MA in Social Innovation Course Schedule

The MA in Social Innovation (MASI) is a 30-unit degree program that can be completed in one-year (full-time). Courses emphasize six learning goals, including systems perspective, analytical capabilities to understand the complexities of social issues, experimentation in design, implementation and impact assessment, design thinking and problem solving.

The MA in Social Innovation program can be completed anytime within 6 consecutive years. Below are some sample course pathways:

Semester Course Number Course Title Units Notes

Fall Year 1

(13 units)

SOIN500 Global Challenges 3 Required
SOIN505 Social Innovation 3 Required
SOIN510 Social Entreprenuership 3 Required
  Elective 3 Elective
  Workshop #1 1 Required

Winter Intersession Year 1

(4 units)

SOIN515 Social Innovation Practicum 3 Required
  Workshop #2 1 Required

Spring Year 1

(13 units)

SOIN520 Innovation Evaluation 2 Required
SOIN525 Social Innovation Capstone 3 Required
  Elective 3 Elective
  Elective 3 Elective
  Elective 3 Elective
Total Units: 30

Electives are chosen in consultation with your faculty advisor. Please note that pathways above are samples and are subject to change. Courses listed may not be offered every year. 

Semester Course Number Course Title Units Notes

Fall Year 1

(7 units)

SOIN500 Global Challenges 3 Required
SOIN505 Social Innovation 3 Required
  Workshop #1 1 Required

Spring Year 1

(7 units)

SOIN520 Innovation Evaluation 3 Required
  Elective 3 Elective
  Workshop #2 1 Required

Fall Year 2

(6 units)

SOIN510 Social Entrepreneurship  3 Required
  Elective 3 Elective

Winter Intersession Year 2

(3 units)

 SOIN515 Social Innovation Practicum 3 Required

Spring Year 2

(7 units)

 

 

  Elective 3 Elective 
  Elective 3 Elective
  Kroc School Portfolio 1 Required
Total Units: 30

Electives are chosen in consultation with your faculty advisor. Please note that pathways above are samples and are subject to change. Courses listed may not be offered every year.


Students entering the University of San Diego and/or declaring a major during 2020-2021, should follow information contained in the printed course catalog (also known as the "catalog of record") published on April 1, 2020. Access the catalog of record at http://catalogs.sandiego.edu.

SOIN 500 , SOIN 505 , SOIN 510 , SOIN 515 , SOIN 517 , SOIN 520 , SOIN 525 , SOIN 550 , SOIN 555 , SOIN 560 , SOIN 590

SOIN 500 | GLOBAL CHALLENGES

Units: 3 Repeatability: No

This course follows a systems perspective to explain major challenges of the 21st century, which are included in the Sustainable Development Millennium goals: poverty, hunger, environmental degradation, environment and violent conflict, among others. A systems perspective of current challenges and their causes expand student capabilities for framing problems and designing solutions. In examining major challenges, students also learn about emerging models of leadership, organization and collaboration seeking to address those issues.

SOIN 505 | SOCIAL INNOVATION

Units: 3 Repeatability: No

In this introductory field-based course to social innovation students are introduced to the strategies and processes for creating social change through innovation. Students gain knowledge of strategies of change through innovation by interacting with social and political entrepreneurs, activists, organizations, and social movements in San Diego/Tijuana. Students analyze cases of individuals and groups who have catalyzed important positive social change through different organizational platforms – in the market, in government, within the nonprofit sector, and increasingly in the space between these three sectors. Throughout the course, students examine social innovation connecting field experiences with readings and in-class discussions. They are introduced in action to the tools and methodologies of participatory innovation, design thinking and measurement and evaluation.

SOIN 510 | SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP

Units: 3 Repeatability: No

How can we translate ideas into sustainable initiatives with social impact? In this course students develop the mindset and capabilities of entrepreneurs or intrapreneurs for social change. Through the design of real world projects, students learn key elements for designing sustainable initiatives that create a new social equilibrium better than what existed before: value proposition, financial modeling, measurement and evaluation, among others.

