An online Ph.D. in Non-Profit Management is a rare degree that, when undertaken seriously, can improve a professional's life substantially. Because the role of non-profits around the world is changing and growing, it is important that professionals with the right type of education are heading the organizations and providing a clear path forward. And one of the best ways to do that is by offering online options to the professionals already in the field.
This field is challenging; non-profit management professionals often work within financial and legal constraints in order to complete their duties. It's therefore imperative that they take the time to educate themselves about their positions within the organization.
Because finding an online Ph.D. in Mon-profit Management is still relatively uncommon, this ranking relied on information provided by the National Center for Education Statistics. Using different factors, including degree completion rates and financial aid numbers, an initial pool of 35 schools were considered. From the original 35, 10 were selected; the final selection process focused on in-state graduate tuition, with schools listed from most to least expensive.
Ranking Low-cost Online Non-Profit Management PhD Programs
10. Indiana Wesleyan University
Online Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership
Professionals who are interested in earning a Christian-based non-profit management Ph.D. online will find that Indiana Wesleyan University is a great choice for their needs. This doctorate degree is available in both a hybrid and online format, with the non-profit concentration requiring three one-week campus residencies during the summer. The program is also delivered as a cohort, enabling students to work through the core and concentration requirements with the same group; this is necessary to bolster an intimate atmosphere where teams work together on research projects. The degree plan requires 60 total credit hours of coursework; this includes a comprehensive exam, a research project, and a dissertation. Sample courses include Ethics and Leadership, Global Perspectives on Leadership, and Stewardship.
9. Southeastern University
Online Doctorate in Strategic Leadership, Non-Profit Concentration
Southeastern University is a Christian institution that confers an online Ph.D. option for non-profit management candidates. The Ph.D. in Strategic Leadership offers a non-profit management concentration that is delivered in a hybrid format; students complete the majority of their coursework online and once a year take residency on campus for one week. This degree is built for students interested in leadership and management issues with a focus on leadership strategies and cultural intelligence. This degree requires 60 total credit hours of coursework and either a dissertation or a capstone project. Sample courses include Negotiation and Conflict Resolution, Organizational Culture and Design, and Cultural Intelligence.
8. Liberty University
Online Doctor of Business Administration, Non-Profit Leadership and Management
Professionals working in the business sector who are looking to move into the non-profit sector may feel at home at Liberty University. This is a 100 percent online degree, although students can opt to take accelerated incentives at the university's campus. The degree focuses largely on business with a specialized focus on how business and the non-profit sectors intersect. It is a great terminal degree option for students who already have earned an MBA or another business-related degree. This degree requires 60 credit hours of coursework, a comprehensive exam, and a dissertation. Sample courses include Grant Acquisition and Management, Strategic Communication Campaigns for the Digital Age, and Workforce Planning and Employment.
7. University of the Rockies
Online Doctor of Psychology, Non-Profit Management
An interesting choice for non-profit professionals is the Doctor of Psychology in Non-Profit Management that is conferred by the University of the Rockies. This is a great degree for professionals who are interested in working with human resources to build a workforce within the field that is passionate and ambitious about fieldwork. As a Psy.D. degree, this is a program best suited for psychology professionals. This is a hybrid program; there are in-residency requirements for three of the core courses needed for graduation. The degree requires 60 credit hours of coursework, a dissertation, and a comprehensive exam. Sample courses include Volunteers and Non-Profit Governance, The Non-Profit Executive as a Fundraiser, and Ethical Issues in Non-Profit Management.
6. Grand Canyon University
Online Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership with an Emphasis on Organizational Development
Grand Canyon University confers a doctorate of education in organizational leadership that would be a perfect fit for non-profit managers. This is an evidence-based degree that focuses on the science and application of leadership. Students learn about leadership organization, strategy, and methodologies. This is a 100 percent online degree that offers students an exceptional academic look at non-profit management from an educational perspective. This degree requires 60 credit hours of research and coursework; these courses are delivered in an accelerated format. A dissertation and a research project are also required. Sample courses include Strategic Planning and Changing, Leading Across Cultures, and Ethical Dilemmas and Stewardship.
5. Capella University
Online Doctor of Philosophy in Human Services, Nonprofit Management and Leadership Specialization
Capella University confers an online Ph.D. in Non-profit Management that is grounded in the field of human services. This is a degree specifically designed for professionals who are interested in non-profit management as their next career goal. As a hybrid degree program, students will be able to complete the majority of their coursework online with some residencies required. Aligned with the guidelines established by the Nonprofit Academic Centers Council, this program requires 60 credit hours of coursework, a dissertation, a research project, and a comprehensive exam. Sample courses include Advanced Fund Development Philosophy and Practice, Leading Resource Performance in Nonprofit Organizations, and Financial Analysis and Reporting for Nonprofit Leaders.
