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Graduate Student Learning Outcomes

Master of Arts in Philanthropic Studies (M.A.)

Through the master’s program curriculum in philanthropic studies, students are equipped with both the theoretical framework and practical skills necessary to advance the understanding and practice of philanthropy. Students gain the knowledge and skills of philanthropy to prepare for careers in the nonprofit sector or related fields or the pursuit of further graduate study. Students investigate the concepts of philanthropy from a variety of disciplinary perspectives and utilize the interdisciplinary base for critical inquiry into the values, culture, and history of philanthropy. Students will be able to:

Demonstrate broad knowledge of the values, culture, and history of philanthropy – The philanthropic studies curriculum encompasses the philanthropic tradition in U.S. society and in comparative perspective, the public policy environment in which nonprofits operate, the voluntary sector in relation to business/government/family, change over time, and perspectives of donor/recipient/organization. The curriculum explores why philanthropy exists, why nonprofit organizations form and continue to exist. Students differentiate among the multiple meanings and motivations of philanthropy, generosity, charity, and other prosocial behaviors.  

Interpret a specific aspect of philanthropy in depth – The curriculum teaches origin, purpose, and organization of all forms of philanthropic behavior and voluntary action in the U.S. and in comparison with other countries and cultures. Philanthropic studies includes human behavior and the organization of behavior into grassroots and formal nonprofit organizations.

Model individual empowerment and ethical behavior – Philanthropic studies emphasizes individual agency and responsibility in giving, volunteering, and social action, including agency as a member of a community, voluntary association, or formal nonprofit organization. Students are equipped to make informed and principled choices based on in-depth understanding of how philanthropy operates at individual, organizational, sectoral, and societal levels.

Develop a sense of social responsibility and leadership – Philanthropic studies students select this master’s program because of a heightened sense of social responsibility. The curriculum reinforces the value of both individual and collective action in society in addressing individual problems, quality of life, and structural inequities.

Negotiate societal complexity, diversity, and change – The curriculum underscores that philanthropy is often a response to change and illustrates many types of responses to problems or perceived problems in the human condition. Students learn to anticipate that philanthropy and the public good can be deeply personal and highly contested.  
Integrate knowledge, communicate effectively, and solve problems in real-world settings – Philanthropic studies students apply their prior volunteering and work experience in the classroom and in the workplace to prepare for future philanthropic leadership. The majority of students work half-time as graduate assistants. All students complete an internship that integrates on-site nonprofit work with academic subject matter.

The philanthropic studies master’s degree course outcomes support IUPUI’s Principles of Graduate Learning:

1.    Demonstrating mastery of the knowledge and skills expected for the degree and for professionalism and success in the field;
2.    Thinking critically, applying good judgment in professional and personal situations;
3.    Communicating effectively to others in the field and to the general public;
4.    Behaving in an ethical way both professionally and personally.

Doctor of Philosophy in Philanthropic Studies (Ph.D.)

This program prepares experts in philanthropy who will become faculty, researchers, and practitioners. Students include those fresh out of an M.A. program and mid-career professionals who want to deepen their knowledge of philanhtropy and the nonprofit sector and wish to enhance their ability to compete successfully for tenure-track research and professional positions. The program includes a core of 15 credit hours and nine research hours that provide an advanced understanding of the field but can otherwise be individualized. It allows the transfer up to 30 credits hours from a relevant master's degree.

Students completing the philanthropic studies Ph.D. curriculum will:

  • Gain knowledge of the history and cultural traditions of philanthropy and the nonprofit sector in a global context and understand multi-disciplinary theories that explore/explain philanthropic behavior and why nonprofit organizations exist in society.
  • Be able to acquire knowledge of research and resources in the field of philanthropic studies and to use that knowledge to conduct original research, generate new knowledge, and create scholarly products.
  • Acquire research competency to successfully carry out rigorous independent research.
  • Understand how to interpret and apply ethical frameworks and disciplinary concepts to philanthropic activity in society and to act ethically and work skillfully with others to achieve educational, scholarly, and professional goals.

Last updated: May 2021