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University of Pennsylvania Course/Program Name
Application closes on
National :15 Mar 
International :15 Mar 

MS Non-Profit Leadership

 Course Level
Masters / PG
Full Time

2 Years
 Start month

 Tuition fee

57022 USD
57022 USD

Application fee

International 65 USD
National 65 USD
School of Social Policy and Practice
Scores accepted
IELTS (min)7
TOEFL-IBT (min)100
TOEFL-PBT (min)600
GRE (avg)307
GMAT (avg)732

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About this course

Penn’s School of Social Policy & Practice offers a master’s degree in Nonprofit Leadership (NPL). The NPL program welcomes individuals who are bright, passionate and energized to be transformative thought leaders; social entrepreneurs; and innovators for social impact. There are both full- and part-time options available for completing the program.

We aim to educate the next generation of leaders and entrepreneurs who will help transform nonprofits, social enterprises, international NGOs, educational systems, social service agencies, art and cultural institutions, foundations, and advocacy and volunteer organizations. The world needs new thinking and innovative approaches to address long-term challenges. Our program allows students to build a foundation for their professional and civic journeys as collaborative agents of innovation and impact. The NPL program is designed to serve nonprofit professionals preparing for leadership, professionals in other sectors seeking to shift careers to create social impact, individuals preparing to enter the nonprofit or social impact sector, and international applicants looking to enhance their leadership and nonprofit skills. We encourage anyone with a passion for social innovation and impact to apply.

Students enrolled in the Nonprofit Leadership Program take a total of ten (10) graduate courses:

  • four (4) NPLD core classes from a menu of choices
  • four (4) NPLD elective classes from a menu of choices
  • two (2) Penn elective classes from any graduate school at the University

Students work with Adam Roth-Saks, NPL Associate Director, in selecting their course of study from an array of options offered by Penn and SP2. Each student is encouraged to build the specific competencies they will need throughout their careers.


Check further details on University website

Eligibility Criteria

Eng lang – On the TOEFL-iBT exam (Internet-Based Test), competitive applicants tend to have a composite score of 100 and above (the exam is scaled from 0-120, with 120 being a perfect score) with demonstrated consistency on each section of the exam (reading, listening, speaking, and writing). On the Paper- Based TOEFL, Penn tends to admit students with a score of 600 and above (the exam is scaled from 310 to 677, with 677 being a perfect score).

  • IELTS - 7.0
  • GRE - 307
  • GMAT - 732


Check further details on University website

Course Modules

Summer semester 2016

  • NPLD 591: Changemaking: Personal Traits and Professional Skills (Scott Sherman)
  • Saturday & Sunday June 4 – 5, 10 am to 5 pm, Building: BENN Room: 323
  • Saturday & Sunday June 11 – 12, 10 am to 5 pm, Building: BENN Room: 222
  • Saturday & Sunday June 25 – 26, 10 am to 5 pm, Building: BENN Room: 24

NPLD 593: Design Thinking for Social Impact (Sarah Lidgus)

  • Thursday, June 9, 9am – 5pm, Building: BENN Room: 224
  • Friday, June 10, 9am – 5pm, Building: BENN Room: 224
  • Friday, June 17, 9am – 5pm, Building: BENN Room: 224
  • Saturday, June 18, 10 – 6pm, Building: BENN Room: 24
  • Friday, June 24, 9am – 1pm, Building: BENN Room: 224

NPLD 595: Nonprofit Storytelling (Mark Eyerly)

  • Summer Session I: Tuesdays & Thursday 5:30 to 7:30 pm

Fall semester 2016
NPLD 561 Nonprofit Branding (David Rhode)

  • Mondays October 17th, October 31st, November 14th, November 21st, November 28th, and December 5th, 5:00 pm-8:00 pm
  • Half credit

NPLD 580: Effective Governance Practice for Nonprofits (Nadya Shmavonian)

