5 Best Grad Schools with Online Doctorate in Non-Profit Management

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Updated: March 13, 2024, Reading time: 13 minutes

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Did you know there are about 1.5 million nonprofits in the US and about 10 million worldwide? To run a nonprofit effectively, managers need skills in finance, contracting, and grants, as well as human resources and the supervision of volunteers.

Enrolling in an online Doctorate in Nonprofit Management is a sound decision if you’re working in the nonprofit sector and want to level up your position or skills.

Compassion, clear communication, an eye for detail, and philanthropic commitment are essential in nonprofit management. Even if you are skilled in this sense, an online Ph.D. in Nonprofit Management can elevate your skills and qualify you for leadership.


Nonprofit management doctoral programs teach the skills needed for leadership roles within nonprofit organizations. Management, public administration, and grant writing are among the areas in which you can sharpen your skills. Part of this program involves conducting original research into a particular area of public administration and philanthropy.

Program directors, researchers, and educators are among the careers graduates pursue after graduation. To prepare for a career you’re passionate about, you may also specialize in a particular field.

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We created a list of the best grad schools with online Doctorate in Nonprofit Management! This list was developed with these doctorate programs and graduate school attributes in mind:

Please visit our Methodology page for a detailed look into our ranking process.

Grad School Center is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

5 Best Grad Schools with Online Doctorate in Non-Profit Management

Liberty University

Liberty University

Doctor of Business Administration – Nonprofit Leadership and Management

Liberty University offers an entirely online DBA, specializing in Nonprofit Leadership and Management for graduate students. This online doctoral program can help you become a more influential nonprofit professional. You will receive a flexible, academically excellent education through their online nonprofit leadership degree. Professionals can take their nonprofit expertise to the next level with this online DBA in Nonprofit Leadership.

For world-changers like you, this online doctoral program will help you help change the world.  This is an online PhD degree that you can proceed to after finishing a master’s degree in a related study. Liberty University prepares you for a calling in your life by providing the tools you need to create and expand a nonprofit organization.

To enhance the effectiveness of your nonprofit organization, you will gain additional tools and resources through your DBA in Nonprofit Leadership and Management. The online degree program will prepare you for careers in nonprofit management, workforce planning, labor relations, entrepreneurship, strategic communications, and grant acquisition.

Walden University

Walden University

PhD in Human Services Nonprofit Administration

This specialization focuses on leadership and management in human service organizations. This online PhD from Walden University is filled with core courses that will benefit you as you enter the nonprofit sector. Students will study topics such as board management, resource development, finances, marketing, and budgeting, which are key areas for nonprofit management. As for dissertations, you must consider choosing a realistic issue or challenge in the nonprofit industry. 

Through this online PhD program, you will develop skills to work in nonprofits, nongovernmental organizations, or agencies at home or abroad.

There are two tracks for you to choose from. Choose track one if you possess a master’s degree in psychology, social work, human services, or counseling. On the other hand, go for Track Two if you finished a bachelor’s degree in any related field of study. With this track, you can earn your MS in Human Services while pursuing your PhD.

If they do not petition for an extension, Walden students can finish their doctoral programs within eight years. It’s usual for the dissertation or doctoral study course to be continued until the capstone project is completed and approved. But it’s worth noting that the dissertation course usually requires more terms than the minimum.

Eastern University

Eastern University

PhD in Organizational Leadership – Nonprofit and Public Administration

Eastern University has designed an online PhD in Organizational Leadership focusing on nonprofit and public administration. This online doctoral degree is perfect for those with an undergraduate degree in social work, business, psychology, leadership, non-profits, social work, and public administration.

As a decision-maker and scholar, nonprofit leaders are the primary focus of this program.  A Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership will prepare you to fulfill nonprofit management and administration roles with the tools, processes, and skills you need.

