Maureen Emerson Feit, Director, Nonprofit Leadership

Maureen Emerson Feit



Angela Cabatbat, Program Coordinator, Nonprofit Leadership

Angela Cabatbat

Program Coordinator


Sarah Curtis-Tilton, Senior Admin Assistant, Nonprofit Leadership

Sarah Curtis-Tilton

Senior Administrative Assistant


The Master of Nonprofit Leadership program at Seattle University was one of the first graduate degrees in the country developed specifically for those who lead, or aspire to lead, nonprofit organizations. Today, the curriculum emphasizes the latest in leadership and management theory and the practical skills and dexterity required of nonprofit leaders. Students work with a distinguished mix of Seattle University faculty and practitioner instructors, learn with a cohort of peers, and build their networks among nonprofit and philanthropic leaders in the region.

This 45-credit degree combines 39 credits of core coursework completed with a cohort, and 6 credits of electives. The program can be completed in 22 months. 

Designed for working professionals, the program schedules courses in the evenings or on Saturdays. Students are provided with class schedules in advance to facilitate planning.

Course work is dynamic, and builds on the diverse professional experiences that students bring with them to the classroom. Students participate in a 3-credit practicum, which places them in local nonprofit organizations and allows them to immediately apply their classroom learning to real world situations. Applicants with extensive leadership and managerial experience may petition to replace the practicum with an elective course.

The program culminates in the Capstone Project, a synthesis of focused academic study and the results of the community practicum experience.

Personal mentoring is also provided by professionals currently working in the field. Graduates have access to career counseling services and are invited to continue their association with the network of over 400 alumni.

Required Courses (39 credits):

  • Leadership - Theoretical and applied knowledge about concepts of leadership, leadership styles and situations, communication skills, techniques of inspiration, motivation, conflict resolution, negotiating and building consensus, coping with change, and fostering innovation. 
  • Foundations - The role of nonprofit organizations, their history, traditions, values, ethics, legal, tax, and economic base, and emerging issues facing the sector.
  • Board Governance - Organizing and leading volunteers to provide governance and other assistance, board and staff relations, systems and tactics of volunteer motivation, recruitment, development, utilization and retention, strategies and best practices for creating an effective, diverse and committed organizational leadership team.
  • Strategic Marketing - Marketing an organization’s image, mission and services, developing and implementing a public relations strategy, working with the media, and tying these functions to the ability of the organization to attract financial support.
  • Planning - Understanding the function of strategic, long range and tactical planning, developing the framework and tools to design a variety of planning models, motivating and managing stakeholder involvement with different planning initiatives, integrating learning organization and systems principles, creating vision, mission, values, strategic thinking.
  • Financial  Management - Planning, reporting and controlling of fiscal resources and overall management control systems, budgeting, terminology and principles of financial accounting and program evaluation, analysis of financial statements, responsibility and program structure, internal controls and audit responsibility, managerial financial controls and pricing.
  • Fundraising - Specific skills, knowledge and understanding required of executives to lead and manage the resource development and fundraising functions, integrating fundraising and stewardship throughout the organization, organizational readiness measures, materials and tools of resource development, best practices for involving volunteers, boards and staff in researching and soliciting contributions, methodologies for creating and using an effective, diversified and comprehensive resource development plan.
  • Social Justice in the Third Sector - Social justice as a key component of the third sector. Exploration of historical and contemporary frameworks for social justice in the U.S. and globally, and application of those frameworks to nonprofits and philanthropy. Focus on structural inequality, power, privilege, and social location. Interaction with practitioners working for social change.
  • Program  Evaluation - Program evaluation as a management practice that relates to strategic planning, program development and improvement, resource allocation, and marketing. Application of outcome-based evaluation and results-based accountability frameworks.
  • Nonprofit Advocacy - Understanding how nonprofit organizations can work productively with governments, businesses, and other nonprofits to develop and maintain sound public policies that serve the interests of the organization and their constituents, framing public problems and developing policy proposals, building effective partnerships and advocacy campaigns, and complying with lobbying regulations. 
  • Leading Staff - Best practices for implementing the management competencies needed to lead staff, political realities of staff operations, fostering creativity, coaching for excellence, achieving diversity, nonprofit aspects of personnel recruitment, administration, retention and evaluation policies and procedures, laws and regulations.
  • Practicum - Integrates and applies the nonprofit theories being learned in the course work with the realities of the workplace. This practicum provides students the opportunity to apply their knowledge in a variety of nonprofit skill areas within local nonprofit organizations.
  • Capstone - Independent research analyzing and proposing resolution to a significant nonprofit leadership issue or management problem that synthesizes, through application, a wide variety of the leadership management skills and knowledge taught throughout the program. The course requires completion of a physical product and an oral presentation.

Elective Courses (6 Credits):  

  • NPLR 5610 - Individual Giving
  • NPLR 5640 - Grantwriting
  • Other Courses as approved by your Advisor  

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