MA in Social Entrepreneurship

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

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 for this degree to find out more about what you'll learn and how you'll be taught and assessed.

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


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


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.


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.



Sandra received a prestigious Goldsmiths Banco Santander Scholarship.

"Since finishing my undergraduate studies in international business, I worked for five years for Oro Verde, an initiative based in Colombia aimed at protecting one the world's 25 most important biodiversity hotspots: the Choco Bioregion. As Marketing and Commercial leader, I was in charge of linking artisanal gold miners – who created the world's first fairtrade gold certification scheme for social and environmentally responsible practices – with jewellers, allies and consumers worldwide through business development.

I became interested in social business and the unlimited potential of solutions for social problems through market-driven proposals. I was fortunate to discover Goldsmiths' MA in Social Entrepreneurship in a graduate fair in Medellin and was drawn to its innovative academic approach to this new field. So far, my experience has been intense and rewarding. Based in a vibrant location in London, the campus' lively atmosphere provides a mix of different cultural and professional backgrounds, which makes the academic process even more interesting.

Being awarded the Goldsmiths Banco de Santander scholarship has greatly facilitated my dream to study in the UK. It means to take advantage of the opportunities that a city like London has to offer as a global hub where the newest trends of social entrepreneurship are being shaped in a great variety of discussions and events across different sectors. This experience undoubtedly allows me to grab novel knowledge and practices which will enable me to share and apply my learning to create social value when I return to Colombia.

For my previous work, I am also a grantee of the Joke Waller-Hunter (JWH) Initiative, creates opportunities for young people in the environmental sector in developing countries to unfold their full potential."


"The reason I chose Goldsmiths was because I was seeking a progressive and stimulating environment, which encourages creativity and freedom of expression."

"From an early age I always knew that I wanted to be a social entrepreneur, an agent of change, someone who can make a difference positively in a specific deprived community. Even before the term 'entrepreneurship' was popular, I wanted to merge business, development and design and work with local artisans, emerging designers and artists; this has been my aim for years. I volunteered and worked on various initiatives, regionally and internationally, and in some cases I launched my own initiatives.

At some stage I decided it was time to start my MA. That was years ago but there were no courses available related to what I wanted to do other than MBA. So I did a research-based Masters where I looked at the art/craft created outside the boundaries of official culture, particularly the art created by less privileged and marginalized communities and asylum inmates. Professionally, I won a fellowship that enabled me to work in development in the field of women's rights in a leading international organization; this experience and exposure made me more determined to look for a MA course in Social Entrepreneurship. Luckily, I won the Chevening scholarship this year which helped me to pursue my dream.

The reason I chose Goldsmiths was because I was seeking its progressive and stimulating environment which encourages creativity and freedom of expression. The course curriculum also covers a wide array of topics touching on theoretical, financial, political and practical aspects which in occasions are delivered by entrepreneurs and experts from the field. All the course seminars involve interactive discussions and encourage the students to analyse and examine the topics from different angle.

The university's location in South-East London allowed me to benefit from the city's rich culture and divine art. Not only is London known to be the world's capital for art, one of my interests, but also it is a city where creative and cultural industries play a key role in the economy. London has endless networks and organisations utilizing innovation and supporting social enterprises and I think being a student in Goldsmiths in this specific programme helped me even more to reach different networks and meet amazing people in the field. I think I am having a great experience in Goldsmiths, both academically and socially, that I will carry for years to come."

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 7.0 (including 7.0 in the written test)

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
  • 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

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.

Find out more about tuition fees.

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