Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership

Grand Valley State University is now accepting applications for a Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership. This 15-credit, graduate-level program consists of four courses and three workshops. Students may complete the program in-person on the GVSU campus. 

The Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership provides a unique opportunity to pursue a theoretically based and practically oriented education in leadership for nonprofit professionals. This program offers nonprofit managers the up-to-date professional skills and perspectives required to lead their organizations in the rapidly changing and complex nonprofit sector of society.

The Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership is taught by the faculty of the School of Public, Nonprofit and Health Administration with the support of the Dorothy A Johnson Center for Philanthropy.

Program Content


Content includes engaging volunteers, advancing public agendas, managing organizational change, building agency capacity, fund development, nurturing new leadership, evaluating program outcomes, mastering information technology, improving board governance, and maintaining professional networks.

Student Learning Outcomes

Program Audience

The Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership is specifically designed for the experienced nonprofit manager who has an advanced degree or an undergraduate degree and several years of professional experience. It is intended for those holding or seeking executive positions that wish to further their education without pursuing the full requirements for a graduate degree. However, courses and workshops taken in the certificate program may be applied toward the Master of Public Administration degree or the Master of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership degree.

People who should benefit from the Certificate program include nonprofit agency managers and staff, community and labor organizers, foundation directors and staff, civic leaders, healthcare managers, event planners, clergy and ministry directors, grant managers, nonprofit board members and social workers.

Application Requirements

Applicants for the Certificate Program in Nonprofit Leadership must:

  1. Apply at or call (616) 331-6575 for an application packet.
  2. Hold an advanced degree or a bachelor's degree with a minimum of 3.0 in the last two years of undergraduate work.
  3. Have some professional experience in nonprofit organizations.
  4. Submit official transcripts, an application essay and three letters of recommendation.

Program Requirements


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

  • PNH 661 Nonprofit Management Practice (3 credits)
  • PNH 662 Nonprofit Resource and Financial Management (3 credits)
  • PNH 663 Nonprofit Organization and Public Policy (3 credits)
  • PNH 665 Nonprofit Boards, Trustees, and Governance (3 credits)
  • PNH 667 Fund Development (3 credits) or 3 credits from PNH 550, 551, 552, 553, or 554 workshops

Page last modified February 26, 2024