Graduate, Gap Year & Summer Programs

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For Graduates

This section outlines some quality opportunities for prospective graduate students and other young professionals seeking intensive exposure to and critical engagement with the tools, themes, frameworks, and realities that guide the social innovation practice.

At Brown, the Taubman Center for Public Policy's Master of Public Affairs program allows graduate students to concentrate in Social Innovation and Nonprofit Leadership - the first program of its kind in the nation. Learn more about our partnership with the Taubman Center and opportunities for MPA students in social innovation.

MFA Design for Social Innovation at the School of Visual Arts in New York is the first MFA program at the intersection of design, social innovation and enterprise. This two year program is for people who want to become leaders of change in business, the non-profit world, communities or government. 

American University's Master of Arts in Social Enterprise program is designed to assist you in acquiring the knowledge, skills, and mindset necessary to launch a new social entrepreneurial venture or play a key leadership role in an existing one. The program’s curriculum blends learning about both hard and soft management practices with an examination of the dynamics of social innovation.  Based in the School of International Service, it gives special attention to enterprises dealing with issues that are global in scope.

The Amani Institute's Post-Graduate Certificate in Social Innovation Management provides a holistic, future-oriented training endorsed by leaders across the social, business, education, and government sectors, and has the depth and pace necessary to train for effective social change making - the intensity is equivalent to a 2-year traditional master's degree.

IDEX Accelerator is a career launch-pad for aspiring social enterprise practitioners. The 6 month program offers intense field experience and leadership training curriculum that equips fellows with the equivalent of 2 years marketable work experience that’s relevant to social enterprise employers.

University of Notre Dame's Engineering, Science, and Technology Entrepreneurship Excellence Master's (ESTEEM) is an innovative program that teaches market evaluation, design-thinking, and traditional business expertise to students with a STEM background. Students practice these skills immediately through a capstone thesis project in which they take an idea all the way from concept to commercialization over the course of the 11-month program. 

Gap Year Programs

Gap years - also known as "bridge years" - typically refer to an immersive experience between high school and college, designed to endow students with independence, a more confident voice, and a sense of purpose that prepares them for future studies. The programs listed here have been tailored for students interested in social entrepreneurship:

Global Citizen Year is a premier global bridge year program designed to unleash the potential of the next generation of young Americans as authentic leaders and effective agents of change. Each year, GCY recruits and trains a diverse corps of high-potential graduating seniors and support them through a bridge year of service learning and leadership training in Africa, Latin America and Asia. Through a world-class training and individual apprenticeships, our Fellows develop the skills and perspectives they need to succeed in college, careers, and a global economy.

Thinking Beyond Borders is an educational non-profit with the mission to empower and inspire students through education to address critical global issues. Its "Global Gap Year" program pairs international travel (through Ecuador, Peru, South Africa, India, Cambodia, and China) with a directed curriculum that aims to build a critically conscious eye in its students.  Founded in 2007, TBB is a growing community of students, alumni, their families, staff, and supporters who believe that through critical engagement with our world and ourselves, we can create the proactive change necessary to solve key challenges in our global community.

City Year’s mission is to build democracy through citizen service, civic leadership and social entrepreneurship. It is through service that they aim to demonstrate the power and idealism of young people, engage citizens to benefit the common good, and develop young leaders of the next generation. City Year is wholly focused on fighting the national dropout crisis. They have committed to leverage the talent, energy and idealism of corps members to serve as tutors, mentors and role models in schools to help students stay on track – and get back on track – to graduate.

Watson University in Boulder, Colorado is a semester-long program available to current students on a gap semester or recent graduates. Watson is a highly selective program that searches the world each semester for the most driven leaders, innovators, and entrepreneurs who want to build and scale their idea or project to make the world a better place, and provides them with an incredible group of peers, award-winning entrepreneurial training, and 25 leading mentors.  

Summer Programs 

These summer programs focused on social entrepreneurship provide ways to sharpen skills, widen your perspective, and gain deep, experiential knowledge that can help accelerate or reorient your path.

Middlebury's MiddCORE is a mentor-driven experiential learning program that builds skills, creates opportunities and expands networks for tomorrow's changemakers and innovators. Join over twenty-five dynamic, leading professionals to develop experiential workshops that encourage students to deal with ambiguity and to work outside their comfort zones. Mentors guide students to build capacities and collaborate on complex social challenges. Students will build CORE strengths in leadership, collaboration, strategy, design thinking, empathy, self reflection, idea iteration, network building, negotiation and humility. 

Founded by an Ashoka Fellow, Social Entrepreneur Corps is a social enterprise that leads innovative and dynamic international internship programs in Guatemala, Ecuador, Nicaragua, South Africa, Peru, and the Dominican Republic/Haiti. Corps participants create sustainable impact in the field while gaining the perspectives, skills and knowledge to become the social entrepreneurs of the future.

The Field School for Social Innovation is offering a four-week course in which participants practice multidisciplinary qualitative field research methods and explore Turkish culture through engagement with social innovation throughout Turkey. Participants will visit and study four social ventures that share the common goal of creating new platforms for social and/or environmental engagement. Come get to know the people who created these ventures, meet the people who participate in them, and experience the locales in which they exist. Learn to think like a social innovator, from social innovators.