Social Innovation MA

Grand Valley State University

Year Founded: Jan. 1, 2019
Date Posted: Nov. 6, 2019
Submitted by: Wendy Burns-Ardolino
Sustainability Topic: Curriculum
Content Type: Academic Programs
Program Type: Master's Degree
Completion: 2 years
Distance: Local Only
Commitment: Both


The Professional Master of Arts in Social Innovation at Grand Valley State University is designed to prepare graduate students to be change agents who will foster and lead innovation throughout their organizations, businesses and communities.

Social innovation is an emerging professional field focused on impact-driven, cross-sector careers (e.g. governmental and non-profit work, socially-focused entrepreneurship, B Corps). Social innovation is engaged in addressing complex social problems such as: childhood hunger, illiteracy, domestic violence, air pollution, food deserts, contaminated drinking water, poverty, and homelessness.

The SI program at is a 36-credit hour program incorporating graduate courses from social work, business, and public administration with social innovation core courses. Core courses will be offered in the evening on the Robert C. Pew Campus in downtown Grand Rapids in hybrid and face-to-face formats. All courses are 3 credits unless otherwise noted.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Identify appropriate interdisciplinary research methods, approaches and theories to creatively address complex social problems.
  2. Apply interdisciplinary research methods and analysis (including integration, multiple method approaches, and assessment of critical frameworks) to promote sustainable human communities.
  3. Design problem solving strategies using collaborative, iterative processes and involving multiple stakeholders.
  4. Integrate theory and practice within social innovation frameworks broadly, and in their specialized project areas.
  5. Identify and critically evaluate structural inequalities, implicit values, and power relationships across sectors (for-profit, non-profit, and government) which shape the communities with whom they are engaged.
  6. Develop communication skills in order to build relationships with diverse community stakeholders using a variety of forms (such as digital media, research reports, white papers, collaborative interviews, community meetings etc.)
  7. Demonstrate creative engagement with diverse communities, including familiarity with various models and methods of community engagement.

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