Help contribute to the quality of life in Canada through the nonprofit and voluntary sector. Nonprofits and charities engage residents and develop communities, provide important programs and services, and contribute to innovation and change. Nonprofits support, excite, and connect us to work together on shared visions for our future.

Learn directly from knowledgeable instructors who have experience with the subject matter and understand the diverse and growing range of nonprofit organizations in Canada.

We created this distinctive interdisciplinary certificate program to respond to the growing demand for education that focuses on the specific needs of the sector. Launched in 1998, this was the first interdisciplinary university certificate program in nonprofit and voluntary sector management in Canada.  

Three quarters of respondents to an Ontario survey commented that a certificate program like this one was very effective in helping individuals prepare for leadership roles in the sector. In a recent survey, our graduates identified the content and structure of the program as key highlights, with a variety of course delivery methods (in-class, online, and hybrid) and content that is relevant, up-to-date, challenging, informative, and insightful. More than 80 percent said they had applied what they learned in their workplace with positive impacts. All respondents said they would recommend the program.

This certificate can be completed entirely online, through in-class courses, or through a combination of online and in-class learning.

What Will You Learn?

Take a wide range of relevant management-focused in-class or online courses that blend theory and practice.

Cover key areas of nonprofit and voluntary sector management, including:

  • leadership
  • marketing
  • financial management
  • advocacy and government relations
  • strategic planning
  • evaluation
  • organizational management and change
  • diversity
  • issues in the sector
  • international NGOs

The program’s interdisciplinary curriculum pools knowledge from Ryerson University’s Faculty of Arts and the Ted Rogers School of Management.

Who Should Take This Certificate?

You may be interested in this certificate program if you are:

  • Interested in pursuing a career in the nonprofit and voluntary sector.
  • Interested in moving up to a leadership role in a nonprofit or charity.
  • Experienced in the nonprofit sector and want to deepen and broaden your knowledge and learn some specific skills you haven’t learned on the job.  
  • Interested in moving into the charitable sector from the business or public sector.
  • Involved in the development of a nonprofit and want to ensure it has a solid foundation for success.
  • Interested in developing relationships and partnerships with nonprofit organizations from a base in the public, institutional, and private sectors.
  • An undergraduate student interested in completing courses or a minor in the nonprofit sector.

You may choose to complete this certificate online, through in-class courses, or through a combination of online and in-class learning.

Who Teaches the Courses?

Our instructors bring applied expertise to every course. They are experienced and knowledgeable, and understand the diverse and growing range of nonprofit organizations in Canada. They have direct, practical, and hands-on experience with their subject matter and give students a meaningful learning experience.

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Industry and Careers

Canada’s nonprofit sector is:

  • One of the fastest growing sectors for employment, growing at a faster rate than the economy as a whole over the last 20 years.
  • More valuable to Canada’s GDP than the agriculture sector and retail sector, and close to the value of the mining, oil, and gas extraction sector.
  • 2.6 percent of the GDP in Ontario – the same as the automotive sector.
  • A greater source of employment for Canadians than construction and finance, insurance, and real estate employers.
  • Comprised of an estimated 180,000 formal organizations, of which about 85,000 are charities.
  • An employer of over 2 million people, with more than 13 million volunteers.

Nonprofit organizations are diverse. They operate in all areas: health, law, sports, arts, unions and more – and in communities across the country. They range from small organizations with volunteers or a single employee to large organizations such as hospitals, museums, universities, unions, and professional associations. Many nonprofits operate social enterprises – businesses that provide employment with a social purpose and some provide opportunities for people who face employment barriers.

You will find the sector operating around the world, through large organizations such as the International Red Cross and OXFAM and smaller nonprofits working with children or youth in local communities. The scope of activities in this exciting sector varies greatly, and offers many opportunities to explore.

Our graduates may find work in:

  • local, national, and international nonprofits
  • charitable organizations
  • sector-wide organizations
  • think tanks
  • government
  • the media
  • private sector foundations

Roles include: leadership and management; administration; program development and delivery; engagement; research and policy; volunteer management; advocacy and government relations; communications; and marketing and fund development.

Certificate Requirements

  • 4 required courses
  • 4 electives
  • Cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 1.67+
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Note: All courses in the certificate are undergraduate level credit courses.

All courses in this certificate are offered online and in class.

Admission Criteria 

Recommended:

  • Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent
    • With 6 Grade 12 U or M credits

OR

  • Mature student status

Recommended Course Sequence

We recommend you start with CINP 900 and CINP 901, as these courses provide the foundation for the rest of the certificate.

CINP 920 has prerequisites and students generally take it later in the program.

All courses are offered online and in the classroom. Some courses may also be offered in a hybrid format.

Awards and Financial Aid

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is it difficult to enrol in courses? Do I have to get academic transcripts?

