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This Masters in Social Enterprise helps to meet the ongoing challenges of commercial viability, innovation and sustainability. It’s a new and exciting course aimed at professionals working within social enterprises, advisors, officials, development officers and sector representatives. The course is also a good choice for anyone wishing to develop a career or an interest in social enterprise.

With a focus on the things that matter to social enterprises, you’ll learn how to deliver excellent service and high social value, build and maintain stakeholder support, secure funding, and measure and communicate success. These are set in the wider context in which social enterprises operate, including political, market and community contexts. With flexibility built into the course, you can opt to gain expertise in specific sectors or functional areas of business depending upon your own personal requirements or the needs of your organisation.

The MSc course offers opportunities to gain specialised expertise in key sectors such as health, social care, housing, education, sport, culture and the environment, or in key functional areas such as finance, HRM, marketing, public relations or operational management. The in-built flexibility of the course means that these aspects can be tailored to the needs of each individual student. Prior learning and experience will be fully assessed and accredited.

The course culminates with a supported project to conduct research and development within the social enterprise sector in Scotland and beyond.

Course details

At the heart of the course are four core modules, each taught over three full days. They provide content on important themes such as:

  • social innovation
  • social value
  • social responsibility
  • social capital
  • social networks
  • legal identities
  • finance/investment
  • entrepreneurship
  • marketing
  • communications and social media
  • leadership
  • strategic management
  • governance
  • stakeholder participation

Delivery will be a mix of full day teaching and online resource support. Teaching days will be spread at regular intervals throughout each semester.

On each core module a day is dedicated to a ‘Masterclass’ for the social enterprise sector in Scotland. You’ll work with detailed case studies and input from industry representatives to provide a high-quality learning experience. This is further enhanced with a range of web-based resources to support and reinforce learning on the course. 

Assessment will be through a mix of coursework, presentations, online participation and an important social enterprise research project. The project will contribute to the Social Enterprise Laboratory at Stirling.


In the Social Work and Social Policy unit of assessment for the 2014 Research Excellence Framework:

  • 24% of our overall research activity was assessed to be world-leading
  • 78% of our overall research activity was assessed to be internationally excellent or world-leading
  • 99% of our outputs were assessed to be internationally recognised, internationally excellent or world leading
  • 100% of research environment factors assessed as internationally excellent or world leading
  • 100% of our research impact was assessed as world leading or internationally excellent
  • The work of more than 90% of our researchers was assessed
  • We were judged to have the 2nd highest research power in Scotland and 13th highest in the UK
  • We ranked 17th overall in the UK and 3rd in Scotland for our research, with a grade point average of 3.01 (out of 4).

The Faculty of Social Sciences has attracted considerable sums of external research funding from Research Councils, Government, independent and charitable funders, and from the European Commission.

After you graduate

Our MSc Social Enterprise provides an opportunity for talented professionals within the social enterprise sector to gain formal qualifications that reflect their contribution to social life. Social entrepreneurs often need to be able to compete for contracts and commissions with other agencies. A goal of this course is to give you the skills needed to allow your individual social enterprises to compete effectively and match the credentials of their private sector competitors.

The content of these courses is aimed at improving the functionality of social enterprises to deliver excellent services and high social value, build and maintain stakeholder support, secure investment, and measure and communicate their success. As a graduate of this MSc and a social entrepreneur you’ll understand more clearly how added value can be driven by integrating these tasks more effectively. This is particularly important where you may have to fulfil more than one strategic role in your organisation.

If you’re looking for a career in social enterprise, this course provides an important grounding in the skills, knowledge and expertise needed to succeed in the sector. Our Masters in Social Enterprise is linked to the practical understanding of cutting-edge new developments in the sector through participation in Masterclasses and the Social Enterprise Laboratory. As a graduate you’ll be fully prepared for the road ahead.

Visit the Social Enterprise MSc page on the University of Stirling website for more details!





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