Master of Nonprofit Administration


Read more about this program on the institution's website

Program Description

Develop skills to drive social impact.

Earn a 12-month, specialized Master of Nonprofit Administration degree in the dynamic setting of downtown San Francisco.

The University of San Francisco Nonprofit Administration degree program draws from key partnerships with non-governmental organizations (NGOs), nonprofits, foundations, and entrepreneurs involved in international development and global engagement. 

Students deepen their socially committed scholarship through a customized curriculum that may include academic global immersions, international internships, and global capstone projects.

The curriculum combines practical, hands-on, and real-world organizational projects with innovative methods, approaches, and tools in social, environmental, and economic impact assessment.

The USF Difference

  • Flexible programs with weekday evening classes for busy working professionals
  • Project-based and experiential learning within San Francisco’s vibrant nonprofit community
  • Small, seminar-style classes in cohorts to foster diverse, critical, and intercultural conversations
  • Classes begin every fall semester (end of August) in San Francisco

Two Degree Formats for MNA

Full-time MNA

  • The full-time program takes one year to complete.
  • Courses occur weekday evenings, typically Monday-Wednesday 6–9 p.m. and one morning class at USF's downtown San Francisco campus location.
  • The GRE/GMAT and work experience are not required for the full-time program.

Part-time MNA

  • The program takes 24 months to complete part-time.
  • Weekday evenings, typically two days a week (M/W or T/W) 6-9 p.m. at USF's downtown San Francisco campus location.
  • The GRE/GMAT is not required. Two years of work experience preferred for the part-time program.

"I was a young executive of a private foundation looking to deepen my understanding of the sector. I met some amazing people and engaged in real time learning that I applied at work the very next day. I am now an advisor, teacher, and author focused on effective philanthropy and governance and work with some of the most significant philanthropies in the country helping them scale their impact."

Alexa Cortes Culwell '95 | Co-Founder and Managing Director of Open Impact

The Master of Nonprofit Administration (MNA) at the University of San Francisco’s School of Management prepares nonprofit professionals for leadership and managerial positions in the nonprofit and social sectors. In line with the University’s motto to change the world from here and the Jesuit value of educating women and men for others, the MNA is an educational opportunity to make your aspirations to do good a rewarding career. The program promotes competent nonprofit leaders and effective managers for innovative, strategic, and systemic solutions to make the world a better place. Its carefully designed curriculum and embedded experiential learning enhance managerial competencies and leadership capacity in the area of:

  • Nonprofit social innovation through effective fundraising strategies and social enterprise solutions for achieving financial sustainability
  • International, cross-cultural, and diverse perspectives for effective operations of social solutions through NGOs and global enterprises
  • Social impact measurement and analysis of organizational effectiveness and program’s outcomes benefit our communities and the common good

Many MNA alumni are nonprofit leaders with executive positions at nonprofit corporations and other social economy organizations, including foundations, social enterprises, voluntary associations, faith-based organizations, community-based organizations, and international nongovernmental organizations. In addition to studying in San Francisco’s dynamic nonprofit environment, graduate students benefit from the program’s project-based learning, experienced faculty, global immersions, and richly diverse cohorts. The classroom discussions, projects, and exercises are enhanced by video conference technology that gives students a diverse modality of participation through a blended system of teaching and learning.

The part-time MNA program is designed for professionals currently working in, or transitioning their careers into, the nonprofit sector. The full-time MNA program is designed for international or young professionals who want to start a managerial or leadership career in the nonprofit sector. Students generally have at least 2-3 years of nonprofit experience as volunteers, entrepreneurs, or employees. 

The MNA courses investigate the political, economic, legal, and social environments of nonprofit organizations. MNA students gain knowledge of organizational behavior and management theory and develop skills in specific areas such as ethical leadership, board governance, strategic planning, fundraising and marketing, human resources and financial management, program evaluation and impact analysis, nonprofit legal issues, nonprofit advocacy, and international NGOs. They specialize in social sector areas of their interest through a capstone project and certifications in sustainable development, social entrepreneurship, and humanitarian emergency among others.

