shortcut to content
Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato


Page address:

 How does the NPL Program work?

Minnesota State University, Mankato's Nonprofit Leadership (NPL) Program draws from the fields of sociology; urban studies; recreation, parks and leisure, and social work to provide an interdisciplinary program that will change the way you look at the community and enhance your professional opportunities in the nonprofit sector. You can earn a stand-alone Nonprofit Leadership Certificate (total of 18 credits), and add the NPL minor to your portfolio with one additional course (total of 21 credits). With good planning, the program can be completed online, though students able to attend classes in Mankato have expanded course offerings.


Hear about NPL from some of our students:

“I was originally drawn to the minor as a way to create an additional career path for myself. As a Music Major, a lot of people will tell you that your career prospects are not high and I was not going to settle for a job where I am not involved in Music because ultimately that is what I love to do. Within the scope of working within the nonprofit word, I hope to expand what I am doing and my internship at Mankato Symphony Orchestra and work my way up to the Minnesota Orchestra, and eventually to other organizations involving bringing music to the community.”

Alice Jae Mi Kim, NPL minor
Current student


“I am pursing a minor in Nonprofit Leadership and a degree in Urban Studies. As a junior, I have an internship with the American Red Cross and spent the month-long winter break volunteering in relief efforts in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. My dream is to be part of an international NGO when I graduate. I want to be able to help people that live in the same kind of environment I grew up in as a refugee.”

Ameen Hassan, NPL minor
Current student



What about my major?

Nonprofit organizations hire graduates from every major. Some desirable majors include:



Can I find a job?

Due to the diversity of the sector, nonprofits are among the fastest growing sectors in the country. In Minnesota, over 14% of employment is attributed to the nonprofit sector. And yes, you can earn a competitive salary with benefits in a nonprofit!



What courses are required?

Listed below are the options for the NPL Undergraduate Certificate as of 2017-18 (total of 18 credits). To obtain a minor in Nonprofit Leadership, simply take one additional course from the undergraduate selection of courses (total of 21 credits).



NPL 273 Introduction to the Nonprofit Sector (3 credits)
NPL 473 Advanced Workshop in Nonprofit Leadership (3)



Program Planning and Evaluation Category. Choose 3 credits.
GWS 330 Feminist Research and Action (4)
RPLS 376 Program Planning in Recreation, Parks, and Leisure Services (3)
SOC 466 Program Planning (3)
SOWK 435 Applied Social Work Research (4)
URBS 413 Urban Program Evaluation (3)


Financial Management and Development Category. Choose 3 Credits.
NPL 486 Fundraising for Nonprofits (3)
NPL 488 Financial Management for Nonprofits (3)
RPLS 465 Events Management (3)
URBS 453 Grants Administration (3)


Program Administration Category. Choose 3 credits.
RPLS 473 Recreation Management II-Fiscal Resources (3)
RPLS 483 Legal Processes in Recreation, Parks, and Leisure (3)
SOC 417 Program Administration (3)
URBS 230 Community Leadership (3)
URBS 230W Community Leadership (3)


Internship.The student is required to complete a three-credit internship with a qualifying nonprofit organization. The internship will be administered through one of the five participating departments.


GWS 498 Internship: Community (1-6)
RPLS 497 Internship (1-8)
SOC 497 Internship: Sociology (1-12)
SOWK 497 Internship: Social Work (1-10)
URBS 497 Internship (1-12)



How do I complete this program online?

NPL core courses are offered online during both the fall and spring semesters. Other NPL-designated courses are also offered online an average of once per calendar year. Some courses within each category are offered online with varying frequency. Students who are able to attend classes in person will have expanded course offerings. Contact the NPL Program Director to plan how you can complete the program online within your desired timeframe.


What value does the NPL Certificate have?

The skills you learn in the program are the competencies required by the nonprofit sector. Given a choice between a job candidate with bachelor's degree with or without NPL training and the hands-on experience of a supervised internship, it is likely that the potential employee who had completed the nonprofit leadership program would have an advantage. This program can be the edge that gives you that desired entry-level job or gives you the opportunity to ladder up within an organization in which you already work.


How does the NPL Certificate work with my major?

If you are a Sociology, Corrections, Urban Studies, Social Work, or Recreation, Parks and Leisure Services major, courses you take for the NPL Certificate can be double counted to apply to your major as well.


Contact the NPL Program Director to plan your program so you are able to complete the Certificate and graduate on time.


What career opportunities are available in nonprofits?

Go to Nonprofit Careers on the NPL home page for job listings in the nonprofit sector.
Gainful Employment Program Information


Do I have to be admitted to MSU to take the courses?

You may take up to 12 credits online without being formally admitted to MSU. If you are not already admitted and you are taking your first undergraduate online course, go to University Extended Education and click on “Contact Us” at the lower left to ask for permission to register.
To take additional credits and to complete the entire 18-credit certificate, you will need be admitted to the university. Go to for the admissions process.


Is financial aid available for the NPL Certificate?

For undergraduate students, financial aid is handled in the same way as it would be for any other MSU course. For those who’ve already completed a degree (depending on the individual circumstances), financial aid is also available to complete the Certificate. Contact the financial aid office. Designate that you are completing an NPL Certificate, which is considered a second degree. For further information, contact the NPL Program Director.