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Philanthropic Studies, MA

Master of Arts

There are more than 1.6 million nonprofit organizations in the US alone, and these organizations need well-prepared leaders and staff to continue making an impact on millions of lives across the globe. A degree in philanthropic studies prepares you to work in fundraising, grant making, and program management, across a broad range of fields including religion, education, social services, health, arts and culture, animals, the environment, developing countries, and many other worthwhile causes.

The IU Online Master of Arts in Philanthropic Studies--from the world's first school of philanthropy--is a gateway to understanding the social, cultural, political, and economic roles played by philanthropy and nonprofit organizations, and facilitates broad understanding that prepares graduates for leadership practice within the nonprofit sector. Students gain experience in understanding and applying cutting-edge research and develop critical thinking skills about the complex issues confronting the nonprofit sector.

As a student in the program, you explore such topics as the nonprofit and voluntary sectors, civil society and philanthropy, history of American philanthropy, and ethics and values of philanthropy. You also complete an internship in philanthropic studies.

Your IU Online MA in Philanthropic Studies prepares you for such careers as:

  • Director of gift planning 
  • Fundraising consultant 
  • Principal gifts officer 
  • Development director 
  • Director of alumni relations 
  • Director of major gifts and planned giving 
  • Annual giving director 

Degree Requirements

To graduate with the MA in Philanthropic Studies, you must complete 36 credit hours.

Requirements are broken down as follows:

  • Philanthropic studies core courses (27 credit hours) 
  • Elective courses OR master's thesis option (9 credit hours) 


To be accepted to this program, you must have:
  1. A bachelor's degree

    A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university is required with a minimum 3.0 overall grade point average (on a scale of 4.0), and a minimum 3.0 average in your major field. Applicants with a grade point average below 3.0 may still be considered for admission based on the strength of the other portions of the application.

NOTE: This program is authorized, exempt, or not subject to state regulatory compliance and may enroll students from all 50 states

To apply to this program:

Complete an online application that includes:

  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Resume
  • Statement of purpose (500 words)
  • GRE scores from the last five years (for applicants with less than five years of work experience in the field of philanthropy)
  • Additional application materials may be required for international students


ECON-E 514/PHST-P 530Nonprofit Economy and Public Policy3 Credits
PHIL-P 542/PHST-P 532Ethics and Values in Philanthropy/ Applying Ethics in Philanthropy3 Credits
PHST- P 535Law of Nonprofit Organizations3 Credits
PHST-P 515/HIST-H 516History of Philanthropy3 Credits
PHST-P 521Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector3 Credits
PHST-P 524Civil Society and Philanthropy3 Credits
PHST-P 556Grant Making and the Role of Foundations3 Credits
PHST-P 558Principles and Practices of Fundraising3 Credits
PHST-P 590Internship/Directed Off-Site Study3 Credits
PHST-P 518History of International Humanitarian Assistance3 Credits
PHST-P 527Cross Cultural Dimensions of Philanthropy3 Credits
PHST-P 530Variable Topics3 Credits
PHST-P 534Gender and Philanthropy3 Credits

Find course descriptions with our Search Schedule of Classes/Courses tool.

Tuition & Fees

Cost for Indiana Residents
  • Per Credit Hour
  • Tuition: $402.00
  • 3 Credit Hours
  • Tuition: $1206.00
Note:  Additional fees will apply.
Cost for Out of State Residents
  • Per Credit Hour
  • Tuition: $1116.00
  • 3 Credit Hours
  • Tuition: $3348.00
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