Students in the FT-MNA take four courses in the Fall, three in the Spring, and two in the summer. Students in the part-time MNA generally take 2 courses per semester plus an Academic Global Immersion or other courses during the Intersession or Summer Sessions.


The MNA program focuses on three main goals:

  • Develop nonprofit leaders who are socially conscious, community-engaged, and globally-minded
  • Develop nonprofit managers who are competent, strategic, effective, and system thinkers
  • Develop nonprofit administrators who discern ethical decisions for the common good

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the program, students will be able to:

  • Develop nonprofit sector knowledge: Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the past, present, and future trends of the nonprofit sector across organizations, policies, and sectors in the U.S. and internationally
  • Develop social sector values: Demonstrate strategic, appreciative, and critical thinking to articulate and discern social sector values for the promotion of just, inclusive, prosperous, responsible, and sustainable communities
  • Apply nonprofit management competencies: Apply principles and approaches of nonprofit management to problem-solve using strategic planning, board governance, resource development, financial administration, human resource management, legal compliance, nonprofit marketing, program evaluation, policy, and advocacy
  • Apply systemic solutions: Apply nonprofit management skills and leadership competencies for the promotion of cross-sector collaborations, social value creation, and systemic solutions
  • Integrate nonprofit ethical leadership: Demonstrate ethical leadership capacity and ethical reasoning for nonprofit leadership, global responsibility, social accountability, and ethical decision-making
  • Integrate social impact analysis: Demonstrate evaluative capacity benefiting organizational development, organizational learning, organizational effectiveness, and organizational sustainability for social impact and social innovation

Major Requirements (36 units)

  • The MNA degree requires 36 units (10 courses; 8 required and 2 electives)
  • Completion of all degree coursework with a minimum cumulative 3.0 GPA
  • Completion of a practicum and capstone project


Students complete 8 core courses in 12 months for the FT-MNA or 21 months for the PT-MNA.

  • NPA 601 - Nonprofit Ethical Leadership
  • NPA 602 - Nonprofit Strategic Governance
  • NPA 610 - Nonprofit Funding & Philanthropy
  • NPA 611 - Nonprofit Finance & Accountability
  • NPA 612 - Nonprofit Marketing & Communication
  • NPA 621 - Social Impact Analysis Prct
  • NPA 622 - Nonprofit Data Analysis - Cpt
  • NPA 651 - Nonprofit Management


Students select two elective courses for 2 units in career interest and/or in conjunction with a Nonprofit Certificate Program.

  • NPA 661 - Sustain Reporting Capacity
  • NPA 662 - Social Enterprise Solutions
  • NPA 663 - Refugee Service Management
  • NPA 699 - MNA Special Topic


Alumni have a long tradition of leadership in the nonprofit sector in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond.

 From Benioff Children’s Hospital to the Gates Foundation, Habitat for Humanity to the YMCA, nonprofit administration alumni continue to lead change in large and growing organizations around the world.

Featured Companies

Here are just a few places our alumni are leading change.

  • The American Heart Association
  • American Red Cross
  • Benioff Children’s Hospital
  • St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
  • Gates Foundation
  • Sierra Club
  • Kiva
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • WWF
  • US Fund for UNICEF
  • Goodwill
  • YMCA
Top Industries

Industries where MNA alumni are employed

  • Nonprofit
  • Technology
  • Education
  • Government
  • Education
  • Environment
  • Financial Services
  • Media/Entertainment

Graduate Admission

Our office processes your application and prepares it for review by your program's admission committee. In addition, we can provide you contacts to important services at the university as you prepare to begin your graduate studies at USF. Please contact us if you'd like to speak with someone on the team or to schedule an appointment.

Please be advised that classes in SOM graduate programs begin on August 18. Select SOM programs are still accepting applications. If you would like to proceed with your application for Fall 2021, the application review will be expedited as well as your registration and tuition obligations. Email with any questions.

