Until recently, the only way to prepare yourself to enter the field of philanthropy was to gain valuable volunteer experience and hope you could find an entry-level development or program assistant position. Now, academic degrees in nonprofit management and philanthropy are starting to crop up across the country.

The Chronicle of Philanthropy announced yesterday that 5 students (pictured at left) graduated from Indiana University, the first philanthropy undergraduate program in the country.

The nonprofit sector may be fueled by love and passion, not the bottom line, but its practitioners are required to be just as skilled as their corporate counterparts in order to ensure success of their organization. Julie Hatcher, director of undergraduate programs at the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, explained that the goal is "to create strong­er leaders who are prepared to understand and think through diverse perspectives and complexities that arise, often over finances and how best to use limited resources."

The trend shows no signs of slowing. Here are some of the universities that offer undergraduate programs in the nonprofit sector:

  • Cleveland State University | BA in Nonprofit Management
  • Indiana University | BA in Philanthropic Studies
  • NYU Wagner | Undergraduate Minor in Social Entrepreneurship and  Social & Public Policy
  • University of Tennessee, Chattanooga | BS in Public Administration and Nonprofit Management