Course information

Length

1 year full-time or 2 years part-time

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

What you'll study

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 the 2018-19 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.

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.

International qualifications

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

If English isn’t your first language, you will need an IELTS score (or equivalent English language qualification) of 6.5 with a 6.5 in writing and no element lower than 6.0 to study this programme. If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for postgraduate-level study.

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.

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.

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.

What our students say

Wan-Ju Wei

"I am a project manager in a social enterprise intermediary organisation called Social Enterprise Insights in Taiwan, which has a great impact on our country’s social enterprise development."

"I am a project manager in a social enterprise intermediary organization called Social Enterprise Insights in Taiwan, which has a great impact on our country’s social enterprise development.  I led the construction of an English website to introduce Taiwan's social enterprise, and I am also planning and executing two social enterprise summits including the first Asia-pacific Summit in Taiwan. I also led the team to plan and execute online/offline special reports and forums, such as 'Social Innovation in Education area'. Finally, as one of the members of the social enterprise incubator team, I connect social entrepreneurs with corporates' CSR programs.

As the planner of the social enterprise summit, I met many social entrepreneurs in different fields and countries. Also, working in an incubation team, I have a strong connection with the social entrepreneurs and learn a lot from the social problems they want to solve. Moreover, our team is designing a workable social impact evaluation system based on SROI. We are now planning to hold the Social Enterprise World Forum in Taiwan in a few years."

Stefanie Aegerter

" After completing my MA in Social Entrepreneurship I took a job in my church to build up and enlarge their social sector."

After completing my MA in Social Entrepreneurship I took a job in my church to build up and enlarge their social sector. Additionally, my husband and I are currently starting our own business in advising social enterprises.

Philipp Kenel

"My personal highlights were the open-mindedness in contents and non-dogmatic approaches from both staff and fellow students as well as the diversity of my cohort"

I came to Goldsmiths for the unique MA in Social Entrepreneurship, for the university’s reputation in critical thinking and creativity and because I wanted to be (back) in London.

I very much enjoyed my time at ICCE. My personal highlights were the open-mindedness in contents and non-dogmatic approaches from both staff and fellow students as well as the diversity of my cohort (as individuals and in education or professional background).

Being confronted and working with different types of material (e.g. policy documents, business plans, as well as traditional academic essays/papers) prepared me well for later challenges in professional life. It has also allowed to improve my confidence in taking up new tasks and successfully completing them.

After graduation, I have moved to Berlin, where I have been working in different sectors (most importantly, in Start-up business and in the International Film Festival Berlinale). In 2015, I have moved to academia, where I am now working as a Lecturer and Researcher.

It is nice to have annual Goldsmiths Alumni meetups in Berlin. Perhaps these too have contributed to my decision of coming back to Goldsmiths for my PhD!

My new/old Goldsmiths experience starts now, and I am looking forward to be commuting between Berlin and London. I think – especially in times of Brexit – it is important to uphold and engage in international exchange.

See more profiles for this programme

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