Graduate Certificate in the Non-Profit Sector

The Graduate Certificate in the Nonprofit Sector offered by the Department of Sociology and Anthropology is designed for college graduates who wish to understand the role and operation of nonprofit organizations. The certificate is awarded by UMBC and has been approved by the Maryland Higher Education Commission.

The four courses in the certificate program provide an understanding of the roles of nonprofit organizations in American society, their methods of operation, research methods used to evaluate nonprofit programs, and substantive areas in which many nonprofits provide services.

Program Features

  • Students may begin the program in the fall or spring semester
  • Open to students with a bachelor's degree in any undergraduate major
  • Courses may be applied to the Master of Arts program in Applied Sociology if admitted
  • Evening courses one day per week, Monday through Thursday, 4:30-7:00pm or 7:10-9:40pm

Admission Requirements

  • Bachelor's degree from an accredited institution
  • Overall GPA of 3.0 (on 4 point scale) or appropriate work experience
  • GREs are not required
  • New students: Apply here. Students already in a graduate program at UMBC should apply here.
  • November 15 is the deadline for spring admission (October 15 for best consideration) and June 1 for fall admission (April 1 for best consideration).

Program Requirements

A total of four courses are required to complete the certificate program. A prerequisite for all courses is admission to the certificate program or the M.A. program in Applied Sociology. Other prerequisites may apply for individual courses. At least three courses must be designated Sociology courses. At least three courses must be taken at UMBC.

Required Courses

SOCY 681: The Social and Institutional Roles of Nonprofit Organizations in American Society. [3] This course describes the history, organization, and functions of nonprofit organizations in American society. Topics include the functions of the nonprofit, government, and for-profit sectors; the history of the social roles of volunteerism and nonprofit organizations; the impact of nonprofit organizations on American society, and the changing roles of the three sectors in the 21st century. Prerequisite: admission to certificate or graduate program. This course is offered in the fall semester.

SOCY 685: Structure and Function of Nonprofit Organizations. [3] This course analyzes the internal operations of nonprofit organizations and external relationships that nonprofit organizations need to develop. Topics include nonprofit financial systems, budgeting requirements, relationships with the funding community, interactions with government, and effective use of human resources. Prerequisite: admission to certificate or graduate program. This course is offered in the spring semester.

Additional Course Requirements

One three credit graduate course in social research methods or statistics (choose one):

  • SOCY 600: Research Methodology [3]
    Prerequisite: An undergraduate course in statistics in any department in any college.
  • SOCY 604: Statistical Analysis [3]
    Prerequisite: SOCY 600
  • SOCY 618: SAS for Social Scientists [3]
  • SOCY 619: Qualitative Methods in Social Research [3]

One three credit graduate course in a substantive area of sociology or other relevant discipline. All sociology graduate courses in substantive areas of sociology qualify. The Graduate Program Director may accept courses in other departments upon a written request from the student.

Master of Arts in Applied Sociology

Students completing the Nonprofit Sector certificate can apply to the M.A. program in Applied Sociology at any time and, if admitted, may count the certificate courses toward the M.A. degree. The M.A. program prepares students for careers in research and program development and evaluation in the social aspects of health, aging, and selected areas of inequality, diversity, gender, and culture, as well as applied research methods. It is open to full-time and part-time students and all courses are offered one evening each week, Monday through Thursday, at 4:30-7:00pm and 7:10-9:40pm. Students can enter the program in the fall or spring semester. The program is 10 courses, and a full-time course load is three courses per semester. Part-time students take one or two courses per semester. Admission requirements include an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 and GRE scores. A full description of the program is available here.

For more details, contact Dr. John Schumacher, Graduate Program Director, at 410-455-3184 or at