  • Wednesday, August 31st, Mondays September 12th, September 19th, October 10th, October 24th, and November 7th, 5:00 pm-8:00 pm
  • Half credit

NPLD 582: NGOs and International Development (Dr. James Thompson)

  • Wednesdays, 10:00 am-12:50 pm

NPLD 589: Ethics and Social Impact (Dr. Femida Handy)

  • Thursdays, 4:00 pm-7:00 pm

NPLD 782: Small Group Processes (Dr. Dana Kaminstein & Dr. Flora Taylor)

Section 1:

  • Friday, September 30th, 6:00 PM – 10:00 PM
  • Saturday, October 1st, 9:00 AM – 10:00 PM
  • Sunday, October 2nd, 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Section 2:

  • Friday, October 21st, 6:00 pm-10:00 pm
  • Saturday, October 22nd, 9:00 am-10:00 pm
  • Sunday, October 23rd, 9:00 am-10:00 pm
  • Half credit

NPLD 783: Field Exercise in Social Impact Measurement (Sidney Hargro)

  • Mondays, 11:00 am-1:50 pm

NPLD 784: The Nonprofit Sector: Concepts and Theories (Dr. Chao Guo)

  • Mondays, 2:00 pm-4:50 pm

NPLD 785: Group Dynamics and Organizational Politics (Dr. Kenwyn Smith)

  • September 9th, 9:00 am through September 10th, 6:00 pm
  • September 16th, 6:00 pm through September 18th, 6:00 pm
  • September 23rd, 6:00 pm through September 25th, 6:00 pm
  • October 14th, 10:00 am through October 16th, 6:00 pm

NPLD 786: Strategic Management and Leadership of Nonprofits (Dr. Chao Guo)

  • Tuesdays, 11:30 am-2:30 pm

NPLD 790: Social Finance (Andy Lamas and Bruce Boylston)

  • Tuesdays 5:30-8:30 pm

NPLD 791: Leadership: Designing the Future (Dr. Kenwyn Smith & Jeff Klein)

  • Wednesdays, October 26th, November 2nd, and November 16th, 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm
  • November 4th, 6:00 pm through November 6th, 6:00 pm
  • November 11th, 6:00 pm through November 13th, 6:00 pm

Spring semester 2016
NPLD 510: Social Innovation (Peter Frumkin)

  • Wednesdays, 1 to 3:30 pm

NPLD 562: (Almost) Everything You Need to Know About Nonprofit Law (Don Kramer)

  • Wednesdays, January 20, February 3, February 17, March 2, March 16, March 30, 5:30 to 8:30 pm
  • Half Credit

NPLD 563: Raising Philanthropic Capital (Greg Hagin)

  • Fridays, January 22, February 19, March 18, 9 am to 3 pm
  • Half Credit

NPLD 570: Nonprofit Planning & Finance (Nancy Burd)

  • Tuesdays, 1:30 to 4:30 pm

NPLD 587: Building Nonprofits that Thrive (Dr. Meredith Myers)

  • Saturday, January 23 and Sunday, January 24 (9am-4:00pm on both days)
  • Saturday, February 20 and Sunday, February 21 (9am-4:00pm on both days)
  • Saturday, March 19 and Sunday, March 20 (9am-4:00pm on both days)
  • Saturday, April 16 (9am-4:00pm)
  • Sunday, April 17 (9am-12pm)

NPLD 592: Collaboration Across Sectors (Charlotte Ren)

  • Mondays, 1 to 4 pm

NPLD 782 301: Small Group Processes (Dana Kaminstein)

  • Friday, January 29, 6 pm to 10 pm
  • Saturday, January 30, 9 am to 10 pm
  • Sunday, January 31, 9 am to 6 pm
  • Half Credit


NPLD 782 304: Small Group Processes (Flora Taylor)

  • Friday, February 26, 6 pm to 10 pm
  • Saturday, February 27, 9 am to 10 pm
  • Sunday, February 28, 9 am to 6 pm
  • Half Credit

