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Nonprofit and NGO Studies

The Nonprofit and NGO Studies (NNGO) program was created for students who want to make a difference in the world by having a paying career working for nonprofit organizations or in the fields of philanthropy, public service or community engagement.  You can opt to pursue Nonprofit and NGO studies as a major, minor or certificate. That gives you the flexibility to pursue your passion for service in addition to other interests.

Nonprofit and NGO Studies prepares the next generation of global problem solvers

The Nonprofit and NGO Studies major is one-of a-kind in Illinois and among only a select few in the United States. It is interdisciplinary, meaning that students are exposed to a wide variety of topics such as sociology, public administration, communication, political science and anthropology. This interdisciplinary approach gives students a varied, yet solid, foundation when helping communities help themselves.

Your experience goes beyond the classroom. Working closely with faculty, you will participate in hands-on community projects that will give you professional experience, apply what you’ve learned in the classroom and provide networking opportunities that will help you secure an internship or even a job.

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What can I do with this degree?

A Nonprofit and NGO Studies degree leads graduates on a pathway to careers in the nonprofit sector, one of the fastest growing job sectors in the United States and offers a wide variety of career opportunities.

Many of the jobs found in the nonprofit sector are nearly identical to those in the for-profit sector. For example, an accountant or information technology specialist position does not vary much depending on sector. Other positions, however, are distinctive to the nonprofit sector, such as volunteer coordinator or fundraising manager. Typical jobs in a nonprofit organization can be classified in the following broad categories:

  • Senior Management
    • Job Titles: Executive Director, Associate Director, Chief Operating Officer
  • Programs and Service Delivery
    • Job Titles: Program Coordinator, Program Associate, Project Manager, Director of Special Initiatives 
  • Administration, Human Resources and Finance
    • Job Titles: Accountant, Administrative Assistant, Office Manager, Human Resources Manager, Information Technology Manager
  • Development and Fundraising  
    • Job Titles: Grant Writer, Director of Major Gifts, Donor Relations Manager, Coordinator of Planned Giving
  • Communications
    • Job Titles: Graphic Designer, Publicist, Community Outreach Specialist, Marketing Associate, Public Relations Manager, Social Media Coordinator

Hands-on learning

Through service learning, research opportunities, volunteerism, internships, and study abroad programs, Nonprofit and NGO Studies students gain practical experiences to supplement traditional curriculum. This allows students to merge theory with practice, develop skills, and build their resumes with meaningful activities both in and out of the classroom.

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Degree Information

The Center for Nonprofit and NGO Studies offers both a B.A. and a B.S. degree for a major in nonprofit and NGO studies that is designed primarily for students seeking a career in public affairs in government or in the nonprofit sector. Nonprofit and NGO studies is a hands-on, interdisciplinary program that draws from areas such as anthropology, sociology, public administration, communication and political science. Each student must complete 18 hours of required courses of the major along with a personal area of interest.

Students can explore a personal area of interest or emphasis through elective courses selected under the guidance of an advisor. You can deepen your understanding of nonprofit and NGO Studies through the lens of arts and culture, environmental issues, global topics, social advocacy and other areas. 

Additional program requirements can be found in the NIU Undergraduate Catalog.


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Contact Information 

Contact information
The Center for Nonprofit and NGO Studies
Zulauf Hall 114
(815) 753-4410
niu.edu/nonprofit
Email: nonprofitNGOcenter@niu.edu