Public Service and Nonprofit Leadership Major (B.S.)

Public Service and Nonprofit Leadership Major (B.S.)

Public Service and Nonprofit Leadership, B.A.

Drawing on roots in political science, sociology, history and economics, our highly interdisciplinary public service and nonprofit leadership program is designed to give you the diverse skills and experience to shape the world.

What is public service and nonprofit leadership?

At its heart, public service is the act of contributing toward the greater good. This field serves students who are also concerned citizens, interested in finding solutions to public issues. Drawing on roots in political science, sociology, history and economics, the public service discipline prepares students for a broad range of careers in fields including civil service, education, law, nonprofits and more.

Why study public service and nonprofit leadership at UNH Manchester?

With an emphasis on interdisciplinary and applied learning, the hands-on public service and nonprofit leadership program at UNH explores the ways that leaders and citizens work in and around government and civic organizations to address today’s complex societal problems. This program is designed with your flexibility in mind, offering all major courses and some Discovery courses fully online with synchronous meetings during the evening. Through internships and project-based service learning in government, law, nonprofit organizations and more, public service majors develop skills in critical thinking, problem solving, community engagement, communication, research and data analysis, teamwork and leadership. Students graduate prepared for careers in the public and not-for-profit sectors or for advanced study in public administration, public policy, community development and more.

Potential career areas

  • Community organizations
  • Corporate community relations
  • Foundations/corporate philanthropy
  • Government
  • Lobbying and law firms
  • Not-for-profit corporations
  • Policy-planning organizations
  • Research and education
  • Social service agencies
  • Think tanks


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With graduate-level courses built into the undergraduate program, Public Service students earn 9 credits towards a master's degree should they choose to pursue one. The Accelerated Master's Program gives diligent students the opportunity to complete a bachelor's in public service and nonprofit leadership and a Master in Public Policy or Master of Public Administration from the Carsey School of Public Policy in as few as five years by taking graduate-level courses during your junior and/or senior years at UNH Manchester.

Curriculum & Requirements

The bachelor of science degree in public service and nonprofit leadership provides an interdisciplinary, applied approach to the study of public and not-for-profit institutions and actors. Students explore the ways that leaders and citizens work in and around governments to address the complex problems confronted by New Hampshire and the United States today.  

All students choose a path that enables them to complete an accelerated Masters in Public Policy or Masters in Public Administration, where they take their most advanced courses in the Major alongside graduate students in the UNH Carsey School of Public Policy. Those courses count as 12 credits toward their BS degree and as 9 credits toward a UNH-Carsey MPP or MPA, should a student choose to continue on to a Masters. Most students entering as first-year students will be able to complete a combined BS/MPA or BS/MPP within five years. 

Public Service majors develop essential, transferable skills in critical thinking, practical problem solving, communication, teamwork, leadership, civic and community engagement, research, and data analysis. Coursework emphasizes experiential learning, such as interning at the N.H. State House or with local lobbying firms, engaged research in the real world, and hands-on service learning at a range of not-for-profit organizations in health, human services, advocacy, and the arts. All students must undertake at least one semester-long internship and at least one independent research project to be presented at the UNH Undergraduate Research Conference. 

Public service and nonprofit leadership graduates can pursue careers in state and local government, political campaigns, advocacy, non-profit organizations, journalism, education, and more, and are prepared to pursue graduate studies in law, public policy, public administration, community development, and public health. 

Students must complete 128 credits to graduate, including 44 credits in the public service and nonprofit leadership major. Students must maintain an overall cumulative GPA of 2.0 and a cumulative GPA in the major of 2.0. No credit toward the major will be given for any course in which the student receives a grade of less than C-. Students also must fulfill the UNH Discovery Program requirements. Up to three courses may be used toward both the public service and nonprofit leadership major and UNH Discovery Program requirements. Transfer students must take at least 28 credits in the major at UNH Manchester.

