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Nonprofit Leadership Studies

The Nonprofit Leadership Studies program is affiliated with the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance (NLA) whose mission is to "strengthen the social sector with a talented, prepared workforce."  

Of the campuses in the affiliation, Murray State's NLS program has been the largest in the nation for many years and has won several distinctions, such as the Excellence in Student Recruitment Award, Excellence in Community Service Award, Excellence in Internships Award and the Excellence in Certifications award.  

To date, the program at Murray State has certified over 900 students, leading all other campuses in the NLA.

Certification Requirements

National Certification in Nonprofit Management and Leadership

and corresponding CNP (Certified Nonprofit Professional) national credential

The Nonprofit Leadership Alliance's National Certification in Nonprofit Management and Leadership and CNP credential represents the achievement of national academic and experiential standards.  These standards were developed and endorsed by the Alliance's National Nonprofit Partners as what they seek in interns and employees.

A student earns the Certification and credential when he/she meets or exceeds competency standards, completes a minimum 300-hour nonprofit internship, conducts leadership and community service projects, and other requirements.


     1.  Core Nonprofit Competencies:  Developed and endorsed by our National Nonprofit Partners, the competencies outline the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to work in and lead nonprofit organizations.  On-campus, the competencies are met through courses, workshops, and hands-on experiential learning.

     2.  Internship:  A minimum 300-hour internship with a nonprofit organization.

     3.  Leadership and Service Activities:  Demonstrated community leadership skills in diverse situations, including activities through an on-campus Alliance Student Association.

    4.  Alliance Management/Leadership Institute (AMI):  The nation's most comprehensive leadership development symposium of students, faculty and nonprofit professionals.  Activities include workshops, networking events and community service projects.

     5.  Baccalaureate Degree:  Students completing their Bachelors degree can Certify upon graduation.  Post-baccalaureate students have already met this requirement.

Student who successfully meet all Certification standards will receive a transcript and printed Certificate.

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