Some of the courses you’ll take are:

San Diego University

San Diego University - School of Leadership and Education Sciences

PhD in Leadership Studies – Nonprofit and Philanthropic Leadership

Designed to meet students’ professional interests and goals, San Diego University offers an online Ph.D. in Leadership Studies with a concentration in a nonprofit and philanthropic leadership program that provides an interdisciplinary learning experience.

Using real-world problems and leadership theory, students identify and solve real-world problems. As a result of this program’s nexus of research and practice, online students can graduate with a deep understanding of the dynamics of leadership in human organizations and groups.

Leadership encompasses nearly every aspect of society. The doctorate in leadership studies program offers students the option of specializing or creating their specialization based on their goals and interests.

There is a core curriculum for each specialty, an international study experience, and an individual track of courses for each student that is tailored to their unique way of making a difference in the world. Graduating with this degree paves the way for numerous career paths.

Students who complete this specialization are prepared to lead organizations and teach college courses related to their specialization. In their dissertation research, students pursuing this specialization address issues related to nonprofit organizations, policy arenas, and other facets of the nonprofit sector.

After graduation, here are some jobs that you can have:

The University of Arizona Global Campus

The University of Arizona Global Campus

PhD in Human Services – Nonprofit Management

A Doctor of Philosophy or Ph.D. in Human Services – Nonprofit Management specialization from the University of Arizona Global Campus enables students to navigate the complex structures of nonprofit organizations. Identify nonprofit organizations’ strategic initiatives and changes through this online doctorate. 

Improve nonprofit performance by designing and analyzing research. In this online doctoral program, many core courses will teach you to evaluate policies central to ethical practice in human services. This online doctoral program includes research methods and principles in nonprofit organizations. 

Some of the courses that you’ll take in this online PhD in nonprofit management:

Courses to Take in An Online Doctorate in Nonprofit Management

Leadership Theory and Practice

In this course, you will learn about leadership literature and how leadership theory relates to leadership complexity. Both professors and students critically evaluate leadership practices within organizations.

Research Methods

Research ideas and designs are critiqued, developed, and tested in this course which covers quantitative and qualitative methods. Participatory action, ethnography, case studies, and narrative are some of the approaches students explore.

Workforce Planning and Employment

The course will cover various topics such as recruitment, employment, assessment, placement, training, and appraisal. This also explores topics that align the organization’s workforce with its strategic goals.

Collaborative Leadership and Partnership

In this course, students explore how to define and recognize successful leadership, and you will learn how to build strong partnerships with stakeholder groups and community members.

Marketing for Nonprofit Organizations

Creating and maintaining relationships with partners, beneficiaries, and volunteers is essential to advancing a nonprofit’s mission and ensuring its relevance and viability. This is what the course would train you on. Marketing plays a crucial role in the performance of non-profit organizations as well. Many marketing strategies are covered in the course to make nonprofits successful.

Diversity in the Workplace

Students learn how to recognize unconscious bias, resolve it, and create a more inclusive work environment. Diversity and inclusion at work increase innovation and performance, giving these workplaces a competitive edge. As a nonprofit manager, you need to have this knowledge and skill about diversity.

Professional and Business Ethics in Organizational Leadership

Business and professional ethics students learn about historical and current issues in nonprofit sectors. They are also taught proven methods for promoting and facilitating an organization’s ethical practices.

Advocacy and Public Policy

Policy analysis and government engagement strategies are taught to students in advocacy and public policy courses. A global comparison of policy-making methods and historical models of public participation in policy-making is also performed in this subject.

Social Justice and Ethics

A secondary goal of this course is to evaluate ethical issues related to nonprofit organizations and to examine social justice theories and their role in the public sector.

Nonprofit Management

The nonprofit sector will be discussed thoroughly in this course. Students in this course will learn about some unique management and leadership issues nonprofit organizations face. Leadership is perhaps the most important topic for nonprofit organizations, as they have a unique status, and how they lead, make decisions, and exercise other executive functions is crucial.

