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MA in Social Entrepreneurship

  • Length
    1 year full-time or 2 years part-time
  • Department
    Institute for Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship
  • Funding available

Course overview

There is a growth in the number of entrepreneurs starting businesses with social and environmental purposes. This exciting MA will enable you to develop a critical understanding of and practical insights into modes of social enterprise.

There is an urgent need for talented individuals who can design novel solutions to our most profound societal challenges.

This international MA provides practical and sociological tools to individuals motivated to develop alternative economic practices and frameworks to meet such challenges. These might include (but are not limited to) social enterprises, collaborative innovation networks, hubs, digital platforms, support intermediaries and/or policy proposals.

Benefitting from the MA’s timely educational content as well as from its firm roots in London’s rich networks, our students go on to become thought leaders in the burgeoning social innovation field, advancing it in a creative fashion from their chosen angle. Past graduates have gone on to create their own social enterprises or to work for prestigious organisations such as the Yunus Institute and Social Enterprise UK, while some have elected to carry out advanced research into social innovation.

This MA is ideal for:

  • Current social entrepreneurs hoping to develop their expertise further (roughly 25% of our students from the UK and EU study part-time while working in the field)
  • Undergraduates aspiring to become social innovators and changemakers
  • Intrapreneurs interested in organisational transformation within the creative sector or any other sector of interest
  • Support organisation/infrastructure architects and policy makers (including those who wish to advance the field of social innovation in their cities/areas/countries)
  • Those interested in becoming analysts and knowledge experts in this field (including academic researchers with PhDs)

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Dr Richard Hull

Modules & structure

The MA in more detail

The MA in Social Entrepreneurship is one of the few graduate programmes in the world dedicated entirely to the study of the fast-moving field of social entrepreneurship and innovation.

It will equip you with a strong understanding of foundational theories of entrepreneurship, innovation, social problems and policy (with organisational sociology as the base discipline) while supplying practical tools in relation to entrepreneurial modelling and SROI.

There is also a marked emphasis on creativity, which means that you will have considerable scope to choose the precise topics you wish to tackle and the approaches you wish to apply. Teaching on the course is interactive and seminar-driven rather than based on the traditional model of long lectures and limited discussions.

What you study

The programme will introduce you to key concepts in the historical development of social enterprise and innovation and to its changing role in society and the economy. Seminars and talks will be given by social entrepreneurs, as well as leading professionals.

You'll learn innovative approaches to developing an enterprise, and gain confidence in revenue generation and financial modelling. 

A significant amount of the learning is delivered through group projects and activities. This is designed to develop your individual communication skills and teamwork.

The programme consists of five core modules:

  • Theories of Creative, Cultural and Social Entrepreneurship
  • Entrepreneurial Modelling
  • Social Entrepreneurship: Policy and Frameworks
  • Social Return On Investment: Principles and Practice
  • Research or Project-Based Master’s Dissertation

In addition to these main modules, we also regularly invite external experts from intermediaries such as UnLtd and other educational institutions such as the University of Oxford to ensure our students get access to a wide range of cutting-edge topics in the field. Social and alternative finance is among the key areas examined in such guest lectures; social innovation cases from particular country-contexts such as, for example, South Korea, Japan and Colombia also feature frequently.

We are occasionally able to provide additional training in related fields (such as accounting) in the form of short-term workshops to strengthen our students’ educational experience at Goldsmiths and at the University of London. We also encourage you to become members of various social entrepreneurship/collaboration hubs around London for learning and networking purposes.

A non-business school programme

The MA in Social Entrepreneurship at Goldsmiths is quite unlike traditional business/management-driven courses in the field: on the one hand, it allows scope for a far deeper examination of the theoretical and practical foundations of social innovation; on the other, it provides unique access to an expanding learning community (formed by our students and our wider, growing network) engaged in real-time research.

Equally important is the fact that students are consciously encouraged to, and supported with, forming their professional public profiles, through things like:

  • blogging (eg via The Golden Angle blog that students founded in 2013-2014)
  • public speaking
  • interactive research projects
  • developing your own social enterprise

Because our students possess diverse, highly relevant knowledge that they have accumulated prior to coming to Goldsmiths, real efforts are made to integrate this knowledge and experience into the collective learning processes.

One relevant tool that we employ here is an interactive peer-review process that we employ to raise the quality of student output, which means that often student essays (not just dissertations) are of publishable quality. Furthermore, we take full advantage of our location within London’s bustling community of social innovation by engaging with leading intermediaries, practitioners and (junior as well as senior) thought leaders.

Learning objectives

In terms of essential learning objectives, students of this MA are expected to: 

  1. Develop a critical, sociologically informed understanding of this fast evolving field
  2. Develop tangible expertise in social return on investment and entrepreneurial modelling methodologies
  3. Become part of London's social innovation community, a global centre of gravity in this field (with links to local social innovation communities virtually everywhere in the world)
  4. Access a number of future career paths in the growing social innovation sector
  5. Develop a grasp of research methods, a significant body of written work and a public profile through assignments, debates and online/offline publication avenues (including The Golden Angle), enabling some students to work as social innovation consultants/knowledge leaders upon graduation

Download the programme specification, relating to the 2017-18 intake. If you would like an earlier version of the programme specification, please contact the Quality Office.

Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.

