Master’s Degree vs. Graduate Certificate
in Grant Writing, Management & Evaluation

Deciding between an online master’s program or graduate certificate program can be a difficult choice. There are benefits to both, but only one allows you to say you have a master’s degree in a highly sought-after field.

The current market for grant professionals is oversaturated with job-seekers who have certificates, and that’s why a master’s degree from Concordia University – Chicago’s Grant Writing, Management & Evaluation program will make you stand out.

Career Outlook for Master’s in Grant Writing, Management & Evaluation

The number of organizations that qualify for grant funds has risen sharply over the last three decades. Nearly 90,000 trusts, foundations, government agencies, and other organizations provide more than $40 billion annually in awarded grants in the United States, and more than $240 billion is contributed worldwide by individuals, bequests, foundations, and corporations (The Foundation Center, 2008). It is no surprise then, that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that employment of grant writers is expected to grow by 16% between 2010 and 2020. For professionals already holding grant writing positions, advancement opportunities come more readily with experience and a master’s degree in the field. According to, the average pay scale for a Grant Writer is $40,000-$80,000.

What’s the difference between a Master’s Degree in Grant Writing, Management & Evaluation & a Graduate Certificate?

  • With a Master’s degree, you earn an academic credential, rather than a non-credit based certificate
  • Graduate degrees can boost an individual’s earning power by more than 40%, in some fields
  • A highly job-specific master’s degree is preferred by hiring professionals over applicants with only a certificate
  • When seeking employment, a master’s degree implies explicit study and education at a high level in your field

Additional benefits of earning your Master’s in Grant Writing, Management & Evaluation online at Concordia University – Chicago:

  • Our online master’s programs are financial aid eligible
  • 100% online program
  • Concordia University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission
  • Program can be completed in as little as 20 months

Interested in learning more about the Master’s in Grant Writing, Management & Evaluation program? Download our program guide for more details.

What Our Students Are Saying

  • About a month before I finished the GME program, I started a position where I am a Grants Compliance Monitor. I work with agencies across Metro Government to ensure all federal regulations and requirements are met. Thanks to good leadership, I've expanded the purview of my position to include policy development and agency trainings. I truly believe that all the thought and analysis required for GME assignments and weekly discussions improved my ability to write policies on complex subjects and to educate program-oriented staff on regulatory minutiae.

    Susan Class of '15
  • I am so grateful for the education that I received at Concordia. Since graduation last August, I continue to work for the same nonprofit agency as Grants and Contracts Specialist. I have successfully brought in approximately $3 million in grant funding since then, with several other proposals pending. I also was able to write a large federal proposal ($5.3 million); we negotiated a contract, but shifts in federal funding have put that on hold. I have begun an evaluation project for the agency, helping our programs reassess their evaluation processes in order to bring more consistency and accuracy to our performance measurements.

    Lisa Class of '16
  • Since graduating the GME program, I was hired as a Grant Writer/Program Coordinator, a position I know my Master's degree was instrumental in helping me obtain. I was working two jobs before the program. While one had been at a small start-up non-profit, it could not pay enough to sustain a living. The second was in the dregs of retail, a sector I had been struggling to get away from for nearly a decade. Thanks in part to Concordia, I was finally able to. I love my job, my only job, and feel blessed to have embarked on a career I’m passionate about with a future I know will be fulfilling.

    Kate Class of '15
  • The insight I gained throughout Concordia-Chicago's Master of Grant Writing program solidified my confidence as a professional within the field and has proven to set me apart from other qualified candidates vying for the same opportunities. The wealth of knowledge I gained through my instructors and through the engaging discussions with my peers helped me to develop into a substantially greater asset to the not-for-profit missions I have served since graduation and has opened the door to advancement within staff settings and freelance assignments alike.

    Erica Class of '16
  • Even while taking classes in CUC’s Grant Writing, Management and Evaluation master's program, I've been putting my new skills to work by writing these grants: Arata Brothers Trust ($9,000), Dennis Mangers Foundation ($3,500), North Bay Rotary Grant ($7,500), Arata Brothers Trust ($16,000), Sacramento Metro Arts Commission ($62,985), Smart and Final ($150), City of Elk Grove ($2,000), United States Marines Corps ($7,500), and Kaiser Heath Sponsorship ($1,000). The amazing thing is every grant I applied for in this past year got funded!

    Kathleen Class of '19
  • I am already working in the grants field. I was lucky enough to get the Director of Grant Funding position at the OPRF Infant Welfare Society about 5 months ago. I truly credit the GME program for getting me started in my new career. It almost feels like I have had an internship along the way. It is great to be nearing the end of the program! I am so excited to finally have reached the Capstone course.

    Lynda Class of '18
  • My grant efforts have paid off incredibly well. We have received funding from Motorola Solutions Foundation ($10,000), Boeing Corporate Giving ($100,000), and the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs ($25,000). We are currently awaiting awards from the McCormick Foundation, Cracker Barrel Foundation, and are actively pursuing other funding partners. We have received multiple donations because of my networking abilities with many still in the works as corporations think about end-of-year giving. I share this with all of you as a small way to say thank you for this program! I was a stay at home mom for 12 years with a bachelor's in English before I found this program. I learned so much from the course work and have immediately been able to apply it to a new career path, where I know I am making a difference in the lives of our nation’s heroes. I never would have found this path without this Master's program!

    Alicia Class of '17
  • I started just over seven months ago as a Grant Writer and just got promoted today to Grant Manager, a new position. Again, thank you Dr. Rajan so much for helping me to secure this opportunity! I couldn't be happier in this role. I truly feel blessed.

    Erica Class of '16
  • I was one of the first students in the Grant Writing and Management Evaluation program. I wanted you to know it has changed my life. Three years ago, I got my first job as a grant writer, thanks mostly to my degree. That experience, coupled with my academic credentials, has now helped me achieve a new position, one I just started this week, as grant writer/strategic planner for a 40 million-dollar agency, one that it is well-respected and serves a noble cause (serving the elderly). For the first time, I am making a middle-class salary, with a future that no longer seems a long shot. For the first time, I am fully utilizing my strengths. For the first time, I am in a position that I will learn, grow and hopefully thrive in, as opposed to simply biding my time. It’s surreal and glorious. As one who previously languished in the retail realm for far too long, one who genuinely feared she’d forever be a screw-up, as one who lived in shame, without direction, without a calling, without pride in my profession, there are no words to fully describe what I have achieved this week. And it all started with you and our program. I just wanted to say thanks.

    Kate Class of '16