Public / Nonprofit Management


This certificate aims to enhance graduates’ ability to manage and lead public and nonprofit organizations ethically and effectively. It establishes effective human resource management as a core foundation, with emphasis on the political, legal, and ethical dimensions of public service employment. Through study of management theories and techniques, students will gain understanding of contemporary organizational challenges and the tensions inherent to competing values and develop the leadership skills necessary to guide public organizations through change. Through their choice of electives, students may tailor this certificate to focus more specifically on the nonprofit or public sector.

Certificate Requirements

The certificate requires 4 courses for a total of 12 graduate credit hours. Other courses may be substituted with the approval of the MPA Faculty Director. Students who wish to pursue both the City and County Management and Public and Nonprofit Management graduate certificates must seek approval from the MPA Faculty Director. PUAD 834 will count toward both certificates, but the student must take one additional elective to meet the 12 credit-hour completion requirement for each.  Otherwise, Student pursuing more than one SPAA certificate may use a maximum of one course to count towards both certificates.

Required Course (3 credit hours):

The 3 elective courses (9 credit hours) must be selected from the following:

School of Public Affairs & Administration Certificate Admission

Certificate Application Fee: $30

The School of Public Affairs and Administration accepts students on a rolling admissions basis. Students may apply to be admitted for either the fall, summer or spring semesters.  Applicants for the certificate are required to have:

  • Undergraduate degree with a GPA of 3.0 (if the undergraduate degree was awarded in the last three years).
  • At least three years of managerial experience or be already admitted to any graduate programs of KU or already have a graduate management or leadership degree from an accredited institution.
  • Non-native speakers of English must meet the English proficiency requirements as described here.

Current School of Public Administration and Affairs graduate students who wish to earn a graduate certificate credential in any of the certificates listed here must submit a graduate application for the specific certificate program no later than enrollment in the final course that will count toward the certificate.  Public Administration Ph.D. and Master of Urban Planning graduate students may email Cari Ann Kreienhop for application and certificate conferral instructions.  Current MPA graduate students may refer to the Certificate powerpoint in the Enrollment & Progress Tracking channel of the MPA Students Microsoft Team for application, tracking, and conferral instructions.

Please note that no credential will be awarded without completion of the graduate application into the certificate.  Additionally, the School will prioritize course scheduling needs based on formal certificate enrollments.

Individuals who are not already enrolled as School of Public Affairs and Administration graduate students must complete an application to Graduate Studies for admission into the certificate program and submit an application fee along with the following materials:
•    A current resume.
•    A statement of interest in the graduate certificate program. This 1-2 page narrative should summarize your education, employment history, career goals, and how this certificate will bolster your professional aspirations.
•    Official transcripts of baccalaureate degree/s and any post-baccalaureate course work.

The admissions committee may request additional materials if needed to assess an applicant’s ability to be successful in the coursework.