarantee admission to the M.P.A. program.

In addition to the general admission requirements of the VCU Graduate School, admission to the certificate program requires the same procedure used in applying to the M.P.A., except that a standardized examination is not required.

Degree requirements

In addition to general VCU Graduate School graduation requirements, the certificate requires a total of 15 graduate credit hours, comprising four courses in the graduate public administration program and one elective. The elective may be from the public administration curriculum or from elsewhere within the school or university.

Curriculum requirements

Required courses

PADM 650Principles of Nonprofit Management3
PADM 656Fund Development for the Nonprofit Sector3
PADM 659Financial Management for Nonprofit Organizations3
PADM 661Nonprofit Law, Governance and Ethics3
Total Hours12


Select one of the following:3
Effective Managerial Communications
Planned Organizational Change
Power, Influence and Organizational Competence
Topic Seminar
Principles of Public Administration
Public Administration Theory
Politics and Economics
Comparative Public Institutions
Survey Research Methods
Government Management Models
Public Human Resource Management
Financial Management in Government
Organizational Behavior and Management in Government
Public Sector Budgeting
Research Methods for Government and Public Affairs
Quantitative Methods for Public Administration (PADM 623 is a prerequisite for PADM 624)
Public Policy Analysis
Intergovernmental Relations
Workshop in Policy Analysis and Evaluation
Environmental Policy and Administration
Strategic Planning and Management in the Public Sector
Organic Human Resources Management
Grants Management
Administrative Law
Program Design and Evaluation in the Nonprofit Sector
Nonprofit Advocacy and Government Relations
Community Power Dynamics
Advanced Topics in Revenue and Taxation
Local Government Administration
Comparative Public Administration
Executive Leadership Seminar
Governmental Administrative Decision-making Processes
Advanced Public Human Resources Management
Administrative Ethics
Seminar in Public Administration: Integration of Theory and Practice
Topics in Public Administration
One graduate three credit-hour course from elsewhere in the Wilder School or elsewhere in the university (with approval from the program chair)
Total Hours3

The minimum total of graduate credit hours required for this certificate is 15.

Nancy Stutts, Ph.D.
Associate professor and graduate program director
(804) 827-2164

Additional contact
Graduate Student Services and Advising
(804) 828-6837