Required Courses
PS 402Practical Politics4
PS 500Wicked Problems: Puzzles in Public Policy4
PS 506Civil Society and Public Policy4
PS 515New Hampshire Politics in Action4
PS 595Research for Political and Policy Action4
PS 701Senior Seminar/Internship in Public Service4
or INCO 505I Semester in the City Internship
Select eight credits from the following courses:8
PS 407
Politics, Law and Contemporary Society
or PS 507
Justice Law and Politics
PS 501
Social and Political-Economic Theory
PS 502
Political Psychology
PS 510
Politics of Food
PS 513
Politics of Red Tape: Bureaucracy & Policy
PS 520
Globalization: Politics, Economics and Culture
PS 599
Peer Educator Development
PS 651
Selected Topics: Public Service
PS 695
Public Service Independent Study
PS 731
Community Leadership - Capstone
PS 750
Poverty & Inequality Past and Present
ECN 411
Introduction to Macroeconomic Principles
ECN 412
Introduction to Microeconomic Principles
ECN 650
Economics for Managers
HMP 401
United States Health Care Systems
HMP 444
From Frankenstein to Dolly, and Beyond
Semester in the City Becoming a Problem Solver
and Social Innovator's Toolbox
UMST 599
Special Topics
Select one path from the following:12
MPA Path
PA 700
Foundations and Theories of Public Administration
PA 709
Organization and Management in Public and Nonprofit Sectors
PA 718
Nonprofit Management
MPP Path
PPOL 706
Fundamentals of Policy Analysis
PPOL 712
Strategies for Policy Impact
PPOL 722
Media Strategy and Communication
Total Credits44

 For more information, contact program coordinator Stephen Pimpare at; or contact the Office of Admissions, (603) 641-4150.

Explore Program Details

By the end of their degree program, Public Service and Nonprofit Leadership majors should be able to demonstrate the following knowledge, skills, and core values so that they are positioned to be leaders in public and nonprofit organizations and effective analysts of and advocates for effective public policies.


  • Describe key theories of policymaking, and explain which of them they think is most useful to make sense of particular issues in particular historical periods
  • Describe the relations between the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors as they effect politics, power, and policy making and explain how those relationships have changed over time
  • Describe the legislative process in the US and their state, offering specific examples of why some Bills become law and others do not
  • Develop and articulate a Theory of Change that encapsulates their own understanding of how political change has happened in the US in the past and of the ways in which political and policy changes that they care about might be enacted in the present and future


  • Design and execute an original multi-methods research project, including being able to: craft a well-formulated, researchable research question; develop credible hypotheses; produce a literature review that lays out the context in which their research will take place; design an appropriate means by which their hypotheses might be tested; conduct such original research; analyze those results using quantitative and/or qualitative methods, as appropriate; evaluate the meaning of their findings; produce visual representations (charts, graphs, tables) of their findings
  • Produce a polished, professional-quality Policy Brief 
  • Design and execute a legislative advocacy strategy 
  • Identify sources for relevant, reliable, ethically gathered data and research and retrieve such data, evaluating its validity and reliability 
  • Synthesize complex data and information and present it in written or oral form concisely and coherently
  • Effectively present research findings to a public audience, in-person and online
  • Communicate, in writing and verbally, clearly and professionally
  • Work effectively in groups and teams
  • Assume leadership roles if and when appropriate
  • Apply theories of leadership and management to their actually existing workplaces
  • Demonstrate capacity for graduate-level work in Public Policy, Public Administration, and related disciplines in the social sciences and human services


  • Embody and act upon knowledge of cultural differences and an appreciation for the diversity of human experience and perspectives
  • Articulate the value of open democracy and engaged citizenship in building healthy communities at the local, national and global levels
  • Describe their own professional mission and their ethic of service


Our campus is in the heart of the region’s cultural, economic, entertainment and government activity — putting unlimited internship opportunities at your doorstep. We’ve partnered with government, local businesses and community organizations to give you the real-world experience that sets you apart. Public service majors have interned at many high-profile organizations in the area, including:

  • Ascentria Care Alliance
  • Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains
  • Manchester City Hall
  • New Hampshire Republican State Committee
  • Office of Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter
  • Turkish Cultural Center
  • UNH’s Washington Center: Spend a semester studying & interning in Washington, D.C.


Semester in the City

As a public service major, you have the opportunity to spend a semester in Boston interning at a leading social change organization while earning 16 credits toward your degree. The Semester in the City program connects you with a nonprofit, business or public sector organization where you’ll intern 30+ hours a week in community development, social justice, health, education, environment and other areas dedicated to the public good. This transformative 14-week experience immerses you in current social issues while building the skills and network that prepares you for your life and career after graduation.

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Combining academic and experiential learning, our community leadership minor provides students with opportunities to develop leadership principles, values, practices and processes that are valuable in any field.


Actively engage in global issues while developing cross-cultural awareness through our global studies minor, which gives you the knowlege, skills and anlytical reasoning to analyze the impact of 21st century issues on regional, national and global communities.