SOIN 515 | SOCIAL INNOVATION PRACTICUM

Units: 3 Repeatability: No

This is a course where students integrate theory and practice to address real-world problems faced by organizations and communities seeking to create social change. Acting as consultants, students acquire knowledge of real-world constraints and opportunities faced by organizations leading social change. Students learn ways to work in teams with organization or community partners for effective co-design of solutions, as they practice resourcefulness and creativity in problem solving.

SOIN 517 | ENGINEERING PEACE

Units: 3 Repeatability: No

This course has been designed to address how teams collaborate through a project-based approach designed to cultivate empathy across disciplinary boundaries. This will help position students to be discipline-bridging changemakers. Drones present technical and ethical challenges that cannot be addressed in isolation. The course involves designing and building the device (a clear engineering challenge) with the more conceptual work of planning for its integration into pro-social organizational processes (a clear peace and justice challenge).

SOIN 520 | INNOVATION EVALUATION

Units: 3 Repeatability: No

Social innovation must be translated into actionable initiatives to achieve their intended goals. This course is designed to prepare students to design, monitor and evaluate social innovation initiatives. It provides essential knowledge for program design and management, including needs and impact assessment, as well as logical frameworks for monitoring and evaluation. A log frame is a tool to systematize the planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of projects throughout the project cycle. Through this course students learn the skills and tools necessary to effectively carry out social innovation.

SOIN 525 | SOCIAL INNOVATION CAPSTONE

Units: 4 Repeatability: No

The capstone is the culminating experience of the MASI, where students develop a social innovation proposal that reinforces the knowledge and skills acquired throughout coursework. The capstone is about the integration of theory and practice, design thinking and creativity. Students begin by identifying a specific challenge and articulating hypotheses for addressing the problem. Projects include a plan of action for translating the proposed solution into a sustainable endeavor, as well as mechanisms of impact assessment. Beyond the faculty teaching the Capstone course, the Center for Peace and Commerce’s Social Innovation Challenge will support students in the process. Beyond presenting the Capstone proposal to the class for grading purposes, students pitch their proposal to a panel of judges.

SOIN 550 | FUNDAMENTALS OF FINANCE & ACCOUNTING

Units: 1 Repeatability: No

Financial and accounting skills as essential components of management. This workshop provides the fundamental concepts, tools, and techniques for effective decision making. It teaches students to interpret financial reports, to make informed decisions, create budgets, and justify decisions based on costs and ROI.

SOIN 555 | DESIGN THINKING

Units: 1 Repeatability: No

Design thinking can be central to innovation and problem solving in a wide array of fields and organizational setting. Experiential learning and team exercises focus on the people-centered approach, and lead students to hone skills for listening, user empathy, collaboration, and experimentation.

SOIN 560 | PITCHING FOR SUCCESS

Units: 1 Repeatability: No

Pitching a social innovation idea to investors and funders is an art. In this workshop students learn how to engage in the art of collaborative conversations that sells. In this workshop, students work on creating a dialogue that can convey their goals clearly.

SOIN 590 | MASI PORTFOLIO

Units: 1 Repeatability: No


Students entering the University of San Diego and/or declaring a major during 2020-2021, should follow information contained in the printed course catalog (also known as the "catalog of record") published on April 1, 2020. Access the catalog of record at http://catalogs.sandiego.edu.

Degree Requirements

  • Full-time or part-time status as a graduate student
  • Required Orientation
  • Approval of courses by faculty advisor
  • 30 units of graduate work with a 3.0 or higher
  • Five core courses (14 units)
  • Three elective courses (9 units)
  • Three one-unit workshops (3 units)
  • Social Innovation Capstone Proposal and Project (4 units) must be a "B" or better performance 
Core Courses
SOIN 500Global Challenges 3
SOIN 505Social Innovation 3
SOIN 510Social Entrepreneurship3
SOIN 515Social Innovation Practicum3
SOIN 520Innovation Evaluation2
Workshops3
SOIN 525Social Innovation Capstone4
Electives 9
Electives are chosen in consultation with your faculty advisor. Students can choose courses from the Kroc School, School of Business, School of Leadership and Education Sciences, and the College of Arts and Sciences.
Total Units30