4. Walden University
Online Doctor of Philosophy in Public Policy and Administration, Nonprofit Management and Leadership
An incredible Ph.D. non-profit management online degree comes from Walden University. This hybrid degree offers students insight into how leadership and management work in the non-profit sector while also providing an understanding of how the government and business interact with the sector. This is a professional degree that requires four campus residences that are spaced out during the degree plan. The degree requires 88 quarter credit hours of coursework and research; a comprehensive exam and a dissertation are also mandatory. Sample courses include Resource Development, Introduction to the Nonprofit Sector, and Board Governance and Volunteer Management.
3. Colorado Technical University
Online Doctor of Management in Non-Profit Leadership
Colorado Technical University confers a non-profit management Ph.D. online that was designed and implemented by management professionals with years of experience in both the public and private sectors. This is a 100 percent online degree that is aligned with the guidelines established by the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance. This is a program that will prepare students for the job responsibilities and skills necessary in the non-profit sector. The degree requires 96 quarter credit hours but can be completed in as little as three years. A dissertation and research paper is also required. Sample courses include Non-Profit Philanthropy and Grant Writing, Non-Profit Leadership and Management, and Advanced Career Strategies for the Scholar-Practitioner.
2. Northcentral University
San Diego, California
Online Doctor of Philosophy in Organizational Leadership
Students will be pleased to know that an online Ph.D. in non-profit management is available from Northcentral University. This 100 percent online degree course was designed for ambitious and disciplined professionals who are interested in learning how organizational leadership from an all-doctoral faculty that takes time to mentor students throughout the entire degree plan. This program is academic-based, with focus placed on strategies, statistics, and research. Students will be required to complete 60 credit hours of coursework and research, a dissertation, and a research project. Sample courses include Executive Leadership, Theory and Practice of Organizational Leadership, and Leadership, Change, and Communication.
1. University of Maryland University College
Online Doctor of Management
The University of Maryland University College confers a non-profit management doctorate online that will provide professionals with a strong foundation in the mechanics of management. This is a hybrid cohort program that requires weekend residencies for select seminars that are required for graduation. It is also an academic program that focuses on theories and strategic thinking. Students can expect to complete a comprehensive exam, 48 credit hours of coursework and research, and a dissertation. Sample courses include Data Analytics in Practice, Research as a Tool for Management Decision Making, and Evidence-Based Research Methods.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the Career Options for an Online Doctorate in Non-profit Management Degree?
Career options for professionals with an online non-profit management Ph.D. can vary within the scope of the sector. From working with the government to building their own non-profits, these managers have a broad range of positions that are available to them.
It is imperative to point out that the type of position within the field that is available to a doctoral graduate depends on their previous educational and work experience. This means that if a student previously worked in a different field and earned a graduate degree in that field, they may be well suited for a specialized management position.
For example, a student with a financial background in terms of both work and educational experience may earn a doctorate in this field and become a financial manager, working to fundraise for their non-profit organization. A professional with experience in human resources and management may become a senior or C-level manager, offering an organization the stability that comes with previous business experience.
Doctoral graduates may decide against working within an existing non-profit organization altogether and focus on building their own non-profit. This is a great choice for these professionals, as the education they earned will give them an understanding of how to build and sustain a successful non-profit.
How Much Can You Earn in This Field?
Salaries for non-profit managers are influenced by the size and scope of the non-profit organization these professionals work for and is therefore difficult to pinpoint. However, the range of salaries seems to be anywhere from $55,680 to $110,000; this does not account for bonuses and other forms of compensation.
It is important to note that non-profit managers are either general managers or specialized managers. General managers, on average, are paid less than their counterparts; again, the amount of difference between salaries depends on the non-profit organization. Large organizations can afford to pay more for managers while smaller non-profits rely on benefits and other forms of compensation.
Financial and fundraising managers make the highest salaries; both positions at mid-level non-profit organizations regularly offer over $100,000 per year. Only C-level executive managers make more in the non-profit world, and many of those salary numbers are withheld from the public.
Professionals will also find that working with large non-profit organizations that are affiliated with governments or are international often have higher wages. Finding positions at well known non-profit organizations can be a competitive process but often result in a stable career with a good salary. Smaller non-profits, as well as start-up organizations, pay less but offer a better chance to move up in the non-profit. Professionals must weigh their earnings concerns with career mobility.
What are the Various Disciplines of Non-profit Management?
Non-profit management is a general field within a specialty sector in that the position can mean different things depending on the organization in question. It is up to potential employees to discern what a non-profit means by the term; this information is often relayed through job descriptions that are posted on the organization's website or on job board sites.
