Public & Nonprofit Administration Major

Our program provides professional orientation and career specialization along with a sound liberal arts foundation. It provides students with the skills and knowledge necessary for success in public and nonprofit organizations. The curriculum emphasizes general public administration knowledge but also allows students to concentrate in selected specialties.

Why Study Public and Nonprofit Administration at Grand Valley?

  • All our students participate in service learning courses and internships, through which they actively interact within the community, apply new skills, and build professional networks.
  • Many of our students participate in study abroad programs and spring break service learning trips.
  • We offer small classes sizes. In 2016-17, the median upper level undergraduate PA class size was 24.5 students.
  • Over 90% of our recent graduates are successfully placed (employed, attending graduate school, or both).
  • Our classes are offered in both day and evenings and on both the Allendale and Pew campuses.
  • The Steelcase Library’s Johnson Collection on Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership is one of the most comprehensive collections in the country on the subjects of philanthropy, volunteerism, and nonprofit management. 
Student helping out at a community garden

Students Leaving a Mark (SLAM) students volunteering at 34th Street Garden.

Employment Outlook and Career Advice

Connect Early, Connect Often

Make regular appointments with your faculty mentor and with a Career Center advisor to discuss your post-graduation plans.  

Keep in mind that your internship experience is a prime opportunity to build your professional network and gain marketable skills.

Program Transparency

Graduation rates

  • 78% of students graduate within 6 years of declaring a public & nonprofit administration major.
  • 4.3 years is the average time to graduation for public & nonprofit administration majors who started as first-year students at GVSU.
  • 2.9 years is the average time to graduation for public & nonprofit administration majors who transferred to GVSU.

Class sizes

  • 30 is the average class size for "Introduction to Public & Nonprofit Administration" (PNH 270).
  • 24.5 is the average class size for upper division PA courses.


  • 93% of recent graduates are successfully placed (employed, attending graduate school, or both).
  • 5% of recent graduates are in graduate school.
  • 68% of recent graduates report that being a college graduate contributed to obtaining their position.

Student Learning Outcomes

Student Body Profile

PNA majors at time of graduation, August 2012 to April 2017

  • Total graduates: 338
  • Age under 24: 82% 
  • Age 25-29: 10%
  • Age 30-39: 5%
  • Age 40+: 2%
  • Female: 72%
  • Male: 28%
  • White: 71%
  • African-American/Black: 18%
  • Hispanic: 4%
  • Asian: 4%
  • Mixed-race: 1%
  • Foreign citizen: 0.6%
  • Transfer students: 33%

Alumni Highlights

Chris Gale

Chris Gale is the Executive Director of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia.

Darius D. Jordan

Darius D. Jordan is Digital Product Owner at Our Daily Bread and Community Connector at Inner City Christian Federation.

Lamar Brown

Lamar Brown is obtained his JD from The John Marshall Law School and is Strategist, Public Policy for Lyft, INC.

Mindy Manser (BS '15)

Mindy Manser is Special Education Data Coordinator at National Heritage Academies.

Vester Davis, Jr.

Vester Davis, Jr. is City Manager for the City of Springfield, MI.

Garrett Hoogendoorn

Garrett Hoogendoorn is Senior Engagement Officer at Albion College.

Page last modified December 6, 2023