NPLD 792: Social Entrepreneurship (Peter Frumkin)

  • Tuesdays, 5 to 8 pm

NPLD 796: Philanthropy & Fundraising (Eileen Heisman)

  • Mondays, 5 to 7:30 pm

NPLD 797: Philanthropy & the City (Doug Bauer and Greg Goldman)

  • Thursdays, 5:30 to 8:30 pm


Check further details on University website

How to Apply

Applicants for admission to the master’s degree in Nonprofit Leadership Program at the School of Social Policy & Practice must meet all of the following criteria:

  • hold at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university anywhere in the world;
  • have a grade point average (GPA) that reflects strong academic ability and submit an official copy of a transcript from all colleges and universities attended (including community college and other degree programs);
  • receive competitive scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). The Institutional Code for reporting the GRE test scores is 2926 and the Department Code is 5001. We also accept either the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT)* or the Law School Admission Test (LSAT)* indicating requisite analytic ability. Our preference is for applicants to take the GRE;
  • for international applicants whose first language is not English, we require you to take the TOEFL exam. TOEFL scores must be at a level appropriate for advanced graduate work. Currently, we look for TOEFL test scores of 100 or higher (highest score is 120). The Institutional Code for reporting TOEFL scores is 2926 and the Department Code is 95; provide three (3) strong letters of recommendation;
  • complete the on-line application for admission including the application essay;
  • if seeking financial assistance, applicants should complete the appropriate information on the on-line application and submit a financial plan;
  • and submit payment of a nonrefundable application fee. Payment must be made with a major credit card.

Application essay
All applicants to the Nonprofit Leadership Program are required to write an application essay. There are three (3) questions we expect all applicants to answer when composing the application essay. Typically, we ask that applicants respond to the questions and compose a well-constructed essay not to exceed 7 pages standard font and double spacing. This is your opportunity to explain why you want to attend graduate school and how you believe this master’s degree program will assist you in your educational and professional goals.

Applicants must submit transcripts detailing all undergraduate and postgraduate study. This includes coursework conducted at an applicant’s degree-granting institutions(s) as well as in study abroad programs and at institutions out of which an applicant may have transferred. Applicants should upload copies of their official transcripts (i.e. not screenshots from a student record or student grade system) that clearly displays their name, dates of enrollment, the names of all courses in which they enrolled, and the credits and grades awarded for each class. Applicants should not mail hard copies of transcripts to the School for purposes of application review.

Applicants who are admitted are required to submit final, official copies of all transcripts prior to matriculation. Transcripts must provide confirmation of degrees conferred.

Interviews are by invitation only upon a complete review of the application. Interviews are conducted by the Associate Director of the Nonprofit Leadership Program. Interviews can be in person, here on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania, or by Skype. Either interview option carries equal weight in the admission process. No applicant is admitted without an interview.

Application deadline
Highest consideration will be given to those applications completed and ready for review byMarch 15th. It is strongly encouraged that applicants interested in the Nonprofit Leadership Program submit their applications as early as possible due to the small number of students admitted each year for both the full-time and part-time options. The application is available on-line beginning in late September each year.  Applications for the part-time option can be submitted through June 1st.

Applications will be accepted and considered AFTER March 15th if slots remain to be filled in the program. Admission to the Nonprofit Leadership Program is done on a rolling basis until a class of highly qualified students is admitted. Accepted students must pay a nonrefundable deposit of $300.00 to secure a seat in the incoming class.

Application fee
The application fee for the Nonprofit Leadership Program is $65.00. Applications received before December 31st will be granted a reduced fee of $25.00. Depending on circumstances, there are opportunities to request a fee waiver due to hardship. Fee waivers are considered on a case by case basis by the Admissions Office and/or the NPL Associate Director.

The method of payment is through a major credit card as it allows us to process applications quickly.

Check further details on University website

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