How to Apply

The application process is entirely online. No items need to be mailed to USF. Upload all of your application items to your account.

Test Score Requirements
  • If you submit test scores, you must upload a copy of your score and request that an official score report be sent to USF.
  • If your program does not require a test score, you may still submit the score report if you choose to do so.
Application Requirements
  • Transcript(s)
    The minimum graduate admission requirement includes a bachelor’s degree or recognized equivalent from an accredited institution prior to enrollment. Copies of your transcripts from each accredited college or university attended must be uploaded to the online application. Once admitted to the program, instructions for sending official, sealed transcripts will be provided.
  • Résumé
    Your current résumé or CV can list and describe your educational history, work or job history, coursework related to the graduate program to which you are applying, and any experiences relevant to your pursuit of graduate studies - including internships, published articles, or other published materials, volunteer and/or community service experience, study or work outside of your home country, and any other interests or activities related to your graduate program.
  • Letters of Recommendation
    Two letters of recommendation are required. Applicants to all programs should submit at least one letter from a professional contact, if possible. Ideally, one or both of your professional recommendations will come from a current or former direct supervisor. Academic recommendations are also appreciated for current undergraduates.
  • Statement of Purpose or Essay
    A 1000 word essay is required and must be uploaded in the online application Please address the following questions in a single document:
    • What are your short and long-term professional goals and how will this degree help you achieve those goals?
    • Why have you chosen this degree and who or what experience influenced you to apply?
    • Why USF?
  • Interview
    Interview requirements vary by program. All interviews are by invitation only. Should you be selected to interview, an invitation will be sent to the email account associated with your online application and include all necessary details.
  • Self-Evaluation (Optional)
    Use this essay to evaluate your leadership and management skills, capabilities, and talents as they stand today. What would your colleagues/classmates say about you as a leader? What areas do you feel you could further develop?
  • Scholarship Statement (Optional)
    The USF School of Management offers general merit and special interest scholarships. Review available scholarships and use this essay to explain your eligibility and/or qualifications for one or more of these scholarships.
  • Additional Information (Optional)
    Use this essay to share additional information you would like to be considered as part of your application (i.e. gaps in employment, academic issues, etc.)
Program Specific Requirements

Application requirements vary slightly by program. Please be sure to read through the program requirements carefully.

Additional Requirements for International Applicants
  • Passport
    Applicants who require an F-1 student visa must submit a copy of their valid passport with their application. Please be sure to submit a clear copy of your passport photo/information page. This can be uploaded via your application portal or by emailing
  • International Address
    All F-1 and J-1 visa applicants are instructed to use their international address on the application. If you are currently in the United States, you can use that address for mailing.
  • Visa Transfer
    If you are currently on an F-1 visa or returning from OPT and are planning to transfer your SEVIS record please review the section titled SEVIS Transfer Applicants (create a new page with the information listed below). If you are currently in the United States in F-1 status or currently on OPT, you can transfer your status to USF. Students who have completed at least one academic term in the U.S in F-1 status can transfer their SEVIS record to USF, or complete a “Change of Level” from another USF degree, and continue to maintain F-1 status.
    Please submit a completed School of Management Graduate Application by June 1.

Additional requirements on the following pages:

We cannot sponsor F1 student visas for part-time programs.

If you have questions about this process, please contact us for further instructions.

Last updated Nov 2020

About the School

When you join the USF School of Management you join a university committed to developing compassionate and productive leaders. Our mission is to challenge you to reimagine business and management to c ... Read More

When you join the USF School of Management you join a university committed to developing compassionate and productive leaders. Our mission is to challenge you to reimagine business and management to create a more humane and just world. We demand academic excellence in the service of humankind. We broaden your understanding of today’s global marketplace. We are located in the heart of San Francisco, one of the most intense business ecosystems in the world, which allows us to provide students with unparalleled access to high tech, biotech, finance, venture capital, and entrepreneurial leaders. Read less
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