Department

We engage directly with external partners from the creative industries,
and make use of our home in the heart of this thriving global city

Institute for Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship

The creative industries and cultural sector are continuing to grow at a rapid rate. In the Institute for Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship (ICCE) we specialise in preparing our students to understand, manage and innovate in these fascinating areas.

Many of our programmes are taught in partnership with international, regional and local cultural organisations, giving you the opportunity to gain direct experience of professional practice.

Find out more about the Institute for Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship.

Skills & careers

Skills

The skills you'll develop throughout the MA include: entrepreneurial knowledge and skills; a critical understanding of the interdisciplinary nature of social entrepreneurship; the ability to critically examine the conditions required for innovation and entrepreneurship to make a strong impact on societal problems; the ability to apply entrepreneurial approaches to projects; effective business and communication skills.

Careers

It is intended that students completing this programme will seek employment primarily in two areas.

Firstly: self-employed in their own social enterprise or a member of a team of an SME developing from an existing or new practice.

Secondly: within government or NGO organisations concerned with developing the infrastructure and environment for new social enterprises to flourish.

Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths.

Student profiles

Valerie Taylor Roberts

“The MA Social Entrepreneurship course enabled me to effectively and efficiently pivot my professional focus to support social enterprises and the entrepreneurs building them.”

Find out more about Valerie's work here

Rabih Yazbeck

"Since completing my MA, I have led the development of 11 programmes in seven countries in the Middle East and Africa that blend social entrepreneurship and market systems development - with a focus on women and youth - to advance self-reliance, peace, civic engagement and recovery in crisis-affected communities."

Since I completed my MA Social Entrepreneurship course at Goldsmiths, I have led the development of 11 programmes in seven countries in the Middle East and Africa that blend social entrepreneurship and market systems development - with a focus on women and youth - to advance self-reliance, peace, civic engagement and recovery in crisis-affected communities. 

A native of Lebanon, I currently oversee programme design and development (and contribute to the implementation) of a diverse portfolio of programmes; programme start-up feasibility and outreach; and organisational, partnership, and operational management strategy functions at the London-based Near East Foundation UK - as the Programme Director. Designed programmes involve cross-cutting themes such as youth and women's empowerment, peace-building, and food security and resilience in development, early-recovery and emergency contexts.

Kris Wong

"I now have an even greater passion for social innovation and am inspired to cultivate social entrepreneurial spirit within my current organization to create greater social impacts for society."

Having worked in a mental health organization in Hong Kong for over 10 years, I got a scholarship from TUYF Charitable Trust and took a sabbatical from work to study the MA in Social Entrepreneurship in Goldsmiths, University of London in 2014. The study allowed me to consolidate my working experience with new knowledge, enhanced my critical thinking and gave me more exposure to social issues and social enterprise development in other areas of the world. Some of the social issues such as the child labour and gender inequality in India particularly aroused my interest and concern. I conducted my dissertation research on womens' empowerment through social entrepreneurship in India and spent some weeks in India participating in a volunteer social starter program.

I am currently working as the General Manager of social enterprises at New Life Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association in Hong Kong, managing a number of social enterprises including cafes, organic shops, restaurant and convenience stores to provide work and training to people in recovery from mental illness. I now have an even greater passion for social innovation and am inspired to cultivate social entrepreneurial spirit within the organization to create greater social impacts for society.

See more profiles for this programme

Entry requirements

You should have (or expect to be awarded) an undergraduate degree of at least second class standard in a relevant/related subject. 

You might also be considered for some programmes if you aren’t a graduate or your degree is in an unrelated field, but have relevant experience and can show that you have the ability to work at postgraduate level.

Equivalent qualifications
We accept a wide range of international qualifications. Find out more about the qualifications we accept from around the world.

English language requirements
If English isn’t your first language, you’ll need to meet our English language requirements to study with us.

For this programme we require:

IELTS 6.5 with a 6.5 in writing

If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for postgraduate-level study.

How to apply

You apply directly to Goldsmiths using our online application system. 

Before submitting your application you’ll need to have:

  • Details of your education history, including the dates of all exams/assessments
  • The email address of your referee who we can request a reference from, or alternatively an electronic copy of your academic reference
  • personal statement – this can either be uploaded as a Word Document or PDF, or completed online

          Please see our guidance on writing a postgraduate statement

  • If available, an electronic copy of your educational transcript (this is particularly important if you have studied outside of the UK, but isn’t mandatory)

You'll be able to save your progress at any point and return to your application by logging in using your username/email and password.

When to apply

We accept applications from October for students wanting to start the following September. The deadline for applications is 20 July. 

Late applications will only be considered if there are spaces available.

If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an earlier application deadline.

We encourage you to complete your application as early as possible, even if you haven't finished your current programme of study. It's very common to be offered a place that is conditional on you achieving a particular qualification. 

Selection process

Admission to many programmes is by interview, unless you live outside the UK. Occasionally, we'll make candidates an offer of a place on the basis of their application and qualifications alone.

Find out more about applying.

Fees, funding & scholarships

Find out more about tuition fees.

Find out more about funding opportunities for home/EU applicants, or funding for international applicants. If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an application deadline.

Scholarships

Students may apply for or ask to be considered for The Harprit Sekhon Scholarship in the Creative and Cultural Industries. This consists of one award of £1,000.

Find out more about applying for these scholarships

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