Following the advent of online education, MBAs have been among the most popular degrees — no surprise. MBA-holders average a $90k salary, and on average enjoy higher employment rates and better positions than their non-MBA counterparts.
Still, not every business-minded individual is determined for a lucrative career in finance, marketing, consulting, or other more traditional business trajectories; and the rise of social entrepreneurship and impact investing has rejuvenated the nonprofit sector, which is occasionally seen as long on mission but short on the necessary business know-how.
To answer this demand, MBA programs are offering nonprofit specializations to fill the gap — but, even then, online tracks for nonprofit work are rare.
Below we’ve gathered 10 of the best MBAs in Nonprofit Management as a guide.
- Affordability (1/3):
- Average indebtedness of program graduates in the last calendar year.
- Percentage of graduates who needed to take on student loan debt.
- Support Services (1/3):
- Online-specific flexibility, accessibility and support measures for online and non-traditional students
- Quality Classes (1/3):
- The average class size
- The percentage of faculty with terminal degrees in their field
The 10 Best Online Non-Profit Management MBA Degree Programs
1. Johnson & Wales University
Founded in 1914, Johnson & Wales University has a total enrollment of about 9,500, most of which is undergraduate. Ranked among the best schools in the region by US News, the school’s 20:1 student-to-faculty ratio fosters a vibrant, collaborative learning community that also leaves room for individualized instruction. Half of classes consist of fewer than 20 students, and none have more than 50. Financial aid is also common: over 70% of undergraduates receive a form of aid, and the average need met is 67%. For maximum flexibility, admissions are rolling.
J&W’s online MBA in Nonprofit Management consists of 54 credits (or 63, if foundational courses are needed) and can be completed in as little 18 months via accelerated 11-week modules, accommodating working professionals and adult learners. The curriculum emphasizes practical, career-oriented learning: in addition to core requirements, students take Theory and Practice of Nonprofit Management and Methodological, Decision-Making, and Analytic Techniques. From there, students have the opportunity to customize their degree through electives like Resource Development for Nonprofits, Social Entrepreneurship, Ethics and Social Change, and Personnel Deployment in Nonprofits. All students complete Business Policy and Strategy as a capstone. Applicants who have earned at least a 2.85 undergraduate GPA aren’t required to send GMAT scores.
- Tuition Per Credit: $462
2. Concordia University – Nebraska
Founded in 1894, Concordia University has a total enrollment of 2,500, split between undergraduate and graduate students. Ranked among the top 50 schools in the Midwest, US News also ranks it among the top 15 schools for value. The university’s 14:1 student-to-faculty ratio guarantees a highly personalized instruction along with a collaborative, vibrant educational community. Over half of classes have fewer than 20 students, and less than 2% have over 50. Concordia also makes an effort to support financial aid opportunities: nearly three-quarters of undergrads receive some form of aid, and the average meed met is 80%.
Concordia’s online MBA in Nonprofit Management consists of 36 credits (12 courses), delivered in accelerated 8-week blocks to accommodate working professionals. In addition to 8 core classes – like Leadership And Organizational Behavior, Corporate Finance, and Strategic Marketing — students take Nonprofit Management, Organizational Resource Management, Public Program Evaluation, and a capstone in Strategic Management. All courses are asynchronous and self-paced, and hybrid delivery is available for those interested in some traditional on-campus course work. The program goals include: developing a nonprofit business plan tied to a defined mission; learning to manage a staff that includes part-time and volunteer workers; and using entrepreneurship to produce innovative solutions for societal problems. The program is accredited by the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education.
- Tuition Per Credit: $697
3. Crown College
Founded in 1916, Crown College, in St. Bonifacius, MN, has a total enrollment of 1,200 and is ranked among the top 50 schools in the Midwest. Crown’s 18:1 student-to-faculty ratio promotes individualized instruction and collaborative, peer-to-peer learning to support a tight-knit educational community. Nearly half of all classes have less than 20 students, and just 4% of classes have more than 50. Crown is especially worth noting for affordability: MONEY Magazine has ranked it in “50 Colleges That Add the Most Value”, and the CCUU ranked in the “Top 10 Most Affordable Christian Colleges in the Midwest” list (tuition is 20-40% cheaper than comparable schools in the region). Of undergrads, 85% receive some form of financial aid, and the average need met is 64%.
