MSSP/Master of Science in Nonprofit Leadership

This dual degree program combines the efforts of social policy and nonprofit leadership to support students passionate about social policy, practice, and impact through government entities, nonprofits, and social enterprises. The MSSP/NPL builds on a practical and theoretical foundation to prepare students to:

  • Start and lead nonprofit organizations in the local, national, and global social impact spheres
  • Use policy research, evaluation, and analysis to increase equity, promote justice, and forge social change

The MSSP/NPL dual degree program allows students to earn both degrees by completing a total of 15 courses (CUs). This is done by cross-counting up to five courses between the MSSP and NPL degrees. Completed individually, the MSSP requires 10 credits and the NPL requires 10 credits.

Students can count up to two MSSP courses as NPL outside electives and up to three NPL courses as MSSP electives. Full-time dual degree students can complete the MSSP/NPL program in three semesters, usually by studying during summer semesters. Part-time dual degree students can complete the MSSP/NPL program in up to eight semesters. There is flexibility in both full- and part-time scheduling. The Administrative and Associate Directors of the NPL and MSSP programs will collaborate to review course choices and create an individual academic plan for dual degree students.

Application Process

Students apply to the NPL and the MSSP simultaneously fulfilling the application requirements for each degree program and indicating an interest in the MSSP/NPL. Upon acceptance into the MSSP and NPL programs, the applicant will be admitted to the dual degree program. Students may use the same letters of recommendation providing the referees address the dual degree interests.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Students pay tuition to SP2 throughout their program. Both programs offer limited tuition scholarship support for meritorious students and accounts for financial need. SP2 makes funding decisions based solely on the information in the application for admission. Students are notified on funding decisions at the point of admission. Awards will be applied in consideration of the dual degree.

MSSP Internship & NPL Practicum

The MSSP program includes a social policy internship. Students have the opportunity to practice their policy analysis skills and gain work experience through the internship which generally will take place during the summer (mid-May to August), although the timing is flexible to some extent. Occasionally a student will complete the internship during the fall or the spring semester. The internship is structured on the basis of individual student interests and past social policy experience(s). Internships may occur anywhere in the United States or in another country, whichever is best suited to the learning objectives of the student. The internship MUST be policy related.

The NPL program includes a leadership practicum that is an integral part of the experiential learning for all NPL students, which builds upon core competencies and principles of leadership developed in the classroom. It consists of:

  • a supervised mentoring and leadership development experience
  • a partnership with the goal of learning about the organization and providing student support on various levels that can include strategic planning, succession planning, branding or marketing, development and philanthropy, or other targeted projects; and

For the dual degree, the MSSP internship can count for the leadership practicum as long as it meets the minimum practicum requirement of 180 hours and includes mentoring by an executive director or senior level leader at an appropriate organization.

Proposed Course of Study

1MSSP 62811Fall IFulfills NPL outside elective
2MSSP 6681-Fall I
3MSSP 6301-Fall I
4MSSP 6291-Fall I
5MSSP Theory Elective11Fall IFulfills NPL outside elective
6NPL 762 or NPL 59711Spring I or Summer IFulfills MSSP 631
6.5MSSP 6320.5-Spring I
7.5MSSP 8971-Spring I
8.5NPL Core11Spring IFulfills MSSP outside elective
9.5NPL Core11Spring IFulfills MSSP outside elective
10.5NPL Elective-1Summer I
11.5NPL Core-1Fall II
12.5NPL Elective-1Fall II
13.5NPL Elective-1Fall II
14.5NPL Elective-1Fall II
15MSSP 6330.5-Fall II


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