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 compulsory modules, including a Dissertation or Project Portfolio. The are currently no option modules available on this programme.
Foundations of Social Enterprise
Foundations of Social Enterprise
This module will introduce you to the key elements of the academic study of social enterprise together with the central legal, financial and managerial practical issues for social enterprises.
The academic study of social enterprise is emerging within a variety of parent disciplines – principally business and management studies, especially entrepreneurship studies, but with significant contributions from a wide variety of disciplines:- cultural studies; sociology; voluntary sector studies; studies of the cooperative and mutual sectors; development studies; economics and investment management.
This module will guide you through the complex world of interlocking and competing approaches and perspectives, at the same time as equipping them with essential insights into the practice of social entrepreneurship.
This module will introduce students to a range of business modelling tools, and provide insight in to the characteristics of successful entrepreneurs and enterprises. The module has evolved from NESTA’s Creative Pioneer Programme and will use the Modelling Techniques that were designed and have evolved from The Academy and Insight Out which provide approaches to commercialising creativity.
It will critically review the key characteristics of successful enterprises, entrepreneurs and leaders, within the cultural and more commercially focused creative industries. It will look at the range of business models that exist and review how best to build a financially sustainable organisation.
Students will be introduced to a range of techniques:
1. Relationship Modelling – this will assist students to understand the range of business models in the creative industries, and to create the most appropriate route to market; it will consider the relationship that the originator of the creative idea has to the production, distribution and the audience/customer/client; it uncovers the student’s relationship to “reward”.
2. Evidence Modelling – this model uses Marshall McLuhan’s Tetrad Model to review the likely impact of the idea; it helps makes the enterprise tangible and to ensure that the entrepreneur remains in control of the effects of their ideas. Using the modelling technique helps students to articulate their values and the benefits of their ideas.
3. Blueprint Modelling – an approach to creating an operating plan which will move their idea to market, articulating all of the activities and responsibilities required.
Consequence Modelling – using all of the knowledge from the modelling techniques, this will uncover the financial consequences of the decisions made. It will introduce them to basic financial modelling concepts, and ensure they are comfortable with the financial language of creative entrepreneurs.
Advanced Topics in Social Enterprise
Advanced Topics in Social Enterprise
In this module, you'll explore social enterprise through two subject areas. These are analytical and policy framework, and sustainable development.
In analytical and policy frameworks, you'll examine analytical perspectives on the institutional factors supporting the emergence of social enterprises and the related social policies. You'll focus on the context of deep and extensive global shifts in the balances between the public, private and third sectors of economy/society, and accompanying legislative change with a particular emphasis on UK changes in health and social care and social value regulation. There will also be a focus on a number of advanced practical issues in the development and management of social enterprises such as marketing and sector-specific strategies.
In sustainable development, you'll focus on the different dynamics in developed versus developing economy contexts, this will explore the variety of different approaches being taken to deploy social enterprise and similar models in order to meet the sustainable development goals. You'll explore broader initiatives in the Global South, such as fostering the Social and Solidarity Economy and implementing alternatives to traditional economic development.
Evaluating Social Impact
Evaluating Social Impact
The module will introduce you to a number of methods for calculating the Social Return on Investment as well as giving them an opportunity to put an approach into practice. Articulating and calculating the return made on any form of investment in a social enterprise or project is increasingly important and a range of mechanisms have been developed by organisations such as the New Economics Foundation to predict and measure social returns on investment. After reviewing some of the common measurement techniques, you'll undertake a live project or work in a social enterprise, using this experience to create a report on the social return on the investments made into the work delivered.
The Dissertation is an extended piece of written work on a research topic of your choice. The dissertation comprises a critical review of the literature and/or original analysis of documentary and/or other evidence on a chosen topic within the fields of the programme.
The dissertation is intended to assess a range of abilities that you'll develop throughout the masters. In particular, it enables assessment of your ability to design, develop and write an advanced research project using primary and/or secondary materials appropriate to the topic and according to the necessary conventions of scholarly work. It requires independent motivation and self-directed learning, under supervision, and enables you to demonstrate competence for critical analysis and sustained persuasive argument.
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.
In terms of essential learning objectives, students of this MA are expected to:
- Develop a critical, sociologically informed understanding of this fast evolving field
- Develop tangible expertise in social return on investment and entrepreneurial modelling methodologies
- 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)
- Access a number of future career paths in the growing social innovation sector
- 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.
Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.
Between 2020 and 2022 we needed to make some changes to how programmes were delivered due to Covid-19 restrictions. For more information about past programme changes please visit our programme changes information page.