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Master’s Concentration

Executive Leadership and Governance

Leading a nonprofit or nongovernmental organization of any size requires senior leaders to examine individual and organizational practices and behaviors. In the Executive Leadership and Governance master’s degree concentration, you’ll develop a broad spectrum of tools in leadership, change management, and diversity, equity, and inclusion to better navigate organizational changes and challenges. Enhance your knowledge in board and senior-team leadership, value-centered leadership, strategic direction and planning, and organization culture development.

This program follows the graduate guidelines of the Nonprofit Academic Centers Council (NACC).

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At a Glance

Classes Begin
June 17

Term Length
10 Weeks

Master's Degree

Evening or Online
As few as 18 months

Top-Ranked University

U.S. News & World Report Rankings

Brian Cicero

Talk to an Enrollment Manager

Free Application


University College is committed to educational access, and given the difficult circumstances currently impacting millions of people, we are waiving application fees.

Skills You’ll Learn

Craft leadership development plans using strengths, skills, and behaviors
Evaluate effective leadership to positively impact organizational health and impact
Evaluate organizational capacity, operations, governance, and program implementation


Master of Science in Nonprofit Leadership with a concentration in Executive Leadership and Governance requires completion of 48 credit hours (12 courses).


Core Courses




Elective Courses

Core Courses

Learn the scope of activity, historical development, and future direction of the industry. These courses provide a foundation that you'll draw on throughout your concentration and elective courses. The capstone serves as the culminating academic experience in which you'll explore a problem of practice in your field of study.

NFP 4010 Leading Nonprofit/Nongovernmental Organizations
NFP 4015 Healthy Nonprofit/Nongovernmental Organizations
NFP 4020 Legacy and Trends of Nonprofit Organizations and Civil Society
NFP 4905 Graduate Social Research Methods
NFP 4901 Capstone Project
NFP 4920 Portfolio Capstone
Concentration Courses

Focus on a specific professional area within the larger industry sector and master the skills needed to excel in that area.

NFP 4115 Leading Nonprofit Financial Health
NFP 4200 Executive and Board Roles, Responsibilities and Leadership
NFP 4205 Leading Strategically
NFP 4230 Participatory Evaluation for Program and Community Impact
Elective Courses

Popular electives for students in the Nonprofit Leadership program include:

COMM 4006 Building High-Performing Teams
GS 4040 Managing Across Cultures
ORL 4120 Team Effectiveness and Interventions
HRA 4170 The Inclusive Organization
NFP 4210 Leading Policy and Advocacy
COMM 4220 Conflict Resolution Strategies and Process
NFP 4230 Participatory Evaluation for Program and Community Impact
ORL 4400 Leading Strategic Planning in Organizations
ORL 4530 Leading a Culture of Organizational Innovation

Elective courses may be chosen from among non-core and concentration courses in the academic program, and you may also select courses in other University College graduate programs. Your academic advisor will help you select electives that align with your career and personal goals.

Featured Instructors

Sample Schedule

Plan out your schedule and determine your preferred timeline for completing your master's degree—finish in as few as 18 months or take up to five years.

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Interested in a graduate certificate?

Explore our four and six course graduate certificates in Executive Leadership and Governance.

Take a Course Before You Apply

We know how important it is to get started when you’re ready and that’s why you can enroll in a course before you officially apply.

Career Outcomes

Predicted outcomes for graduates of Executive Leadership and Governance

According to the Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies, nonprofits are creating jobs three times faster than for-profits and is the third largest industry in the U.S.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics found there were nearly 12.3 million jobs in the nonprofit sector, which amounts to 10.2% of employment in the United States. The Colorado Nonprofit Economic Impact study found that nonprofits make 11.3% of the states GDP and accounts for over 333,000 jobs.
Nonprofit leaders are essential to community decision making and will help impact the local economy and workforce.

Job Titles

Nonprofit President
Chief Financial Officer
Chief Operating Officer
Executive Director
Director of Membership
Associate Director

Program Manager Salary: National Average



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Nonprofit Fundraising During Tumultuous Times

These times are tumultuous, yet nonprofit organizations still need to move forward to make the world a better place. How are we navigating our organizations and fundraising programs through this time of uncertainty? Let’s come together and discuss how we all can survive and even thrive in these times. In this session, seasoned nonprofit professionals who are Nonprofit Leadership faculty, will address the challenges of creating a fundraising strategy in the age of COVID-19 and practical tips to make your fundraising program work in times of crisis.

Flexible Online Classes


We understand the demands of balancing work, friends and family, and school can be challenging. That's why at University College, you can complete your program entirely online. Our online learning platform makes it easy to work anywhere at any time.

Online Experience5


Higher Learning Commission

University College programs maintain the highest level of accreditation offered by The Higher Learning Commission, one of the regional accrediting bodies recognized by the federal government. The University of Denver and all of its academic programs are regionally accredited by this commission, and regional accreditation is the highest standard for universities in the United States.

Nonprofit Academic Centers Council
The Nonprofit Leadership program at DU's University College is a proud member of several leading nonprofit associations, including the Nonprofit Academic Centers Council (NACC).



Colorado Nonprofit Association
The University of Denver's Nonprofit Leadership program through University College is proud to be a sponsor of the Colorado Nonprofit Association, a valued community partnership for more than a decade.

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