Crown College’s online MBA in Nonprofit Management consists of 42 credits, including 27 core and 15 concentration; those include courses like Non-Profit Law, Marketing for Nonprofits, Leadership and Management for Nonprofits, Financial Management for the Nonprofit, and Fundraising and Philanthropy. Following the college’s religious background, all courses emphasize Christian-focused solutions to humanitarian and social issues on a community level. Accommodating working professionals and adult learners, students typically complete the degree in 2.5 years. Crown is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of National Association of College and University Business Officers.
- Tuition Per Credit: $515
4. American Public University
American Public University, founded in 1991, specializes in online education, with an enrollment of 100,000 students and offices in Charles Town, West Virginia, and Manassas, Virginia. The APU is also affiliated with the American Military University and member of the American Public University System. Nearly 60% of students are active duty or military veterans, and 17,000 are enrolled through the GI Bill. In 2012, the university agreed to a corporate partnership with WalMart, which has spent $50 million on tuition grants; employees receive a 15% tuition discount. Despite its size, APU maintains a collaborative, intimate learning community through an 18:1 student-to-faculty ratio.
APU’s online MBA in Nonprofit Management consists of 39 credits, which can be completed in 2 years on a full-time basis. In addition to core business courses, students take Financial Management in Nonprofit Organizations, Nonprofit Organization and Executive Leadership, Nonprofit Fundraising Planning and Implementation, and Nonprofit Law, Governance, and Ethics. For students with previous academic credit, APU’s generous transfer policy of up to 15 credits — earned through previous college courses, military service schools, American Council on Education (ACE) and College Level Examination Program (CLEP) tests, and prior learning experiences — can accelerate degree completion time. The program is designed for maximum flexibility, and monthly start dates allow students to begin course work according to their own schedules. It is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).
- Tuition Per Credit: $350
5. Tiffin University
Located in northern Ohio, Tiffin University was founded in 1888; today its enrollment stands at 4,300. Tiffin’s 11:1 student-to-faculty ratio supports a highly intimate, collaborative educational setting that prioritizes personalized instruction. Over half of classes consist of fewer than 20 students, and less than 1% have over 50. With its emphasis on social impact, three-quarters of Tiffin students participate in community service or volunteer work. Tiffin also provides a wide range of student services, including counseling, tutoring, an academic support center, an e-library for online students, and more. The university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Admissions are rolling.
Tiffin’s online MBA in Nonprofit Management consists of 36 credits, which deliver in accelerated 7-week blocks starting in January, March, May, July, August, and October to accommodate working professionals and adult learners. Courses include business core classes like Financial Accounting, Managerial Economics, and Business Research Analysis, in addition to concentration classes Principles of Non-Profit Management, Governance & Stakeholder Management in Non-Profit Organizations, Financial Management and Fund Development in Non-Profits, and Program Management and Strategic Planning in Non-Profits. Applicants with a 3.0 undergraduate GPA will be accepted; otherwise, applicants should have earned a 2.5 GPA or have 5 years of work experience. Tiffin’s program is accredited by the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) and the European Council for Business Education (ECBE).
- Tuition Per Credit: $700
6. Hope International University
Founded in 1928, Hope International University, in Fullerton, CA, has a total enrollment of 1,300. HIU has greatly increased its online offerings in recent years to meet the rising demand for flexible, affordable education, and today offers a wide variety of undergraduate and graduate programs 100% online, many of which deliver asynchronously to accommodate students’ unique schedules. As a Christian university, all programs integrate religious values and concepts. It has been accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) in 1969 and became a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities in 1993.
Hope’s online MBA in Nonprofit Management consists of 36 credits (42 for those who need foundational prerequisites). Divided into three units — Servant Leadership, Nonprofit Management, and Policy and Decision-Making – concentration classes include Human Resource Management, Fundraising, Contemporary Issues for Non-Profit Management, and Boards, Committees, and Leadership. To prepare students for online learning, HIU allows you to test-drive a course, as well as providing an online info session. Additional resources include career services, tech support, e-library services, financial aid, and a generous transfer policy. For those interested, a related MBA in Business As Mission/ Social Entrepreneurship is also available.
- Tuition Per Credit: $550
7. New England College
Founded in 1946, New England College is a private liberal arts school in Henniker, New Hampshire, with an enrollment of 2,600 (1,000 undergraduate, 1,000 graduate, 600 online). The school’s 19:1 student-to-faculty ratio supports an intimate, highly collaborative educational setting, and 80% of classes consist of less than 20 students. All NEC programs emphasize experiential learning to develop hands-on insights and training. In addition to being ranked among the best schools in the region, New England also earned the President’s 2014 Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll and has been listed on Time‘s “Colleges That Have Diversified the Most.” It is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
NEC offers an online MS in Management with a concentration in Nonprofit Leadership, which can be completed in less than 2 years. Designed for maximum flexibility to accommodate full-time professionals and adult learners, new start dates are available every 7 weeks, and all courses are 100% online, allowing students to work according to their own individual schedules. The curriculum follows a multidisciplinary approach, covering areas like nonprofit governance, fundraising, project management, leadership, volunteer management, and human resources.