No. Course enrolment is open to adults as mature students or to those who have completed high school. You do not need to submit academic transcripts if you apply as a mature student.

Do I have to belong to, or work in, a nonprofit organization to register?

No. The program is open to anyone interested in the sector. Most students have connections with nonprofit organizations – as volunteers, staff, or board members – or work in areas that bring them into contact with nonprofits and charities.

Do I have to register for the certificate to take courses?

We recommend that you register for the certificate at the same time that you register for your first courses.

However, you can enrol in courses without registering for the certificate program. Please remember that if you want to graduate with the certificate, you must register before you have completed 50 percent of the courses.

I have a specific interest, can I only take a course or two?

If you wish to upgrade your skills in specific areas, especially if you already have experience in other aspects of nonprofit management, you may choose to take only one or two courses in the certificate. (However, we hope that you will enjoy the learning experience and sign up for the certificate!)

Those wishing to graduate with an official certificate must register in the certificate program, take eight courses and complete the program within the allotted time frame.

When and how are classes offered?

Classes are offered in the Fall term (September–December), Winter term (January–April), and Spring/Summer term (May–July). They are 13 weeks long.

Please check individual courses for more information.

Are all classes available in the classroom or online?

All of the classes are available online and in the classroom. You can complete the certificate either way, or through a combination of online and in-class courses. The required courses are offered in classroom and online versions each year. Not every elective course is available every year – you will need to check the schedule and plan your course selection.  

Do I have to enrol in the courses starting with CINP 900 before moving up to the higher numbered courses?

No, but you are strongly encouraged to start the certificate by taking CINP 900 and CINP 901 because these courses provide a foundation about the nonprofit sector and nonprofit organizations. This will be helpful for the other courses, but it is not a requirement.

You may enrol in any course you feel you need or are interested in. The only restriction to enrolling in courses is the existence of course prerequisites. CINP 920 cannot be taken until you have completed CINP 900, CINP 901, and either CINP 902 or CINP 915.

How long does it take to complete the program?

Students have up to five years to complete the eight-course certificate.  

Depending on each student’s circumstances and the availability of courses, the time for completion will vary. It depends on how many courses you are able to take in one term, as well as how many terms per year you enrol in courses. Remember that you will need to balance your studies, work, and personal life. The quickest time to complete the program would be three terms (one academic year) but this will depend on the course schedule.  

We encourage you to pace yourself so that you have time to absorb the curriculum materials from each course. If you are unsure whether you can manage more than one course at a time, we suggest you take one course and assess the workload with your other responsibilities.

How much does the program cost?

Each course is priced separately, so you will need to look at the course you’re interested in to determine its cost. The certificate program requires eight courses in total.

Can I take online courses even if I live close to Ryerson?

Yes! Online courses are open to anyone. Many students who live in or near Toronto and choose to take a combination of online and in-class courses. You can complete the entire certificate program online, whether you live in the Greater Toronto Area or elsewhere in Canada or beyond.

How do online classes work?

Online courses are organized on a weekly basis and are asynchronous (meaning you go to the course website and read and interact with your classmates at your own pace during that week). You don’t have to commit to sitting in front of your computer at an assigned time each week. However, you do need to commit to weekly readings, individual and group assignments, and interaction with your fellow classmates on the discussion board.

If you are enrolled in an online course, you will need self-discipline to keep up with the workload. No one is looking over your shoulder and there isn’t that weekly meeting with the instructor in the classroom to motivate you to keep up!

What are “hybrid” courses?

Hybrid courses are taught through a combination of in-class and online instruction. One typical model is for the class to meet in person three times over a term – three Saturdays spaced about three to four weeks apart – with the rest of the teaching online. These courses also include opportunities for online discussions and other activities.

What types of learning methods are used in the courses?

It varies by course, but each course offers some combination of:

  • group work
  • case studies
  • presentations
  • discussions
  • assignments, papers, essays
  • tests and exams

How many hours per week will I have to spend on coursework?

This will vary from course to course and week to week. Some weeks you may have less required work to do while in other weeks there will be more. It is estimated that students will spend about three hours per week on online course modules and discussions or in the classroom and a further three hours per week on course readings and course work. Assignments and exams are in addition to these estimates.

Is this certificate program recognized in the broader academic and nonprofit community?

All of the courses in the program are university-level and degree-credit. There is general recognition of the program in the sector, and many managers frequently direct employees – or would-be employees – to the certificate program.

Can you tell me more about the students in this program?

There is no “typical” student in this program. Students range in age, educational background, and experience, but are connected by their interest in the nonprofit and voluntary sector. The diversity of the student body contributes to sharing, learning, and networking.

Contact Us

Questions? Contact Caryl Arundel, Academic Coordinator.

Email:  acnonprofit@ryerson.ca

Additional Details

Courses

You may only select one of CINP 902 or CINP 915.