Social Innovation Curriculum

In this graduate program, you'll tailor your education to your unique interests and career goals with electives from other Agnes Scott graduate programs, including evaluation and assessment methods, health communications, technology leadership and management, and writing and digital communication.

Complete our Social Innovation program through a blend of online, hybrid or in-person instruction. 

  • Each class connects once a week in the evening.
  • Online classes meet synchronously once a week for 75 minutes, Monday through Thursday.
  • Hybrid classes meet once a week in-person for up to 75 minutes, Monday through Thursday, and include online content.
  • In-person classes meet once a week after 6:00pm, Monday through Thursday.

Master of Arts

Our Master of Arts program requires 11 classes (33-credit hours) to complete. Students enrolled in 2-3 classes a semester can receive their degree within 18 months.

Core Courses (15 hours)

  • Choice of:  EAM-610 or EAM-640

SOI-600: Social Innovation Principles (3.00)

Social innovation - which has its roots in entrepreneurship and business development - involves using entrepreneurial skills to craft innovative responses to social problems. Social innovation involves recognizing opportunities, combining and mobilizing resources, triggering positive change within and across various domains and sectors, and building sustainability. This course will introduce entrepreneurial concepts that can be used to stimulate entrepreneurial thinking and behavior in individuals for the benefit of communities. Students will be exposed to the concept of social innovation and its various applications across sectors, organizational and legal forms, and geographic locations.

SOI-610: Principles of Social Innovation (3.00)

In this course, students are provided a historical perspective on the development of social institutions, programs, and policies and how such institutions, programs and policies aim to address social problems. Students study the influences of power, oppression, and differences on how various social problems are viewed, experienced, expressed and addressed. Students also learn methods of current social policy analysis and social problem evaluation.

SOI-620: Funding & Investing in Social Ventures (3.00)

Social innovators must determine the most appropriate funding model(s) to use to achieve social impact and financial sustainability for their ventures. In this course, students will learn how to use financial modeling tools and how to apply creative approaches to sourcing funds to build and grow their social ventures. This course also informs students of the importance of impact investing by assessing the viability of early stage social ventures.

SOI-660: Social Innovation Practicum (3.00)

The Social Innovation Practicum course is designed to provide students practical experience in identifying and addressing issues faced by social entrepreneurs in the Metropolitan Atlanta area. Social Innovation program students work in teams to analyze and suggest recommendations (whether operational, financial, or otherwise) for specific organizational challenges faced by the social entrepreneurs and their ventures. The student teams apply the theories, concepts, approaches and tools they learned during their prior coursework in the Social Innovation program - as well as research data the teams collect - when developing an action plan to address the social ventures' challenges. Offered only during summer.

Course requisites: Permission of SOI program director required.

EAM-610: Principles of Evaluation Design (3.00)

This course will examine the role of evaluations in organizations, policy making, programmatic decision-making and fundraising. It will introduce research designs commonly employed to monitor ongoing programs and measure outcomes. The course will also address strategies for engaging stakeholders in evaluations. By the end of the course, students will be able to identify the appropriate research design for a specific evaluation need, taking into consideration financial and logistical constraints. Students will also design logic models to guide evaluation planning.

EAM-640: Project Management (3.00)

Successful interventions and evaluations depend on strong planning and project management skills. This course covers skills and strategies related to budgets, planning, stakeholder engagement, staff supervision, and fundraising. Additionally, students will learn about different leadership styles and will work to develop leadership skills.

Electives (18 hours)

SOI-615: Community Economic Development (3.00)

Students will learn the different forms of development (public, private, and cross-sector) and their benefits and trade-offs for addressing the social, economic, and socioeconomic needs of communities and neighborhoods. Students will also learn about community economic development practices in various geographical contexts (urban and rural communities within domestic and global contexts).