The disciplines of nonprofit management are decided based on a professional's specialty, although it is common to find job openings for general non-profit managers. For this position, candidates are expected to have an understanding of management, human resources, marketing, communication skills, civic engagement, public speaking, oral and verbal skills, and more. Public relations is another common discipline for this role.
Financial and fundraising managers also work in these disciplines, but their work is specialized. They often have backgrounds in finance, accounting, economics, and statistics. Many are also tasked with investment opportunities, networking with like-minded companies and government agencies, and more, requiring a facile understanding of diplomacy, politics, negotiation, and communication skills.
Administrative managers, which could also be considered to be senior level management, work to keep the entire organization running smoothly. These managers have a great understanding of business strategy, human resources, big data, coding, and more. They are also generally the managers responsible for supervising other departments, so interpersonal and intrapersonal skills are in demand.
Are Credentials Necessary for this Field?
Specific credentials are currently not widely offered in the field of non-profit management. Because professionals who earn a doctorate in this field generally work at different levels of management, there does not seem to be one particular credential that would fulfill the needs of this particular sector.
However, holding credentials in business, social work, or other fields may prove beneficial for professionals when they begin their job prospects process. In fact, many non-profit organizations are actively looking for managers who do have credentials unrelated to non-profit work. The type of credential or licensure that would be useful depends on their previous work and educational history.
For example, those managers who are working with foster care children and hold a graduate degree in social work will benefit from holding an active social work license. Doctoral graduates who have a degree in education or business and also have previous work experience in those fields will also benefit from licensure, credentials, and active membership in professional organizations.
A good education and a passion for civic engagement are really all a non-profit organization needs in order to consider hiring a non-profit manager. Credentials in different fields can be helpful, but only if those credentials are still in good standing. Lapsed licenses and memberships will not help any potential non-profit manager, so professionals need to keep that in mind.
Is Accreditation Critical?
Non-profit management programs do not have accreditation possibilities. This might be because doctoral programs are still relatively new, or that the accreditation process is generally a long one and could take years for any one program to find accreditation even if the bodies did exist.
While accreditation is not critical when obtaining a Ph.D. in Non-profit Management, the sentiment changes when a student has earned a DBA with a concentration in the field. That's because the degree is geared towards business professionals. In this case, accreditation would certainly be an advantage for those who wish to enter into senior levels of management at a nonprofit organization.
Because earning a Doctorate in Non-profit management is still a relatively recent phenomenon, accreditation is not a concern. What matters more is the quality of the education and the networking opportunities that each university can offer to their students. If a student can find a regionally accredited doctoral program that is delivered online and has a great academic reputation, then they should research the application process for that particular school.
How Does Earning an Online Degree Help in Finding Work in Non-profit Management?
Earning a doctorate can often take between three to five years to complete with full-time study on a traditional campus. The degree plan can take even longer if the student is a working professional who is also taking on postgraduate education. And with more and more professionals entering doctoral programs as working students, it's become clear that online education can serve a useful role.
Online education is built mainly on flexibility. A student can not only choose their own courses, they can also choose whether to take asynchronous or synchronous courses, become a part of a cohort, work at an accelerated pace, go to school year-round, and more. They have a variety of choices available to them that, at this point, are not offered to traditional students.
An online doctorate is helpful because it's also more affordable. With most schools now offering an online-only tuition rate, students are saving a lot of money on their education. Because education often is the biggest hindrance for most people who want to go back to school, a cheap online non-profit management Ph.D. makes that decision quite clear.
Online degrees also enable students to network in their field. Most non-profit management doctoral candidates are already active in the field, meaning that their introduction to other students and professors, as well as guest lecturers, in the same field could gain them a brand new circle of contacts within the field.With the online school acting as the platform for networking, students can build connections across the country and the world, not just in their own residential community.
Finally, online degrees are rarely distinguished from traditional degrees; most schools confer the same exact degree, regardless of the delivery system. Employers will not be aware of how a student earned that degree unless they ask during an interview. Even in that scenario, it is unlikely that an employer would dismiss a well-rounded and ambitious candidate simply because of how their degree was earned.
Non-profit management is still a field that the educational system is still figuring out; because there are so many disciplines at play, it has taken considerable time for colleges and universities to learn how to teach the field properly. Now, with the help of the GSH staff, students can look over ten of the best doctoral programs in this field, whether they are looking by graduate tuition rates or by month/year term schedules. Students who need to find a proper online Ph.D. in Non-profit Management will no doubt find a few schools on this list that will meet their requirements; now all that's left to do is start the application process.
Updated: March 4, 2020