EducationDynamics maintains business relationships with the schools it features

Earning Your PhD in Nonprofit Management Online

Earning your PhD in nonprofit management online may be a great next step for your career development If you’ve spent a good deal of time in nonprofit administration.

Managing the employees who make up the nonprofit sector is vital to the continuation and growth of public service groups in America. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nonprofit employees make up 11.7% of all private sector workers in Americai. So if the opportunity to take on a nonprofit leadership role is a goal you want to achieve, you need to learn the essentials of earning your PhD in nonprofit management online.

Did You Know?

$905.9 billion: The amount of money the nonprofit sector contributed to the U.S. economy in 2013. That's 5.4% of the country's total GDP!ii

Essentials of PhD in Nonprofit Management Online Programs

In order to pursue a doctorate in nonprofit management, you’ll likely first need to have earned a masters of nonprofit management or masters in a similar, qualifying subject (such as business administration and management or human resources management). Each doctorate program will have different requirements for entry, so it’s important to fully explore those requirements and stay organized when making your choice.

It typically takes more than two years to earn a phd in nonprofit management and programs range in length and requirement of credits. Some PhD in nonprofit management online programs also require a short PhD residency. So while you can complete coursework and dissertation work online and off-campus, you may still have to spend time attending a residency on campus.

PhD in nonprofit management and leadership programs also typically include a dissertation portion. Students formulate a topic for their dissertation and build the theoretical framework of the argument. Naturally, the dissertation topic will have to do with public policy, nonprofit administration, and/or leadership in nonprofit work. Students don’t always develop, write, and receive approval for their dissertations in a set timeframe. So earning your PhD in nonprofit management online may take you longer or shorter than other students in the same program.

Did You Know?

From 2012 to 2013, the amount of public charities increased 2.3%.ii

Curriculum for PhD in Nonprofit Management Online Programs

A doctorate is the highest degree level you can earn in the nonprofit management subject. Because of this, it’s likely that the school expects you have a basis in nonprofit management coursework. But there are some areas of study that are typical to graduate and doctorate level nonprofit management degree curriculum:

Social Justice and Ethics: Ethics are important in nonprofit management, but also in leadership across disciplines. These types of courses focus on the complexities of political, social, ethical challenges that arise in managing a nonprofit organization.

Public Sector Budgeting: Nonprofit organizations are often dealing with funds donated from philanthropic sources. So the management of finances is unique and crucially important to adhering to nonprofit and governmental tax regulations and codes. Students are also taught financial management, fiscal policies, auditing practices, budget reform, finance technology, and more.

Mission Strategy Planning and Coordination: Because nonprofits most typically strive toward a socially philanthropic goal, fulfilling the organization’s mission is key. Students learn to develop strategies and roles that help to achieve that mission.

Fun Fact

$179.2 billion: The value of time spent by volunteers in 2014. Combine that with the total amount of private donations, and you reach half a trillion dollars ($537.6 billion)—how generous!ii

Getting Your PhD in Nonprofit Management Started

Every PhD in nonprofit management program will have varying requirements, but the most common one is that you have already earned your master’s degree in nonprofit management or a closely related subject. Earning a doctorate degree takes a lot of time and hard work, so be sure to look into each program individually that interests you. No matter what you decide about a doctorate in nonprofit leadership, make the choice that’s right for your education and career goals. So start browsing your phd in nonprofit management options today and get your higher education on track for tomorrow!


[i] bls.gov/opub/mlr/2016/article/nonprofit-pay-and-benefits.htm | [ii] urban.org/research/publication/nonprofit-sector-brief-2015-public-charities-giving-and-volunteering