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UCF’s Master of Nonprofit Management (MNM) has been a trailblazer when it comes to “firsts.” It was the first graduate degree to be offered online, and it was the first program to be authorized for an out-of-state cohort. Now, the degree has hit another milestone — it’s the first standalone nonprofit management degree in the world to be accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA).

NASPAA found the degree to be within substantial conformity of its standards, and granted the accreditation for a seven-year term beginning September 1.

“The accreditation of our Master of Nonprofit Management is a significant milestone for our program and for the professionalization of the field of nonprofit management,” said Mary Ann Feldheim, associate professor and director of the MNM program. “NASPAA accreditation demonstrates our program's commitment to the field of nonprofit management by demonstrating our advancement to the knowledge, research and practice of public service.”

NASPAA accreditation is considered the global standard for public service programs at the graduate level. The organization has accredited more than 200 degrees around the world, including the Master of Public Administration that is also housed within the School of Public Administration (SPA). Those degrees have been in public administration, public policy or public affairs, but to be more inclusive, NASPAA has decided to include nonprofit management degrees in the accreditation process.

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“In 2016, NASPAA’s executive council adopted a resolution to ‘make NASPAA more inclusive of nonprofit all the way to the core of public service education,’” said Laurel McFarland, executive director of NASPAA. “We are pleased to reiterate this commitment as we welcome nonprofit management programs into the community of NASPAA-accredited programs.”

The accreditation follows the MNM’s 2019 U.S. News & World Report ranking at No. 12, which is five spots higher than its previous ranking. The MNM is also the second degree within SPA to be accredited this year. The Master of Science in Urban and Regional Planning received accreditation from the Planning Accreditation Board in May.

The UCF Master of Nonprofit Management prepares students for professional public service leadership in the nonprofit sector through a competency-based curriculum set on a foundation of ethical principles, community engagement and scholarship that creates usable, relevant knowledge to address complex societal issues in Central Florida and beyond.