The legal advocacy minor develops the skill-sets and knowledge bases that will help you succeed in law school, as well as in any political, media, or nonprofit career path in which strong oral and written advocacy skills are required.


Add a breadth of perspective to your degree with our political economy minor, helping you land a career in government, public service, business, communications or law.


Our political science minor gives you a foundation in American government and international politics that enriches your studies and your resume — helping you land a career in government, public service, nonprofits, international affairs or law.

See all minors

With graduate-level courses built into the undergraduate curriculum, public service students earn 9 credits towards a master's degree program. Diligent students can complete a bachelor's in public service and nonprofit leadership and a master's degree through the Carsey School of Public Policy by taking graduate-level courses during your junior and/or senior years at UNH Manchester. Click on the master's degree title below to learn more about each program.

The Master in Public Policy degree (M.P.P.) offers you the opportunity to learn the skills you need to succeed in today’s public policy profession—analytical expertise, strategic vision, clear and compelling communications, and the tools of leadership. The M.P.P. degree is ideal whether you will be completing your bachelor’s degree in the near future or are currently working in a policy-related field. You can choose a track focused on policy analysis or strategy and communications—and select from a broad range of electives to personalize your degree. Built into the unique curriculum are a variety of experiential learning opportunities to deepen and broaden what you learn in the classroom, such as:

  • Colloquium in Washington, DC: You will be immersed in the capital scene – meeting with leaders in Congress, the White House, government agencies, political parties, advocacy groups, think tanks, and more.
  • Policy Internship: You will work in a policy-focused organization to gain practical, real-world experience and a valuable perspective on careers in public policy.
  • Capstone Project: You will employ the skills you have gained to delve deeply into a specific policy area to produce a comprehensive written report and oral presentation.

You can earn your M.P.P. degree in as little as 14 months (or 12 months for accelerated UNH students). You can also choose to earn your M.P.P. degree over a longer period by attending part time. Academic courses are offered in person on the UNH Durham campus with a portion of the experiential learning taking place offsite.

The Master of Public Administration degree (M.P.A.) offers you the opportunity to learn the skills you need in all aspects of government and nonprofit management including the tools of leadership, program evaluation, budgets, planning, personnel, collective bargaining, and policy analysis. The program provides an accessible and responsive curriculum so you can address issues that are important to your region which values democratic involvement, accountability, and administrative competency in the provision and delivery of public services through its towns, cities, state agencies, and a wide range of non-governmental organizations.

  • Flexible schedule accommodates full-time working professionals with courses offered year-round, typically meeting one evening per week or online
  • Study with public service professionals and professors who bring strong analysis and best practices to your learning
  • Graduate in as little as 16 months (full time) or 21 months (part time)

Academic courses are offered online and in person on the UNH Manchester campus, with additional elective courses offered in person on the UNH Durham campus.

With diverse concentrations and a highly flexible curriculum, your public service and nonprofit leadership degree will open doors to limitless career and graduate education opportunities.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects positive growth in many related professions between 2016 and 2026. Make an impact with career possibilities in industries like government, politics, international affairs, journalism, law, business and more.

Job Title

Job Growth

Median Salary

Arbitrator, Mediator or Conciliator



Fundraising & Public Relations Manager



Paralegal or Legal Assistant



Political Science Teacher, Postsecondary



Social Community Service, Nonprofit or Government Agency Manager



Urban or Regional Planner



Learn more about career planning

There are a wealth of job opportunities in New Hampshire for public service and nonprofit leadership majors. Here are just a few places to start your search:

In partnership with the New Hampshire community colleges below, we've developed curriculum guides to show you which courses at your community college will transfer into UNH Manchester's public service and nonprofit leadership program. 

Questions? Contact an admission counselor for help.


Program News

Stephen Pimpare, principal lecturer of American politics and public policy at UNH Manchester

The Era of Austerity Should Never Return

The Era of Austerity Should Never Return

New York City: in the absence of substantial government relief programs during 1932, free food was distributed with private funds in some urban centers to large numbers of the unemployed. National Archives.

The Lies We Tell

The Lies We Tell

Stephen Pimpare talks poverty in interview with Frank News...

Stephen Pimpare, principal lecturer of American politics and public policy at UNH Manchester

Explore Public Service and Nonprofit Leadership

Explore Public Service and Nonprofit Leadership

Faculty to host virtual info session on February 16...