Graduate Programs

Degree Programs

Philanthropic Studies

The Master of Arts in Philanthropic Studies focuses on the history, culture, and values of philanthropy. Its objectives are: to enable students to gain the knowledge and skills either to pursue further graduate study in relevant fields or to pursue careers in the independent sector or in related fields; to enable students to investigate the broader theoretical issues of philanthropy and of their chosen areas of specialization from a variety of disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives; and to utilize the interdisciplinary base to maintain a thorough critical inquiry into the historical and cultural implications of philanthropy.


Requirements include a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, a minimum grade point average of 3.0 on a scale of 4.0, and a minimum grade point average of 3.0 in the student’s major field. In addition, students seeking admission to the program should demonstrate an appropriate level of achievement on the Graduate Record Examination (or comparable proficiency test), and must arrange for three letters of recommendation to be addressed to the M.A. Program Admissions Committee.

Applicants who do not meet all of the requirements listed above may be admitted to the program on a provisional basis, in which case their status will be reviewed after a fixed period of time to determine whether they may continue in the program.

Application Deadlines

Those students who are not U.S. citizens must submit their application materials no later than January 1. Students seeking financial aid must apply by February 1. The priority deadline for all others is April 15, but the Center will accept applications untilJuly 15, if space is available.

The deadline for Spring admission is November 15. International applicants must apply by October 15.

Please note: Spring admission is only recommended for applicants who have completed SPEA V521/PHST P521, "The Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector" course OR any equivalent graduate level introductory course in Nonprofit Management or Philanthropic studies from another university. If you have any questions about this policy, please contact Student Services,

Scholarships and financial aid

Fellowships, scholarships, and graduate assistantships are available. Please contact Student Services at the Center on Philanthropy.  For a complete listing of fellowships and scholarships please visit the Web site at


The M.A. in Philanthropic Studies requires a total of 36 credit hours. This includes 18 credit hours of core courses, 9 credit hours of elective courses, and 6 credit hours of thesis or additional courses. A minimum of 18 credit hours in core and elective courses combined must be in the School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, and not more than 9 credit hours may be taken in courses numbered below 500. These 9 credit hours may come only from courses approved for Graduate School credit. In addition, the student earns 6 credit hours either for a thesis on a topic approved by the M.A. Program Advisory Committee or for graduate-level courses in a field in which future study is planned. The approval process for the thesis or its alternative normally takes place after a student has successfully completed 15 credit hours of course work.

In order to earn the M.A. in philanthropic studies, students must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a scale of 4.0. Grades in courses counting for credit toward this degree may be no lower than C (2.0 on a scale of 4.0).

The 18 credit hours of core courses normally include Philanthropic Studies P521 The Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector; Philanthropic Studies P523 Civil Society and Philanthropy; History of Philanthropy H516 History of Philanthropy in the U.S; Philosophy P542 Ethics and Values of Philanthropy ; and Philanthropic Studies P590 Internship in Philanthropic Studies. In addition, students will take one of the following: Philanthropic Studies P530 Cross-Cultural Dimensions; SPEA V524 Civil Society in Comparative Perspective; or Religion R590 Religion and Philanthropy. Also, students must take either Economics E514 The Nonprofit Economy and Public Policy or Philanthropic Studies P535 Law of Nonprofit Organizations, as well as P600 M.A. Thesis in Philanthropic Studies if completing a thesis (6 cr.).

Dual Degrees

The philanthropic studies program has developed dual-degree opportunities with several schools and departments. When approved, a dual degree provides a student with a program of study that leads to the M.A. in philanthropic studies and a master’s degree in another discipline. Students must apply separately and simultaneously for a dual degree.
  • Economics (M.A. in Economics)
  • History (M.A. in History)
  • Nursing (M.S. in Nursing Administration)
  • School of Library and Information Sciences (M.L.S.)
  • School of Public and Environmental Affairs (M.P.A.) in Nonprofit Management)
  • Library Science (M.S. in Library Science)
For more information, contact Student Services in the Center on Philanthropy at (317) 278-8911.
Executive M.A. in Philanthropic Studies Program

Many students interested in the M.A. program are unable to attend on a traditional residential basis because of the distance from Indianapolis and their ongoing job responsibilities. To provide access to the M.A. in Philanthropic Studies at Indiana University for this growing constituency, the executive master’s program was established in 1996. A participant in the executive master’s program can finish the requirements for the degree usually in three years by completing an orientation before the first day of classes; six or seven intense one-week sessions of residential study at IUPUI; distance education and directed off-site course work; and elective study at a qualified institution near the student’s home.

