Jun 16, 2024  
2022-2023 SGPP Catalog and Handbook 
2022-2023 SGPP Catalog and Handbook [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Philanthropy and Development, M.A.

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Program Description

The Philanthropy and Development Program curriculum focuses on the transformational role a philanthropy professional plays in today’s society by utilizing innovative and ethical fundraising strategies.  Saint Mary’s is one of the only programs in North America to focus curriculum on donor-centered communication as it relates to stewardship and donor engagement.  The program remains one of the most unique and innovative master’s programs in the country.

The program is designed for experienced philanthropy professionals who, shaped by their ethical values, embrace the opportunity to become agents of change in the community through the stewardship of philanthropic resources.

Program Outcomes

Upon completion of the program, graduates are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the significance of philanthropy within a global society.
  2. Exhibit the leadership skills and governance oversight necessary to achieve the mission and vision of nonprofit organizations.
  3. Incorporate an ethical perspective and knowledge of legal requirements and regulations into all leadership, development, and philanthropic activities.
  4. Employ critical components of a development operation to identify, cultivate, solicit, and steward donors.
  5. Evaluate nonprofit performance and outcomes in order to meet financial goals of the organization.  
  6. Develop a nuanced understanding of communications within the nonprofit sector.

Program Structure and Delivery

The program consists of 30 semester credits, completed over four semesters in 13 months. The program includes two summer residencies consisting of 12 days on campus.

  • 18 credits of blended coursework during two summer session residencies of two weeks each.
  • 12 credits of remote coursework completed between summer session residencies.

Degree Requirements

Required courses: 30 cr.


The faculty includes some of the top U.S. and international practitioners and leading consultants. Faculty are selected for their combination of educational and professional expertise. Employing adult learning theories and techniques, the program faculty fosters dialogue and sharing of experience among all in the learning community. Students have opportunities to interact with faculty in the formal context of a class, online, and in informal settings during the residency.

Admission Requirements

Applicants may apply for admission to master degree programs at any time during the year; however, the Philanthropy and Development program course cycle starts in summer only. Preferred applicants are practicing and emerging leaders in a relevant field within a nonprofit or grantmaking organization.

Applicants must have completed an undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution and maintained an overall grade point average of 2.75 on a 4.00 scale. Applicants must demonstrate the language proficiency necessary for graduate work.

Application Process

Applicants must submit the following:

  1. Completed application form with the nonrefundable application fee (fee not required for alumni or students seeking readmission or veterans and active military personnel), and
  2. An official transcript(s) issued to Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota from the institution posting the applicant’s completed bachelor degree and other relevant transcripts documenting program prerequisites and potential transfer credits.  (An official transcript is one that is sent to the university by the credit-granting institution. Transcripts from countries other than the U.S. must be evaluated on a course by course basis by a university accepted evaluation service, such as World Education Services, Educational Credential Evaluators, Educational Perspectives, or One Earth International Credential Evaluators and be deemed equivalent to accredited U.S. university standards).  Evaluations from an approved member of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES.org) will also be accepted.
  3. A reflective essay which includes the following:
  • a.  brief description of the applicant’s background, training, and experience; and
  • b.  statement indicating the career goals of the applicant and their reasons for seeking admission to the program.
  1. Two recommendations from current or former colleagues who can verify the applicant’s experience and address the applicant’s skills in nonprofit volunteer or professional work and their academic ability.  References may submit either a letter of recommendation or arrange a phone call with the Program Director.
  2. A current résumé listing educational background and work experience.

Please Note: Application materials should be sent to the attention of the Office of Admission on the Twin Cities Campus.

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota
Office of Admission
2500 Park Ave S
Minneapolis, MN  55404

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