May 29, 2024  
Graduate Catalog 2023 - 2024 
Graduate Catalog 2023 - 2024

Nonprofit Administration and Leadership, MNAL

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Maxine Goodman School of Urban Affairs


Nonprofit organizations are distinct from business and government in that they blend private structures with public purposes. Effective managers need an understanding of the structure and processes of nonprofits and how they interact with public and private institutions.

The Master of Nonprofit Administration and Leadership (MNAL) is a two-year degree designed to prepare students with knowledge of core management functions and competencies such as fundraising, financial management, human resource management, philanthropy, proposal writing, program development, program evaluation and applied management.

Nonprofit management, administration, and leadership is a rapidly growing career field in high demand. This degree program draws on the strengths of leading scholars and practitioners with expertise in human resources, volunteerism, philanthropy and the political character of nonprofits in civil society.

The MNAL is an interdisciplinary collaboration of the School of Urban Affairs, the College of Business, and the School of Social Work as well as other programs at Cleveland State University. This degree provides students with the tools to build management skills and knowledge of nonprofits in order to improve their employment opportunities, advance in their organization, or to make a career change.

Research Units

Students have the opportunity to work with the faculty and staff in the research, public-service, and training centers of the College of Public Affairs and Education. See for information on facilities.

Current faculty information can be located on the Cleveland State University Faculty Profile page.

Career Information

The School of Urban Affairs, through the Public Affairs Student Services Center and the faculty, provides a variety of services related to career planning to help students and graduates find employment related to their program of study. Current job postings are maintained on the School website. Cleveland State’s Office of Career Development and Exploration also provides graduate students and alumni with career advice and career-development assistance, including resume review.

Financial Assistance

For fullest consideration, GA applicants should submit the School of Urban Affairs GA application and be admitted with degree-seeking status by February 15.

Student employment opportunities are available to eligible degree-seeking students. Internship information is available through the Public Affairs Student Services Center and student employment information is available through the CSU Office of Career Development and Exploration.

Admission Information

Applicants to the Master of Nonprofit Administration and Leadership Program must meet the minimum requirements established by the College of Graduate Studies and the MNAL program faculty:

  1. A minimum undergraduate grade-point average of 3.0.
  2. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores, with an average GRE Verbal and Quantitative score at the 40th percentile, and an Analytical Writing score of at least 4.0. For information about applying for waiver of the GRE requirement please visit
  3. Students with a graduate degree from an accredited U.S. college or university are exempted from this requirement. Other standardized tests may be substituted at the discretion of the Program Director.
  4. Two letters of recommendation, using the Recommendation Form for Graduate Admission.
  5. Applicants are asked to describe their motivation to pursue a Master of Nonprofit Administration and Leadership (MNAL) degree at CSU and describe what prepares them to be successful in the program and their career moving forward. The essay should be no more than two single-spaced pages and no less than one single-spaced page.
  6. Non-native English speakers who do not have an earned bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited U.S. institution must demonstrate proof of English-language proficiency as indicated in under “Admission Requirements for International Students  and Permanent Residents” in this catalog.

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Types of Admission

The academic status of a graduate degree-seeking applicant is determined after a review of admission credentials. Graduate Program Committees, in concurrence with the Office of Graduate Admissions, may recommend admission of applicants as regular or conditional graduate students. Please refer to the Admissions  section of this catalog for information on admission categories.

Admission for CSU Honors College Graduates

The School of Urban Affairs offers expedited admissions for students graduating through Cleveland State University’s Honors College. Interested students should contact the Graduate Programs Coordinator ( for details. 

Program Requirements

The curriculum for the MNAL program consists of a minimum of 39 credits, divided into core courses, electives, and a capstone.

Elective Credit

Students have 3 courses (9-12 credit hours) available for electives and should consult with the Graduate Advisor to choose electives and plan their schedules. Electives are designed to enhance current skills or fill gaps in substantive areas. Students are encouraged to take advantage of special topics courses taught by Urban Affairs faculty, and complete an internship if they are not service professionals. Paid and unpaid internships are arranged through the Urban Affairs Office of Student and Enrollment Services.

Transfer Credit

Upon satisfactory completion of 12 or more credit hours of graduate coursework at Cleveland State University, degree-seeking students may transfer up to 3 courses from an accredited college or university. Transfer credit is subject to Program Director approval, and must meet all University requirements for transfer credit (please refer to Regulations and Requirements ).

The 5-year BA+MNAL Program

See the Nonprofit Administration and Leadership, Accelerated 4+1 BA/MNAL  page.

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