Nonprofit Management Certificate

The Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management at George Mason University's Schar School of Policy and Government is primarily designed for those currently employed in the nonprofit sector or who are considering a career in this sector.

Program At-a-Glance

  • Completion Requirements: 5 courses (15 credits) listed below
  • Duration: 1.5 years on average
  • Semester of Entry: fall and spring

Certificate Program Requirements

Required Courses (3 courses | 9 credits)

Students are required to take the following three courses:

PUAD 505 – Introduction to Management of Nonprofits
Examines nonprofit organizations and their role in contemporary society. Explores unique aspects of nonprofits including voluntary governance, tax-exempt status, nonprofit corporation law, accounting practices, fund raising, finance, and management of volunteers. Emphasizes board/executive relationship, and value of establishing and maintaining nonprofit organization's reputation.

PUAD 659 – Nonprofit Law, Governance, and Ethics
Overview of nonprofit governance as well as basic contract, labor, and tax law issues within nonprofit corporation law. Covers relationship between board and executive, and ethics topics typical to nonprofit organizations such as self-dealing, fiduciary responsibility, and human resource issues.

PUAD 664 – Nonprofit Financial Management
Covers nonprofit financial management with attention to conflicts between social mission and financial entrepreneurship. Topics include mission, budgeting, fund raising, commercial programs, investments, accounting and information systems, financial reporting, auditing, and internal control.

Elective Courses (2 courses | 6 credits)

Select two elective courses of your choosing. Courses vary semester to semester, but past elective courses available to students have included:

Apply This Certificate Towards Your Master's

Earn your master's degree faster by starting with a certificate program. Students can apply up to 12 credits from a certificate program toward a Schar School master's degree upon acceptance into a master's program. Upon completion of this certificate, many students go on to pursue the Schar School's Master's in Public Administration and Master's in Public Policy degree programs, among others.


Have questions about this certificate program? Contact the Admissions Office.