SOI-625: Entrepreneurial Leadership and Ethics (3.00)

Most successful entrepreneurs learn quickly the importance of influencing others to support their ideas and to help shepherd those ideas into operational ventures. In this course, students will explore the traditional and modern theories of leadership, what entrepreneurial leadership means from an ethical and social responsibility perspective, how to instill trust and commitment from others (both within and outside the venture), and the processes and outcomes of ethical decision making within entrepreneurial workspaces.

SOI-635: Nonprofit Management and Philanthropy (3.00)

The Nonprofit Management and Philanthropy course provides a historical overview of the nonprofit sector and its role in addressing social problems. Students will learn tools and skills applicable to the management of nonprofit and non-governmental organizations, particularly in relation to for-profit businesses and governmental agencies. Students will also learn about the influence of philanthropy, voluntarism, advocacy and social movements on organizational policy, strategy and management.

APT-610: Systems & Critical Thinking (3.00)

This course introduces systems thinking as an approach to problem solving and a way to address future needs. Systems thinking allows students to view a problem or need from a holistic perspective rather than the individual parts. This course also incorporates concepts to promote critical thinking, creativity, and innovation.

APT-625: Human Centered Design & Implementation (3.00)

This course guides students through the systematic process of identifying systems objectives from a human perspective, how to accomplish these objectives and how to bring the solution into operation. Students utilize human centered design, along with other design techniques, to bridge the gap between problem domain and the solution domain.

APT-640: Creative Problem Solving & Decision Making (3.00)

This course focuses on problem definition and formulation, problem solving, decision-making and risk analysis. Students learn to apply problem solving tools, materials, and methods. Basic modeling and simulation methods are also incorporated to support analysis and decision-making.

EAM-610: Principles of Evaluation Design (3.00)

This course will examine the role of evaluations in organizations, policy making, programmatic decision-making and fundraising. It will introduce research designs commonly employed to monitor ongoing programs and measure outcomes. The course will also address strategies for engaging stakeholders in evaluations. By the end of the course, students will be able to identify the appropriate research design for a specific evaluation need, taking into consideration financial and logistical constraints. Students will also design logic models to guide evaluation planning.

EAM-620: Data Collection (3.00)

This course prepares students to use both quantitative and qualitative research methods, and will address, how, when, and why different methods are deployed. In this course, students will learn about quantitative and qualitative data collection methods, sampling strategies for quantitative research, how to design effective survey questions, conduct focus groups and in-depth interviews, understand the role of sample size, select categories of quantitative variables, and assess the reliability and validity of their measurement tools. (See advisor prior to registration.) 

EAM-640: Project Management (3.00)

Successful interventions and evaluations depend on strong planning and project management skills. This course covers skills and strategies related to budgets, planning, stakeholder engagement, staff supervision, and fundraising. Additionally, students will learn about different leadership styles and will work to develop leadership skills.

WDC-614: Grant and Proposal Writing (3.00)

This course covers the complete process of grant and proposal writing and the contexts and strategies of the philanthropic environment. Students will learn how to research funding opportunities, identify and plan successful projects, devise achievable goals and budgets, write proposals for public and private foundations, follow up on both successes and rejections, and incorporate digital technologies.

WDC-615: The Craft of Analytical Writing (3.00)

In this workshop-style course, students will hone the writing and speaking skills necessary for success in their academic and professional careers. Reading assignments will focus on developing sophisticated critical analysis and argumentation skills adaptable for different purposes and audiences. Writing assignments will focus on developing clear, persuasive prose at the sentence, paragraph, and essay levels, culminating in drafting and revising an original research paper, which students will adapt for a 10-15 minute oral presentation.

WDC-618: Technologies of Social Change (3.00)

Students will learn to analyze the impact of digital technology on the formation and effectiveness of social movements and on social change. Focusing on both historical and current events, this course examines the roles of rhetoric and technology in collective action whether in the form of social movements or as embodied and enacted by individuals. We will also study the role of digital communication in promoting behavioral change, such as in the fields of public health or politics.

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