Inclement Weather Expected

Although Marlboro College is not officially closing Tuesday, January 27 given the severity of the weather forecast, staff, faculty, and students are advised to make safety a priority and avoid travel to and from campus if necessary. Public events have been postponed – check the events list for updates. Essential operating staff will be on campus regardless of weather conditions.

MS in Management - Mission Driven Organizations Courses

The MS in Managing Mission-Driven Organizations is a rigorous 36-credit program, with required courses covering project management, fundraising, outcomes & evaluation, financial management, marketing, systems thinking, personal leadership development, and teamwork & collaboration. We have designed the MDO curriculum with reference to the national standards developed by the Nonprofit Academic Centers Council. Electives in topics such as social media strategy, social enterprises, stakeholder communications, working with nonprofit boards, appreciative inquiry and organizational change management give students of varying backgrounds and interests the latitude to customize their course of study. Required, elective, and partner credit courses are listed here, followed by complete course descriptions.

Most of the required MDO classes and electives follow a "blended" model, meaning a mix of face-to-face and online learning. In a 2009 review of research by the US Department of Education, blended learning models were found to be more effective than either wholly face-to-face or wholly online models. Marlboro College Graduate and Professional Studies programs have been committed to blended delivery since the founding of our graduate school in 1997. Learn more at "Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning: A Meta-Analysis and Review of Online Learning Studies" (Download).

Individualized Study

Students will have the opportunity to tailor their individual course of study in three ways:

  • Choosing three 1-credit special topics elective courses which may include: boards and governance, social media for nonprofits, Google Apps for nonprofits, community organizing, and legal and ethical issues.
  • Nine credits of elective courses chosen from among our many degree offerings.
  • The 5-credit capstone project, in which students solve real-world problems in the context of a real organization.

Required Core Courses (25 Credits)

  • MBAS601 - People and Teams (3 credits)
  • MBAS610 - Needs and Wants (3 credits)
  • MBAS621 - Introduction to Systems Thinking (1 credit)
  • MDO602 - Fundraising and Philanthropy (3 credits)
  • MDO604 - Outcomes and Evaluation (3 credits)
  • MDO605 - Project Management (3 credits)
  • MDO606 - Nonprofit Financial Management for Leaders (3 credits)
  • MDO609 - Capstone I: Planning (2 credits)
  • MDO699 - Capstone II: Implementing (4 credits)

Electives (11 Credits)

The MDO program offers 1-credit elective seminars on relevant nonprofit topics, scheduled in response to student needs. In addition, students may choose elective coursework from our MBA in Managing for Sustainability or our MA in Teaching with Technology.  

MDO Seminars (choose at least 2 credits)

  • Social Media Tools (1 credit)
  • Social Media Strategy (3 credits)
  • Organizational Change Management (1 credit)
  • Working with a Nonprofit Board (1 credit)
  • Strategic Planning (1 credit)
  • Understanding the Nonprofit Sector (1 credit)
  • Appreciative Inquiry (1 credit)

Other Electives (choose 9 credits total)

  • NPM601 - Practicum in Nonprofit Management (prerequisite: Certificate in Nonprofit Management series)
  • MBAS605 - Personal Leadership Development Part I, Part II and Part III (3 x 1 credit)
  • MBAS602 - Stakeholder-Based Communication, Persuasian and Negotiation
  • MBAS607 - Caring for the Human Organization (3 credits)
  • MBAS622 - Applied Systems Thinking (2 credits)
  • MBAS624 - Social and Environmental Enterprises (3 credits)
  • MBAS606 - Managerial Economics (3 credits)
  • MBAS613 - Macroeconomics and Political Economy (3 credits)
  • MAT603 - Web Design and Media Production (3 credits)
  • MAT605 - Digital Research Technologies (3 credits)
  • MAT606 - Legal and Ethical Issues in Educational Technology (1 credit)
  • MAT614 - Facilitating Online Learning (3 credits)
  • MAT616 - Games and Simulation (3 credits)
  • EDU620 - Clear Writing Workshop (1 credit, offered every term)

Partner Courses as Electives: The Vermont Leadership Institute

The Vermont Leadership Institute  is a highly-regarded leadership development program administered by the Snelling Center for Government. Marlboro College Graduate & Professional Studies and the Snelling Center are natural partners, working together to cultivate leaders with a strong moral compass, keen emotional intelligence, tested tools for collaboration, and a smart systems-thinking perspective.

With prior approval of the MDO program chair, VLI associates may earn up to 9 graduate credits through Marlboro College. VLI is a selective cross-sector program that consists of eight overnight sessions totaling nineteen seminar days between September and June. Each in-person day requires approximately 10 hours of preparation outside of class, including readings, community interviews, journaling and other work, for a total of 342 hours of student work.

Students seeking to earn credit through completion of VLI must first be accepted into VLI, and then must complete learning portfolios for MDO631: Emotional Intelligence for Leaders (3 credits); MDO632 Public Policy and Systems Change in Vermont (3 credits); and MDO633 Community, Collaboration and Change (3 credits). These courses count as electives for the MDO program.


  • A completed BA or BS degree from an accredited college or university.
  • Basic Excel and Powerpoint skills (or equivalent knowledge in Google Apps).

Marlboro College does not recognize the GRE as an indicator of likely success in professional programs and does not require it. Decisions on admission will be based on your transcripts, letters of recommendation and personal essay. The application process and details are available online.


Weekend Intensive Schedule

All required master's courses meet for one weekend "intensive" a month, 3 to 4 times per trimester, for a total of 10 months a year, at the Marlboro College Graduate Center in Brattleboro, Vermont. Many of our students commute from afar and choose to spend the entire class weekend in southern Vermont. Intensive weekends may begin with an elective class on Friday followed by a social gathering, a community lunch on Saturday, and advising and community circle time Saturday afternoon. Classes conclude by 4 pm on Sunday to allow for a return commute.

The intensive weekends are listed under our Academic Calendar.

Sample Study Plans

The degree chair works with each student to craft an individualized study plan reflective of the student's interests and needs. You can browse sample study plans online.


Course Descriptions

MS Managing Mission-Driven Organizations

Required Courses