Nonprofit Administration Graduate Credit Certificate Program

Person-in-ChargeTriparna Vasavada
Program CodeCLNPFT

The certificate program in Nonprofit Administration is offered by the Master of Public Administration program at Penn State Harrisburg, which is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration.

This certificate is delivered in person via Penn State Harrisburg.

Purpose/Who Should Apply/What You Will Learn
The purpose of the certificate is to provide comprehensive knowledge of the dynamics of conceptualizing, managing, and leading the nonprofit sector. You will gain knowledge in the following areas:  
•    Functions and uniqueness of nonprofit organizations
•    Fundraising in nonprofit organizations
•    Financial management of government and nonprofit organizations
•    Effective leadership practices, board development, and management strategies in nonprofit organizations

The certificate is designed for individuals interested in future careers in the nonprofit sector or working in and with the nonprofit sector in various roles such as directors, CEOs, staff, board members, philanthropists, and volunteers.

The certificate program in Nonprofit Administration requires taking four courses (12 credits) — three required and one elective course.

Courses taken in this certificate program may be applied toward the completion of the MPA program.

Effective Semester: Summer 2022
Expiration Semester: Summer 2026

Admission Requirements

Applicants apply for admission to the program via the Graduate School application for admission. Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-300 Admissions Policies. International applicants may be required to satisfy an English proficiency requirement; see GCAC-305 Admission Requirements for International Students for more information.

  1. Applicants must have a GPA of 3.0 in the last two years of undergraduate work.
  2. Applicants must have at least two years of managerial or administrative experience in the nonprofit sector.

If a student who is already enrolled in a graduate degree program wishes to enroll in this graduate credit certificate program as well, he/she must do so by completing the online certificate application and paying the nonrefundable application fee.

Students who are already enrolled in the Public Administration degree program at Penn State Harrisburg must complete a “Notice of Intent” form as well in order to enroll in the certificate program. These students can choose elective courses for their M.P.A. degree program in accordance with the requirements of the certificate program in order to earn the certificate in Nonprofit Administration. Courses taken in the certificate program may be applied toward a graduate degree in Public Administration, subject to restrictions outlined in GCAC-309 Transfer Credit.

Certificate Requirements

Requirements listed here are in addition to requirements listed in Graduate Council policy GCAC-212 Postbaccalaureate Credit Certificate Programs.

The certificate program consists of four graduate courses (12 credits). All courses must be at the 500 level. Students are required to take three required courses and one elective course of their choice. All courses must be taken for a letter grade with at least a 3.0 average maintained; no grades below a C will be counted toward the certificate.

Required Courses
PADM 517Nonprofit Organizations: History and Evolution3
PADM 518Nonprofit Organizations: Management and Leadership3
PADM 519Nonprofit Organizations: Resource Development and Management3
Students are required to take one elective 3-credit course. Students are free to choose any 3-credit course at the 500 level that is relevant to their interest. Following is the suggested list of courses from which students can choose.3
Organization Behavior
PADM 514
Strategic Planning
Government Financial Management
Governmental and Nonprofit Accounting
Policy and Program Evaluation
Total Credits12


Graduate courses carry numbers from 500 to 699 and 800 to 899. Advanced undergraduate courses numbered between 400 and 499 may be used to meet some graduate degree requirements when taken by graduate students. Courses below the 400 level may not. A graduate student may register for or audit these courses in order to make up deficiencies or to fill in gaps in previous education but not to meet requirements for an advanced degree.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Explain the key issues in administration (leadership challenges strategic planning fundraising, volunteer management, evaluation and accountability, fundraising, government contracting) and its importance for nonprofit organizations.
  2. Describe the unique role that nonprofit organization play in the society as independent organizations and collaborators in various capacity.
  3. Identify and describe the unique challenges that nonprofit organization face in managing the external environment as well as internal organizational issues.
  4. Apply knowledge and skills learned about leadership, management and fundraising to address the critical issues of resource development and management of organizations.


Campus Harrisburg
Graduate Program Head Triparna B Vasavada
Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) or Professor-in-Charge (PIC) Younhee Kim
Program Contact

Autumn D Wise
W159 Olmsted Bldg
777 W. Harrisburg Pike
Middletown PA 17057
(717) 948-6773

Program Website View