Frequently Asked Questions
Who is eligible to participate in the Nonprofit Portfolio?
Any graduate-level student at the University of Texas at Austin is eligible. Students from all academic disciplines are encouraged to apply.
What is the application deadline?
Students may apply and join the program at any time. Students planning international placements or semesters abroad should apply sooner.
What are benefits of the Nonprofit Portfolio?
- Cross-disciplinary learning: students can take courses outside their home department.
- Community: students attend social events with graduate colleagues and alumni who share a passion for the nonprofit sector.
- Professional development: colloquia, lectures, networking, internships, and opportunities for additional training and skill development.
- Academic recognition: completion of the Nonprofit Portfolio Program appears on official UT transcripts.
- Career advancement: receiving notice of internship and job opportunities.
Do I need to take additional credits or extend the amount of time I’m enrolled at UT?
Not usually. The program is designed so most students can complete the Portfolio during their regular degree program. By carefully mapping one’s academic schedule and use of electives, the majority of students finish on time. Some departments may have fewer electives and less flexibility in scheduling, in which case it may be necessary to take extra classes in order to complete the Portfolio.
Does my internship count toward the Portfolio course requirement?
Yes, typically. Students completing an academic internship or field placement may receive up to 3 credit hours toward Portfolio completion. The internship must receive academic credit and be with a non-profit or public service organization. It does NOT matter whether it is paid or unpaid.
How do I meet the 40-hour volunteer service requirement? Does my internship count?
Volunteer opportunities are shared and publicized throughout the year. It's the student’s responsibility to track hours using this form. An internship can count toward volunteer hours if it is unpaid and not being used toward the Portfolio course requirements, i.e. no “double dipping.” An unpaid internship at a non-profit organization can count either toward the Portfolio course requirement or the volunteer service requirement, but not both.
How do I register for Portfolio-approved classes outside of my home department?
Each school/department has its own system for out-of-department students to register for courses listed on their departmental website. The Program Coordinator is available to provide guidance and suggestions.
How do I petition for a course not on the approved list to count?
Students may submit a petition for a substitute course to the Program Coordinator at any time. Course petitions typically include a copy of the course syllabus, a copy of the final project, presentation or paper and a cover note (or email) from the student explaining why this particular course supports their interest in the nonprofit sector. The RGK Center reserves the right to accept or decline any such waiver request.
Do I have to attend the Fall and Spring Colloquia? How many events am I required to attend?
Portfolio students are expected to attend the Colloquia, with exceptions for extenuating circumstances, e.g. personal or family illness, conflicting class time, or a job interview. Students must attend at least two Colloquia or Portfolio-approved events to complete the Program. Any substitute events must be approved by the Program Coordinator.
May I take another portfolio program with this one at the same time?
For Public Affairs students, what’s the difference between the Portfolio and the Specialization in Nonprofit Studies?
The main difference is that the Specialization requires 15 credit hours to complete, including a Master’s report/thesis on a nonprofit-related topic. The other difference, besides requiring fewer credit hours, is the Portfolio Program is recognized by the Office of Graduate Studies and appears on official UT Austin transcripts.
May I leave the program?
Yes, you may notify the Program Coordinator of your decision at any time. There is no penalty for not completing the program. Students can join and access some of the event and social benefits, even if they are unable to fulfill all of the program requirements.