Normally, each summer course requires one week of intense on-campus study and is preceded by a preresidential period of approximately six weeks that includes preparatory reading and assignments. Each session is followed by a postresidential period that includes evaluative experiences to be completed at home. During both the preresidential and postresidential periods, faculty work with students by telephone, e-mail, fax, and mail.
Applicants for the executive program are not required to take the GRE. Otherwise the admission criteria are the same as for those applying for the residential program with the addition of three to five years of work experience in the nonprofit sector. Deadline dates for admission are January 1 for non–U.S. citizens and February 1 for U.S. citizens.

For more information, contact the Center on Philanthropy, (317) 278-8911, or visit the Web site at

Doctor of Philosophy in Philanthropic Studies

Doctor of Philosophy in Philanthropic Studies

Philanthropic studies is a field of inquiry built upon an interdisciplinary theoretical examination of philanthropy, while also providing an understanding of the individual side of philanthropic behavior and the structures that support voluntary activity. The interdisciplinary approach to philanthropic studies allows for the treatment of the distinct characteristics of philanthropy and the nonprofit sector. The methodologies of the social sciences, the humanities, and professional disciplines are applied to understanding the processes of giving and volunteering  and of volunteer involvement and fundraising from the organizational perspective. Research in this field will build the knowledge base and inform the practice of fundraising; grant-making; volunteer involvement; and leadership in nonprofit, public, and private philanthropic organizations and other public service programs.  Moreover, this program analyzes the role that philanthropy and nonprofit organizations play in influencing societal ethics and values that support “civil society.”

The primary goal of the Doctor of Philosophy in Philanthropic Studies at Indiana University is the preparation of researchers and scholars who will provide leadership in the profession of philanthropy, higher education, and nonprofit organizations.

Upon completion of the Ph.D. in philanthropic studies, graduates will be able to

A minimum of 90 credit hours is required; a maximum of 30 credit hours may be transferred from other graduate work in philanthropic studies and related areas. All courses credited toward the Ph.D. degree must have a minimum grade of B and receive written approval of the Ph.D. Program Committee or its representative.
Admission Requirements
  • Formal application to Ph.D. program
  • Official undergraduate and graduate transcripts
  • Grade of B or higher on all courses applied to requirements
  • GRE test scores
  • Three letters of reference
  • Current curriculum vitae
  • Three-page essay summarizing professional goals and proposed research area
  • An interview (telephone, electronic, or in person) with members of Philanthropic Studies Doctoral Committee
Research Opportunities

Primary areas of faculty research expertise include:

  • Philanthropic history and traditions; role of philanthropy in civil society; community-based studies of philanthropy
  • Management and measurement of philanthropic resources; governance issues of philanthropic institutions and nonprofit organizations
  • Foundations similarities and differences; corporate philanthropy
  • Forces influencing giving and volunteering in families over time
  • Costs and benefits of fund raising campaigns
Course Requirements
  • Four Philanthropic Studies core seminars (12 credits)
    • PHST 660 Ethical, Moral, and Religious Aspects of Philanthropy
    • PHST 662 Historical and Cultural Perspectives of Philanthropy
    • PHST 664 Role of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Organizations in Society
    • PHST 790  Research Seminar in Philanthropic Studies
  • Four External Minor courses (12 credits)
  • Research Methods (9 credits)
  • Open electives (6 credits)
  • Dissertation (21 credits)
Advisory Committee
All students in the Ph.D. program, with the approval of the program director, will select an advisory committee of three faculty members, one of whom will represent the student’s area of specialization outside the Center on Philanthropy.
Qualifying Examination
A written qualifying examination is required for admission to doctoral candidacy. The focus and scheduling are determined by the student’s advisory committee.
Dissertation Requirements
After nomination to candidacy, the student, with the approval of the program director, will select a research committee of no fewer than three faculty members, including an outside member. The committee must approve the proposed dissertation topic. The dissertation involves an original piece of research and oral defense.
Full Time or Part Time
The program is available for both full- and part-time students.
Length of Study

On average, one should expect five years to completion , depending on full- or part-time study and dissertation topic.

Financial Support Opportunities

A variety of financial resources are available for Ph.D. students, including university fellowships, philanthropy scholarships, research assistantships, teaching assistantships, and loans. Information about financial resources for Ph.D. students may be obtained from the Student Services office.