Department of Christian Ministries

Nonprofit Leadership

student on laptop in the cafe
Department of Christian Ministries

Nonprofit Leadership

  • Bachelor of Science
  • Bachelor of Arts
  • Undergraduate

125 credits

required for program

Minor Available

PSEO/Early College online classes

125 credits

125 credits

required for program

Minor Available

PSEO/Early College online classes

Prepare to work in nonprofit organizations. The nonprofit leadership degree combines ministry and business courses.

Nonprofit leadership may be the right degree for you if you

  • want to develop your leadership skills
  • are interested in a meaningful career with a nonprofit organization
  • want to combine your heart for ministry with business savvy

Why study nonprofit leadership at Northwestern?

You will develop relational skills, learn ethics, and gain experience in missional leadership. Our small class sizes allow you one-on-one attention from experienced professors. They will help you be well-equipped for a career in nonprofit leadership.

With campus so close to Minneapolis and St. Paul, students at Northwestern have the opportunity to intern in a variety of nonprofits around the Twin Cities.

Accelerated M.A. in Ministry Leadership

Students may apply through the Ministry department to combine an undergraduate degree in Nonprofit Leadership with an accelerated Master of Arts in Ministry Leadership. Nonprofit majors complete up to 14 credits of the MA degree during their undergraduate program and the remaining 22 credits during the fifth year of study. The fifth-year can be completed on-site or through online learning. This pathway saves students time and tuition expense as they add a graduate degree to their portfolio.

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Careers in nonprofit leadership

There are a variety of career and academic pathways that begin with a degree in nonprofit leadership.

What types of work are related to this degree?

  • Administration
  • Management
  • Public relations
  • Fund raising/development
  • Research
  • City or county boards or management
  • Grant writing
  • Direct service
  • Ministry development
  • Finance or budget analysis
  • Community affairs
  • Program development or program direction
  • Emergency services management
  • Camp or missions trip administration and leadership

Who employs people with this degree?

  • Local and national nonprofit agencies
  • Foundations
  • Churches and parachurch ministries
  • Humanitarian aid organizations
  • Charitable organizations
  • Trade or professional associations
  • Special interest groups
  • Labor unions
  • Libraries
  • Museums
  • Historic sites
  • Historical societies
  • Research organizations and think tanks
  • Educational institutions

Strategies for success:

  • Obtain leadership roles in relevant campus and community organizations.
  • In addition to grant writing coursework, try to obtain actual practice in grant writing.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and experience in a specialty area (e.g. public health, environment, urban issues).
  • Research organizations’ values to find a good fit with yours. It is critical that you are knowledgeable about and committed to the work you’re going to do.
  • Investigate term of service or service corps positions as a way to gain entry into the field. Internships and experiences are crucial.
  • Consider earning a graduate degree for more job opportunities and advancement.
  • Build a strong personal network through informal contacts. Political connections are helpful for appointed positions. Most agencies respond to professional connections.
  • Explore application to government internship programs specifically for college students, such as the Pathways Program at the federal level.
  • Plan on following a flexible career path to higher positions. Many people begin on the clerical or entry-level in order to gain experience and network.
  • Many students of nonprofit administration intend to stay within the nonprofit sector, using their degree to prepare for and transition into leadership positions at organizations of all sizes as staff or board members, and perhaps even founding their own nonprofits.
View Career Guide

of seniors feel prepared to integrate their faith with their academic field


business and ministry skills for Kingdom impact


of seniors felt their major encouraged critical thinking

What will I learn?

You will develop a ministry mindset, learn practical business skills, and establish strong communication skills for work in nonprofit organizations.

Still have questions about this program or how to apply?

Our team is ready with answers!

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