Certificate in Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship

Want to make a difference? Our social innovation and social entrepreneurship certificate will show you how.

Portland State University’s social innovation and social entrepreneurship certificate equips you to bring meaning and purpose to your career in business or nonprofit leadership. Offered by PSU’s award-winning and accredited School of Business, the social innovation and social entrepreneurship certificate trains you to create practical, effective solutions to social and environmental challenges.

Whether you’re a social entrepreneur starting something new, or an intrapreneur inside a mission-driven organization, this program can prepare you with the experience and skills to innovate. You can either design a complete social venture—nonprofit, business, government program or advocacy campaign—to address an issue that matters to you, or evaluate and suggest improvements to an existing organization of your choice. 

Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship Certificate: Why PSU?

Results-oriented skills. Our social innovation and social entrepreneurship certificate equips you with the practical know-how to get a new social venture or internal program past the idea stage. It’s not merely an academic exercise—numerous graduates have successfully launched initiatives they designed in the program. It also teaches some of the most highly-demanded skills by employers worldwide. 

  • Strong faculty mentoring. You’ll receive personalized guidance from experienced faculty every step of the way. They’ll help you avoid common mistakes, push you to take risks, and encourage you to persevere through disappointments and challenges.
  • Interaction with experts. Some of the nation’s most innovative, successful social entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs live and work in Portland. You’ll hear directly from change agents who’ve faced the same obstacles you’re up against and discovered—or invented—the tools to overcome those challenges.
  • Change happens here. As one of fewer than 50 institutions worldwide to hold Ashoka U’s “Changemaker Campus” designation, Portland State is the ideal place to acquire social innovation skills. We’ve also been named one of America’s “Most Innovative Universities” four consecutive years by U.S News & World Report.

Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship Certificate Highlights

  • Majority online program that exceeds the nationally-recognized Quality Matters rubric for excellence in online education
  • Accelerated two- and four-week field studies that augment classwork with real-world experience
  • Work on your own idea, in your own areas of interest and passion, while learning top skills demanded by employers
  • Open to students from all majors, inside or outside The School of Business, as well as non-degree seeking working professionals

What Can I Do With a Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship Certificate?

Graduates have used the social innovation and social entrepreneurship certificate to design and launch new nonprofits and businesses, advance careers in nonprofit leadership and corporate social responsibility, or find jobs at B Corps and sustainable businesses. Graduates of the social innovation and social entrepreneurship certificate program commonly go into fields such as:

  • Entrepreneurship
  • Intrapreneurship
  • Corporate responsibility
  • Nonprofit leadership
  • Civic engagement and outreach
  • Government administration
  • Community programming

Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship Curriculum

The social innovation and social entrepreneurship certificate consist of four courses. By the end of the sequence, you will refine a leadership and career purpose, apply Human-Centered Design best practices, use the Business Model Canvas to map out a venture, learn about funding sources, create a financial forecast, develop a plan for measuring and reporting impact, and practice effective storytelling and presentation. 

The four courses are:

  • Design Thinking for Social Innovation
  • Money Matters for Social Innovation
  • Storytelling and Impact Measurement for Social Innovation
  • Social Innovation Field Study

Download the Social Innovation Certificate Sequence Sheet (PDF) for additional details about our pre-requisites, requirements, credits and suggested sequences. Visit Degree Requirements for detailed requirements for your entire degree.

Who Can Pursue the Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship Certificate?

  • Undergraduate certificate programs are an additional sequence of coursework designed to further customize your business degree based on your interests or career goals. Our certificate programs are led by faculty who specialize in the certificate industry area, offering you additional access to resources and connections to industry. To learn more about adding a certificate to your degree, contact your academic advisor or the certificate program director. The Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship Certificate is open to all PSU degrees. PSU students may also take individual courses that are included in the certificate curriculum.
  • Community members and professionals who do not hold a bachelors degree, who hold a bachelors degree or who hold a graduate-level degree may take the courses as a non-degree student.
  • At the graduate level, the Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship Certificate can be paired with any PSU graduate degree or earned as a stand-alone certificate by professionals. PSU graduate students may also take individual courses that are included in the certificate curriculum.

Tuition

Tuition varies depending on whether you are a student seeking a degree at PSU, a student not seeking a degree at PSU, and whether you are an Oregon resident or taking the course from out-of-state or out-of-country. Please contact PSU admissions for more information.

  • PSU undergrads enrolled and working toward a degree: cost is based on PSU's School of Business per-unit tuition
  • PSU undergraduate students not seeking a degree (Oregon residents): ~$3,932 for 16 undergraduate credits (includes tuition and fees)
  • PSU undergraduate students not seeking a degree (out of state or country): please contact studentfinancialservices@pdx.edu for pricing and the Financial Aid office for federal loan eligibility

Contact impactentrepreneurs@pdx.edu with questions, to arrange an informational interview or to learn about need-based scholarships.