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

Beginning in the 2023-2024 academic year, the Public Service and Nonprofit Leadership major will no longer be accepting new students. Current Public Service and Nonprofit Leadership students will continue to have access to the same high-quality education and resources until they graduate.

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. 

 For more information, contact the UNH Manchester Admissions office. For current students, contact the UNH Manchester Academic Advising office.

Degree Requirements

Minimum Credit Requirement: 128 credits
Minimum Residency Requirement: 32 credits must be taken at UNH
Minimum GPA: 2.0 required for conferral*
Core Curriculum Required: Discovery & Writing Program Requirements
Foreign Language Requirement: No

All Major, Option and Elective Requirements as indicated.
*Major GPA requirements as indicated.

Major Requirements

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 Internship: Semester in the City (Boston) or Semester for Impact (NH)
Select eight credits from the following courses:8
Social and Political-Economic Theory
Justice, Law and Politics
Politics of Food
Globalization: Politics, Economics and Culture
Peer Educator Development
Selected Topics: Public Service
Community Leadership - Capstone
Poverty & Inequality Past and Present
Introduction to Macroeconomic Principles
Introduction to Microeconomic Principles
Economics for Managers
United States Health Care Systems
Introduction to Public Health
Becoming a Problem Solver
and Social Innovator's Toolbox
Special Topics
Select one path from the following:12
MPA Path:
Foundations and Theories of Public Administration
Organization and Management in Public and Nonprofit Sectors
Nonprofit Management
MPP Path:
Fundamentals of Policy Analysis
Strategies for Policy Impact
Media Strategy and Communication
Total Credits44

This degree plan is a sample and does not reflect the impact of transfer credit or current course offerings. UNH Manchester undergraduate students will develop individual academic plans with their professional advisor during the first year at UNH.

Sample Course Sequence

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
UMST 401
First Year Seminar
or Transfer Seminar
ENGL 401 First-Year Writing 4
PS 402 Practical Politics 4
Discovery Course 4
Discovery Course 4
Quantitative Reasoning 4
PS 500 Wicked Problems: Puzzles in Public Policy 4
Discovery Course 4
Elective 4
Second Year
PS 506 Civil Society and Public Policy 4
Discovery Course 4
Elective 4
Elective 4
PS 515 New Hampshire Politics in Action 4
Major elective 4
Elective 4
Discovery Course 4
Third Year
Major elective 4
Discovery Course 4
Elective 4
Elective 4
PS 595 Research for Political and Policy Action 4
Discovery Course 4
Elective 4
Elective 4
Fourth Year
MPP or MPA course 4
MPP or MPA course 4
Discovery Course 4
Elective 4
PS 701 Senior Seminar/Internship in Public Service 4
MPP or MPA course 4
Discovery Course 4
Elective 4
 Total Credits129-130

By the end of their degree program, Public Service & 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.