Careers for Online Doctorate in Nonprofit Management

Careers for Online Doctorate in Nonprofit Management

Training and Development Manager

A training and development manager oversees, implements, and evaluates programs to improve employees’ skills and knowledge. Short-term training sessions may also be conducted with volunteers and contract workers in a nonprofit institution or office. They create curricula, select training materials, and assess employee needs.

College Professor

Educators at colleges and universities teach students their subject areas. Depending on their field, postsecondary teachers can conduct field and laboratory training exercises. Furthermore, professors assist students with internships, dissertations, research opportunities, and project capstones.

Fundraising Manager

Donations are raised for organizations by these business leaders through campaigns. Public relations specialists and fundraising managers work together to develop program goals and strategies. They aim to market the nonprofit organization and acquire funds for operations and projects. Identifying new revenue sources, contacting prior donors, and meeting with important donors are some of their responsibilities. 

Financial Manager

Analyzing data and advising senior managers on profit-maximizing strategies are tasks performed by financial managers. An organization’s financial health is the responsibility of its financial managers. They make records and reports and analyze financial strategies to keep expenses within budget.

Management Analyst

Management analysts conduct financial and other analyses, including revenue, expenditures, and employment statistics. They develop alternative practices or solutions. They also present or write reports to management with recommendations to make the nonprofit more successful and effective.


The purpose of these professionals is to study the method through which goods, services, and resources are produced or distributed. Analyzing economic conditions and their impact on companies and communities involves using mathematical methods and statistical software that economists are well-versed in. In the nonprofit sector, economists assist underserved communities in identifying and overcoming challenges.

Operations Research Analyst

Information is collected and analyzed by operations research analysts to strengthen organizational functions. Using predictive modeling, they help companies solve challenges and make strategic decisions by conducting employee surveys, analyzing financial data, and analyzing financial history. These working professionals can work freelance or in a specific nonprofit institution.

Social and Community Service Manager

As part of their work, these managers identify areas of community need and develop programs that meet those needs. In many cases, social and community managers target a specific population or a specific problem. Their responsibilities are writing grant proposals, managing outreach events, and coordinating volunteers.

Human Resources Manager

Managing an organization’s personnel is the responsibility of a human resources manager or HR supervisor. After acquiring an online doctorate in nonprofit management, you can take over the human resources department in the nonprofit organization. You’ll be in charge of all employee concerns and training activities.

Chief Executive

One of the highest job positions you can land is a chief executive. They direct and manage the company toward its primary objectives and goals. They also oversee the entire operation of the nonprofit office. They are responsible for making employment decisions that they think are good for everyone.

Best Grad Schools with Online Doctorate in Non-Profit Management - fact

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the requirements for admission to an online Doctorate in Nonprofit Management program?

Just as with online master’s degrees in nonprofit management, when applying to online Ph.D. programs in nonprofit management, you may need to prepare the following documents and paperwork:

It is usually required to have a master’s degree before applying to PhD programs, although this varies between schools. It’s also important to check the specific policies at your schools of interest since many offer credits for work experience.

What is the timeline for completing an online PhD in Nonprofit Management?

With full-time enrollment, a Ph.D. usually takes three to five years to complete. However, many other aspects can influence the duration of your online doctorate study. Depending on how many credit hours are required and how long it takes for a student to complete their dissertation, the time it takes to earn a Ph.D. can vary.

Generally, full-time study for doctoral programs without a dissertation requirement takes three years. The timelines for program completion tend to vary between schools, so be sure to investigate the details of the program at the colleges you’re considering.

How much do professionals earn with an online PhD in Nonprofit Management?

Students who earn a Ph.D. in Nonprofit Management online develop leadership, nonprofit management, strategic thinking, and communication skills. After graduation, you will qualify for higher positions that pay higher.

For an estimate of pay, the BLS reports that managers earn between $49,260 and $151,700 annually. As for public relations and fundraising managers, they earn $125,620 per year on average. Candidates’ earning potential is also affected by their location, employer, and qualifications. So, you need to factor them in when applying for jobs.

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