Nonprofit Organizations

The Nonprofit Organizations Nexus focuses on the study of organizational settings in the nonprofit sector. The word "nonprofit" refers to a type of business -- one which is organized under rules that forbid the distribution of profits to owners. The Internal Revenue Service describes nonprofit organizations as serving charitable, religious, scientific, or educational purposes. Not-for-profit organizations include global nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) such as Oxfam and Greenpeace as well as local community organizations such as the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts and Historic Northampton Museum. Students may pursue internships with nonprofit organizations to complete the experiential requirement for this Nexus track.

Both the Global Business and the Nonprofit Organizations Nexus tracks are built on the foundation of a Complex Organizations minor. Complex Organizations is an interdisciplinary liberal arts program focusing on the behavior of individuals and groups in a variety of organizational settings. The program studies the theory and nature of organizations and challenges students to examine critically and imaginatively a range of current issues affecting organizational life, including ethics, decision making, privacy, patterns and practices of discrimination, finance, and career paths. From the status of women in the U.S. economy and the economics of health care to the social consequences of tax policies, courses within the program explore how the interplay of societal, organizational, and individual forces shape the national and global communities. The program is meant to complement a major in any field by providing a number of methodologies for dealing flexibly with the issues graduates will face either in their careers or in further study.

Track Chairs

Professor Mike Robinson
Economics & Complex Organizations

Professor Steve Schmeiser
Economics & Complex Organizations 


Courses may be chosen from the list of faculty-approved courses for your Nexus track, in consultation with your academic advisor and the Nexus track chair. You are not limited to the courses on these lists, however. If you identify another Mount Holyoke or Five College course relevant to the Nexus track, you can ask permission of the Nexus track chair to allow you to count the course toward your Nexus.

Example Program

Caitlin plans to direct a large nonprofit organization such as the American Red Cross or the American Association of Retired Persons. She begins her program with Economics 206, Economics of Health Care and Health Service Organizations and, Psychology 212, Individuals and Organizations, and the pre-experience COLL 210, Ready for the World. She interns with the Eastern Division of the American Cancer Society and then completes her Nexus program with Complex Organizations 349, International Organizations and COLL 211, Tying It All Together.