Graduate 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 equip you to bring meaning and purpose to your career in business or nonprofit leadership by training 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 new 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 equip 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 social innovation and social entrepreneurship 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.
  • Tailored pathways. Specially designed options for MBA or MPA students will help prepare you for a career as a changemaker in your desired field, with courses, assignments, and content created just for those areas. 
  • 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

  • Online courses exceed 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 idea, in your own areas of interest and passion, while learning top skills demanded by employers
  • Open to students from any program, inside or outside The School of Business

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, foundations 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. PSU graduate students may also take individual courses that are included in the certificate curriculum.

The four courses are:

  • MGMT 521: Design Thinking for Social Innovation
  • MGMT 522: Money Matters for Social Innovation
  • MGMT 523: Storytelling and Impact Measurement for Social Innovation
  • MGMT 509: Social Innovation Field Study

PSU MBA students may choose the following courses instead:

  • MKTG 513: Pioneering Innovation
  • MGMT 521: Design Thinking for Social Innovation
  • MGMT 523: Storytelling and Impact Measurement for Social Innovation
  • BA 526: Launch in 9 Capstone

PSU MPA students may choose the following courses instead:

  • PA 541: Social Entrepreneurship
  • MGMT 521: Design Thinking for Social Innovation
  • MGMT 523: Storytelling and Impact Measurement for Social Innovation
  • PA/PAH 509: Organizational Experience Capstone

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