- Tuition Per Credit: $680
8. National Louis University
Located in Chicago — with additional campuses in Wisconsin, Florida, and Poland – National Louis University has a total enrollment of 4,400 and is ranked regionally by US News. To meet the rising need for flexible and affordable education, NLU has expanded its online offerings, and over 90% of its 7,600-student enrollment studies on a part-time basis. NLU also emphasizes an individualized, intimate education setting, and over 90% of classes have fewer than 20 students. Notable graduates include John Merikis, CEO of The Sherwin-Williams Company; Lydia Stephens, former Executive Vice President of MSG Network; Richard Davidson, President and CEO of Century 21 Real Estate; and numerous other business executives, politicians, artists, and professional athletes.
National Louis’s online MBA in Nonprofit Management consists of 39 credits, including general business core requirements and classes like Strategic Fundraising and Philanthropy, plus Nonprofit Organization, Governance, and Management. In particular, the hands-on curriculum aims to help students develop mission-driven nonprofit organizations; recognize, assess, and solve major organizational issues; build relationships with stakeholders; and sustain and expand existing nonprofits that contribute to vital communities and human welfare. Designed for working professionals and adult learners, the programs also offer transfer credits for prior experience to accelerate graduation time. For those interested, the program recently began a blended delivery format, combining tailored online learning with cohort-based, in-class course work. It is accredited by the IACBE.
- Tuition Per Credit: $781
9. Concordia University – Chicago
Concordia University – Chicago, founded in 1864, has a total enrollment of 5,200, most of which is graduate. With a 15:1 student-to-faculty ratio, Concordia Chicago places an emphasis on personalized education and peer-to-peer learning. Nearly 80% of classes have fewer than 20 students, and none have more than 49. CUC’s online programs have greatly expanded in recent years, and include students from 37 states and 26 foreign countries. Almost half of CUC graduate students are 100% online. CUC also offers excellent financial aid opportunities: 86% of undergrads received some form of aid, and the average need met is 75%. Concordia Chicago is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Consisting of 36 credits, Concordia Chicago’s online MBA in Not-for-Profit Management builds on the MBA’s four pillars — Ethics and Social Responsibility, Critical Thinking and Entrepreneurial Mindset, Communication and Human Relations, and Global Interconnectedness and Inclusiveness — includes classes like Introduction to NFP Organizations, Financial Management of NFP Organizations, Fund Development & Management, and Board Governance & Management of Volunteers. Courses deliver in accelerated 8-week blocks, or students may choose to progress on an asynchronous, self-paced basis. For those interested, Concordia also offers a Not-for-Profit Management certificate and the option to pursue a dual specialization in Accounting, Digital Marketing, Finance, Health Care Management, Leadership and Change Management, or Sports Management. CUC’s College of Business is a member of the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).
- Tuition Per Credit: $699
10. Chaminade University of Honolulu
Founded in 1955, Chaminade University of Honolulu is a private Catholic liberal arts school with a total enrollment of 1,900. Ranked among the top schools in the West region, US News has also highlighted it as a top-30 option for veterans. Chaminade’s 10:1 student-to-faculty ratio promotes an intimate, tight-knit learning community that allows for individualized instruction and collaborative education. Nearly 60% of classes consist of fewer than 20 students, and less than .5% have 50 or more. Financial aid is also available: 71% of undergrads receive some form of aid, and the average need met is 70%. With its Christian background, Chaminade “encourages the development of moral character, personal competencies, and a commitment to build a just and peaceful society.”
Chaminade’s online MBA in Not-for-Profit Management consists of 36 credits: in addition to general business core requirements, classes include Social Enterprise Management, Government Relations, Not-for-Profit Organizations, and Strategic Issues in Philanthropy. (Several elective options are embedded, as well.) All courses are highly flexible, and accelerated 10-week delivery blocks mean full-time students can complete their degree in as little as 18-21 months. In general, Chaminade looks for applicants that have earned a 3.0 undergraduate GPA and at least 3 years of professional experience; admissions are rolling, and there are four start dates each year. The program is accredited by the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education.
- Tuition Per Credit: $820