The University of Iowa

Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership and Philanthropy

Nonprofit organizations play vital roles in our communities and contribute to our quality of life. These organizations have unique management, funding, and finance issues that require specialized training. The Nonprofit Leadership and Philanthropy certificate meets the needs of students who have a desire to prepare for a career in a nonprofit role and/or who may impact the nonprofit sector through volunteering on a board, committee, or project.

The certificate provides students with the knowledge, skills, and mindset to participate effectively in the growing world of nonprofits. Students who enroll in the certificate have a desire to do good in the world. This certificate gives them the tools to do that in any capacity, whether formally or informally.

Core courses cover essentials in nonprofit leadership, fundraising, communication strategies, and nonprofit ethics and governance. The program provides a balance of academic principles and real-world experience, as well as a fundamental understanding of how nonprofit organizations participate in building communities. Electives allow students to explore interests in entrepreneurship, politics, the arts, healthcare, social work, and more.

Courses are offered on campus and online, allowing distance and online students the opportunity to earn the certificate.

Bachelor of Applied Studies and Bachelor of Liberal Studies students may be able to incorporate certificate courses into their degree programs; students should consult with their advisors.

The undergraduate Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership and Philanthropy requires a minimum of 21 s.h. of credit. Students must maintain a GPA of at least 2.00 in work for the certificate. The certificate may be earned by any student admitted to the University of Iowa who is not concurrently enrolled in a graduate or professional degree program.


The following is a list of the required coursework for the 21 s.h. certificate.

Required Courses:

MGMT:3500 Nonprofit Organizational Effectiveness I (3 s.h.) 

JMC:3710 Fundraising Fundamentals (3 s.h.)

MGMT:4600 Nonprofit Ethics and Governance (3 s.h.)

JMC:3700/MGMT:3700 Field Experience (3 s.h.)


One or both of these (if both are taken, one will count as an elective):

JMC:3720 Nonprofit Communication (3 s.h.) 

MGMT:3600 Nonprofit Organizational Effectiveness II (3 s.h.) 


The remainder of the 21 s.h. should be fulfilled by electives selected from this list:

COMM:1819 Organizational Leadership

CW:4745 The Sentence: Strategies for Writing

DPA:3510 Introduction to Arts Management

EALL:4130 Introduction to Grant Writing

ENTR:2000 Entrepreneurship and Innovation

ENTR:3350 Entrepreneurial Strategy

ENTR:3500 Social Entrepreneurship

EVNT:3154 Foundations of Event Management

EVNT:3260 Event Planning Workshop

GHS:4002 Working in Global Health

JMC:3142 Social Media for Social Change

JMC:3530 Social Media Marketing

MUSM:3001 Intro to Museum Studies


The Nonprofit Leadership and Philanthropy Certificate is co-directed by Dr. Jill Smith and Jenifer Vick. The Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership and Philanthropy is collaboratively administered by the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, and the Department of Management and Entrepreneurship. The certificate is awarded by University College.  

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