Nonprofit Studies Portfolio Program

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Preparing and Connecting the Leaders of Tomorrow
Join our network of more than 500 alum of the Nonprofit Studies portfolio program

Portfolio Program in Nonprofit Studies Overview

 

Nonprofit and philanthropic activity are vital to generating social impact, and addressing the complex challenges of the world today. As boundaries between the nonprofit, private and public sectors blur, it is increasingly important to gain skills and ideas that can be applied in multiple roles and organizations. 

Effective leadership requires deep understanding of current trends and policy issues, and the willingness to take action. The Nonprofit Studies Portfolio is an opportunity to develop specialized skills in social finance, nonprofit management, philanthropy, cultural policy, social marketing and community collaboration. Students ready to make a difference in the world can advance their journey with the Certificate in Nonprofit Studies and with the RGK Center community of colleagues and faculty.

Program Requirements

The Certificate in Nonprofit Studies is available to any currently enrolled graduate student at The University of Texas at Austin. To ensure certification appears on the academic transcript, a student is responsible for completing:

  • Four (4) courses – 12 credit hours total – of preapproved classes, including one taught by an RGK Center faculty member and one internship or field placement.  Any new class or course exception must be approved by the Program Coordinator and Director.

  • Forty (40) hours of volunteer service at a nonprofit or public service organization. 

  • Four (4) networking and professional development events or activities.

Courses

With planning and the use of electives, students typically fulfill the requirements of the Portfolio Program without extending the time necessary to complete their graduate degree program. 

FAQs

What are the benefits of the Nonprofit Portfolio?
  • Community: students attend social events with graduate colleagues and alumni who share a passion for the nonprofit sector.
  • Professional development: lectures, networking, internships, and opportunities for additional training and skill development. 
  • Cross-disciplinary learning: students can take courses outside their home department.
  • Academic recognition: completion of the Nonprofit Portfolio Program appears on official UT transcripts.
  • Career advancement: receiving notice of internship and jobs, as well as opportunities to meet nonprofit professionals in the area.
Who is eligible to participate in the Nonprofit Portfolio?

Any graduate-level student at the University of Texas at Austin is eligible. The program cohort commonly includes students from the LBJ School of Public Affairs, School of Social Work, McCombs School of Business, Education and Communication.  As long as applications include a reasonable course of study, all academic disciplines are accepted.

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 and discuss plans with the Program Coordinator. 

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. 

How significant is the nonprofit sector in the United States?

The U.S. nonprofit sector engages more than 64 million adults in volunteer activity, employs 10% of the U.S. workforce and attracts $390 billion in annual giving by individuals.

How do I start a nonprofit organization in Texas?

The Texas Secretary of State information is available online including a link to Internal Revenue Service filing instructions for charities. Helpful pre-incorporation considerations and toolkits are available in the online legal resource library of Texas Community Building with Attorney Resources.

What does RGK stand for?

The 'RGK' in our name refers to Mrs. Ronya and Dr. George Kozmetsky, founders of the RGK Foundation, whose initial $5 million grant established the Center in January 2000.

What is the relationship of the RGK Center to the LBJ School?

Any graduate-level student at the University of Texas at Austin is eligible. The program cohort commonly includes students from the LBJ School of Public Affairs, School of Social Work, McCombs School of Business, Education and Communication.  As long as applications include a reasonable course of study, all academic disciplines are accepted.

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.

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 ma

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 nonprofit 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.  Usually, available space in courses opens to out-of-department students a few days after the registration period opens.  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 must 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. 

How many events am I required to attend?

Portfolio students are expected to four events related to professional development and networking in the nonprofit sector.  Exceptions may be granted for extenuating circumstances, e.g. personal or family illness, conflicting class time, or a job interview.  Substitute events may be approved by the Program Coordinator.

May I take another portfolio program with this one at the same time?

Yes.