Nonprofit Studies Minor

The Institute for Nonprofits administers the Nonprofit Studies Minor, helping students to make a real difference in the community and world. The NPS Minor is an academically rigorous program of study that involves students in community organizations for hands-on learning.  Courses build knowledge and skills for effective nonprofit leadership.

Students: In order to be considered a Nonprofit Studies Minor student, you must first make an appointment with the Nonprofit Studies Minor advisor to complete the Declare a Minor form and attain the necessary signatures. To make an appointment, email

Nonprofit Leadership Challenges

Five leadership challenges are discussed throughout each of the core courses for the Nonprofit Studies Minor. These challenges reinforce common themes found in nonprofit careers and leadership:

  • Aligning mission, methods, and resources
  • Earning the public trust
  • Balancing individual interest versus the common good
  • Capitalizing on opportunities associated with diversity
  • Moving beyond charity to systemic change

Nonprofit Studies Minor: Required Courses

This minimum 16-credit hour minor includes courses from multiple academic departments and interdisciplinary programs.

Required core courses:

PS 203:  Introduction to Nonprofits
Offered: Fall, Spring and Summer
Development of nonprofit organizations and the contributions of nonprofits in the U.S., other countries, and the international community; political, social, and economic roles of nonprofits; nonprofit governance; partnerships with government and other nonprofits; types of organizations in the nonprofit sector; contemporary policy issues. Service-learning course.

HI 380:  History of Nonprofits, Philanthropy, and Social Change
Offered: Spring 2014 and Spring 2015
Historical development of nonprofits and philanthropy in the United States from the colonial period to the present–including origins of charity and philanthropy as concepts for social change and social justice, rise of benevolent societies, creation of philanthropic foundations and advocacy organizations, and relationships between modern nonprofits, the state, and the private sector.  Service-learning course.

COM 466:  Nonprofit Leadership & Development
Offered: Fall, Spring and Summer
Nonprofit Leadership and Development is a service-learning course in which students make a 30-hour commitment to service in a local nonprofit organization. Students critically examine theories of communication and leadership with concentration on issues pertaining to nonprofits such as working with executive boards, volunteer management, and resource development. Service-learning course.

One three hour approved elective
The three credit hour elective course can be drawn from multiple academic departments. View the list of approved elective courses for the Nonprofit Studies Minor here.

Required courses (students take courses below once core courses above are completed):

NPS 490:  Internship in Nonprofit Studies [or approved departmental internship class]
Offered: Fall, Spring, and Summer; online format
The 150-hour internship provides students with the opportunity to apply the knowledge, skills, and abilities gained through their coursework in the minor in Nonprofit Studies to a nonprofit organizational work setting.  Students discuss and reflect upon the service-learning themes of the minor in Nonprofit Studies as they relate to their ongoing internship experiences. Departmental approval required. Service-learning course. See a list of some available nonprofit internships submitted by organizations throughout the year.

NPS 498:  Capstone Seminar in Nonprofit Studies
Offered: Fall and Spring; hybrid format – mix of classroom and online format
This capstone seminar integrates the knowledge, skills, and abilities gained through coursework in the minor in Nonprofit Studies through class discussions and reflective writings where students draw upon previous service-learning experiences to reflect on challenges facing nonprofit leaders. Case studies and articles that focus on the themes of the minor are used to stimulate class discussions.

*Only one course may be double-counted for both the student’s major and the minor in Nonprofit Studies.

Learn More About the Nonprofit Studies Minor

Become a Fan of the Nonprofit Studies Minor on Facebook