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Nonprofit Leadership Graduate Certificate

The graduate certificate in nonprofit leadership provides students with a unique opportunity to pursue a theoretically based and practically oriented education in leadership for nonprofit professionals. This program offers current and prospective nonprofit managers the ability to learn up-to-date professional skills and perspectives required to lead their organizations in the rapidly changing and complex nonprofit sector of society.

This program is available online or in a hybrid format.

Visit the program website for more information.

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Program Overview

The graduate certificate is specifically designed for the experienced nonprofit manager who has an advanced degree or an undergraduate degree and several years of professional experience. However, students who are just beginning their careers may also find value in expanding their skills with this certificate and are encouraged to apply.

Why Study Nonprofit Leadership at Grand Valley?

  • GVSU's nonprofit program is accredited by the Nonprofit Academic Centers Council and is regularly ranked in the top ten nationwide for graduate programs in nonprofit management.
  • Students have access to the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy, focused on financial, technical, and administrative support for nonprofits and the philanthropic sector.
  • Grand Valley library's endowed Johnson Collection for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership, which is one of the country's best collections on the nonprofit sector.
  • Ideal for the busy professional, this certificate can be completed online.

Career Insights

This tool shows an overview of potential career opportunities for this major. Actual salaries, employment opportunities, and job titles may change over time.

Location & Format

All classes for this program can be completed online.



The certificate requires the completion of 15 credit hours of graduate study:

  • PNH 661 - Nonprofit Management Practice
  • PNH 662 - Nonprofit Financial Management
  • PNH 663 - Nonprofit Organizations, Advocacy, and Public Policy
  • PNH 665 - Nonprofit Boards, Trustees, and Governance
  • Three credits of professional workshops or PNH 667 - Fund Development

Application Deadline

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, but the fully completed application must be submitted a minimum of 30 days prior to the intended semester of enrollment. The $30 nonrefundable application fee is waived if the applicant has previously applied to GVSU.

Admission Requirements

Applicants for the graduate certificate program in nonprofit leadership must:

  1. Apply to the School of Community Leadership and Development
  2. Hold an advanced degree or a bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0 in the last two years of undergraduate work
  3. Have at least three years of professional experience in nonprofit organizations
  4. Submit an official transcript from your baccalaureate degree granting institution and an application essay

For More Information

School of Community Leadership and Development
288C DeVos Center
(616) 331-6575

Graduate Admissions and Recruitment Office

Program Director

Michelle Wooddell, Ph.D.
(616) 331-6495


“Every time I go to class, I come back to work the next day with five more things that I want to incorporate into my job.”



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