Graduate Catalog
Policies, Procedures, Academic Programs
Nonprofit and Nongovernmental Organization Management
Virginia Tech, SPIA Richmond Campus 2810 N. Parham Road, Suite 205
Richmond, Virginia 23294
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Certificate Overview

The School of Public and International Affairs' (SPIA) graduate certificate in Nonprofit and Nongovernmental Organization Management (NNGOM) serves graduate students and working professionals in the public sector. Our students live, work, and study across the globe - allowing for inquiry and understanding of the various contexts in which nonprofits and NGOs operate. Certificate course professors are both academics and practitioners in nonprofits and government. Learning, research, analysis, and conversation occur at the crosswalk of theory and practice. Classes are highly interactive, typically project-based, and often include guest lectures from luminaries in the field.

The SPIA graduate certificate offers a streamlined curriculum enabling students to complete the course in one academic year. All courses are offered online. Learn more about the certificates on the SPIA website at

How to Apply:
Fill out the online application for participation in the certificate program.
Upon processing of the application, you will be contacted
with information about the submission of additional
required materials. Thank you for your interest.

Admission Requirements

Admission and award requirements for the Nonprofit and Nongovernmental Organization Management certificate program are equivalent to the requirements for the Graduate School and the participating SPIA programs.

For persons not already enrolled in a Virginia Tech master's or doctoral program:

  • Bachelor's Degree
  • Graduate School application (Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit and NGO Management)
  • Application Fee (see Graduate School for amount)
  • Transcripts - undergraduate and other graduate degrees, if applicable.
  • GRE scores are not required.
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Letter describing your substantive interests and possible area of specialization
  • International Students - also include TOEFL examination scores

For master's and doctoral students:

  • be accepted as a graduate student in an established academic department
  • have at least one faculty member from the School with experience in NPOs/NGOs on your graduate committee
  • have your application signed by your major professor
  • provide evidence of how you will integrate this certificate program into your overall plan of study
Certificate Award

In order to earn the graduate certificate in Nonprofit and Nongovernmental Organization Management, students must complete all certificate courses with a grade of "C-" or better and maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 across the certificate courses.

Course Requirements

All students must complete SPIA 5574 and at least three of the other five courses listed below for a total of 12 hours of graduate coursework. 
  • SPIA 5574 - Nonprofit Organization and Management - explores internal management for nonprofit and nongovernmental organization managers with emphasis on unique cultural, social, political, and economic challenges facing nonprofit managers. Key management knowledge, processes, and systems skills for managers in nonprofit organizations and NGOs and the role of internal collaboration. 
Select three courses from this list:  
  • SPIA 5514: Nongovernmental Organizations in International Development - discusses the roles of Nongovernmental Organizations (NGO) in international development. NGO interactions with local governments, community organizations, international governmental organizations, and private businesses. Tensions and collaborations between NGOs and other development actors.
  • SPIA 5524: Nonprofit Accountability and Evaluation - examines the societal role of the nonprofit sector. Why nonprofit organizations are held accountable, to whom they are accountable, and how organizations can satisfy accountability demands. Evaluation tools for accountability.
  • SPIA 5534: Nonprofit Organization Leadership - focuses on methods of devising and implementing leadership strategies in the complex economic, cultural, social, and political contexts in which nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations operate. Theories, models, and tools for success, focusing on leadership accountability, ethos, and performance.
  • SPIA 5544: Public and Nonprofit Financial Management - centers on the role of finance in the management of complex public, nonprofit, and nongovernmental organizations. Functions of financial management, including planning and budgeting, reporting, resource acquisition, and internal controls in the nonprofit context.
  • SPIA 5564: Nonprofit and Nongovernmental Law and Ethics - explores the legal, ethical, and normative systems affecting nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations, both domestically and internationally. Examines the historical foundations of legal regulation and professional ethics within the sector and how these systems contribute to the administration and governance of nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations. Also surveys current theories of nonprofit/ nongovernmental organization regulation as well as major legal and ethical issues confronting the sector.
  • SPIA 5614:  Building Participation and Engagement in Volunteer-Based Organizations - develops an understanding and habits of practice to define and evaluate effective participation and engagement in nonprofit volunteer organizations. Roles of enhanced autonomy, decentralization, democracy, and inclusive decision-making in attracting and retaining volunteers are discussed. Strategies for managing large groups of volunteers and deepening volunteer commitment to engagement for purposes of the organization mission are spotlighted in course lecture, assignments, and conversations with practitioners.