University of Southern California


Who is the ideal candidate for the MS in Social Entrepreneurship?

Are you a smart, motivated learner with a desire to change the world? Do wicked problems like poverty, education reform, hunger, health, gender equity, and the state of the environment keep you up at night? Do you have a great idea for a new social enterprise, and want business skills and savvy to make your launch a success? Do you seek the tools to improve the efficiency and sustainability of your for-profit or non-profit social enterprise? Do you want to bring more meaning to your career in the private sector? Do you want to learn from practitioners in the social impact sector and gain business experience with like-minded students and colleagues? If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, then YOU are our ideal candidate.

What is unique about this degree program, and how will it help me today?

The Master of Science in Social Entrepreneurship is the only graduate degree of its kind offered at a U.S. business school. You can complete this degree in one year through courses held in the evenings and on weekends. If you prefer, you can complete the degree in one and one half, two, or even three or four years, according to your needs. If you have recently graduated or are about to graduate with your undergraduate degree, the Master of Science in Social Entrepreneurship allows you to earn a graduate degree without having to acquire the work experience necessary for admission to an MBA program. Additionally, because of the accelerated nature of the program, the Master of Science in Social Entrepreneurship is a cost-effective option when considering a graduate degree.

Why should I study social entrepreneurship at a business school?

Traditionally, social impact organizations relied on individuals with training in social services and policy. However, as we look to build mission-driven social enterprises, we need to add business-educated individuals into the mix. Designing and managing organizations and/or programs that produce earned income through business models requires the same business skills as any organizations. We believe that nobody is better equipped to offer this training than a business school. The Marshall School of Business has designed this degree program specifically to bring leading faculty and a state-of-the-art business education to individuals looking to use their acquired skill to change the world.

What kind of job will I accept when I graduate? What kind of venture will I be equipped to launch?

When you graduate from the MSSE program, you will have the business skills you need to take on the world's greatest challenges. You may decide to start a new social enterprise and tackle a cause that resonates with you. Or, like many of our alumni, you may join an enterprise as an "intrapreneur," offering an innovative income-producing strategy to an existing problem. You will leave the MSSE program with analytic and technical skills to make your organization financially sustainable and highly impactful. Our graduates seek employment in non-profit and for-profit impact organizations of all sizes. Our small and growing group of alumni includes managers and leaders in:

  • Environmental sustainability
  • K-12 education
  • Global supply chain
  • College readiness
  • Disease prevention and treatment
  • Non-profit consulting
  • Affordable housing
  • Global social enterprise

Do I need to have work experience to be admitted to this program?

No, we do not require you to have a certain number of years of work experience prior to matriculating. Whether you have just completed your undergraduate studies or you have been in the work force for a number of years, you will find the courses valuable and challenging. Our only request? That you are driven to change the world!

When are the MSSE courses offered?

Courses for the Master of Science in Social Entrepreneurship are offered in the evenings and on weekends. This schedule allows you to hold a job or internship during the day and take classes during non-business hours.

Do I have to take the GRE in order to apply? How about the GMAT?

Neither the GRE or GMAT are required to apply to the MSSE.

I have been out of school for a while. Will I feel out of place in this program?

Social entrepreneurship requires bold thinking, new ideas, creative thinking, and teamwork. Your experience will bring tremendous value to your classmates and instructors. We welcome learners of every age to apply to our program.

I'm a current USC student. Do I need to create a new application online?

Yes, you need to create a new profile, password, and application under the Marshall instance of the online admissions system ( Much of the required information is the same, so you may find it easier to open two browsers and copy/paste information from your original USC application into the Marshall application.


  • In the "Application Information" section, complete the current student waiver questions to avoid an application fee.
  • In the "Academic Background" section don't forget to add your current USC degree program to your education history.
  • Yes, the "essay/additional information" questions (see Downloadable Forms) are required.

Is financial aid available for this degree?

Yes! U.S. Citizens and eligible non-citizens can receive financial aid. Please visit the USC Financial Aid Website for details on how to apply and the types of aid available to you as a USC graduate student.

Where can I find information about the tuition and fees?

You can find current USC tuition and fee information at the USC Schedule of Classes website. Click on the most recent semester and then navigate to the "tuition and fees" link on the left side of the page. Look for the line titled "Business Graduate (500 level and above)" to view the tuition cost per unit. The MSSE degree is 30 units in total, so multiple the cost per unit by 30 to get an estimate of tuition for the entire degree. Please note, tuition rates increase annually. For information about receiving financial aid, please visit the USC Office of Financial Aid.

Do I need to send in my transcripts?

Yes, as part of your application, you will need to send official transcripts to USC. You may send your transcripts after you submit your online application to the program. Directions on how to send transcripts are included in the application.

When do classes for this program begin?

Classes for the MSSE program will start at the beginning of July. Please plan to be available starting July 1st for your first class of the program. This date may vary slightly from year to year.

I am an international student, where can I find out about English requirements?

The ability to communicate effectively in English-to read, write and speak the language fluently-is vital to your success as a university student. USC graduate applicants are therefore expected to demonstrate English-language proficiency as part of the application process. You can learn about the options for demonstrating your English proficiency through the USC Graduate Admissions Office.