Interdisciplinary Studies
College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Other Concentrations

Social Entrepreneurship Concentration

This concentration promotes advanced scholarship that transcends traditional disciplinary boundaries. Students combine required coursework in social entrepreneurship, management, public policy, public and international affairs, and leadership with courses aimed at individual student’s areas of specialization and hands on learning activities. Through this powerful blend of academic courses and experiential learning opportunities (i.e., the practical and the theoretical), students will graduate with the knowledge of leading edge concepts and research-based approaches, as well as the field experience necessary to succeed as social innovators.

Students earning an MAIS with a concentration in social entrepreneurship will learn about the roles that technology, public policy, market based approaches, research, leadership, strategy, and communication play in implementing solutions to urgent challenges around the globe. Whether they work in government, industry, or the citizen (non-profit) sector, these future leaders will be exposed to cutting edge knowledge related to sustainability, ethical leadership, strategic management, and working effectively within complex networks made up of divergent groups of stakeholders. Further, students will be equipped with the experience, strategic knowledge, technical support, and the social networks needed to create, operate, develop and accelerate startups, bring ideas to scale, and improve program effectiveness.

Degree Requirements (Catalog Year 2016-2017)

Students pursuing this degree must successfully complete 36 credits of graduate course work in one of the concentrations below. Students must submit a curriculum worksheet that has been approved by their faculty adviser and the director. 

Courses applied to the degree are subject to the following restrictions: a maximum of 6 credits may be earned through independent study or directed readings and research courses; a maximum of 6 credits may be taken through the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area; a maximum of 15 credits may be transfer credits; a maximum of 6 of the transfer credits may be from other accredited institutions.

Transfer credits include credits taken before first enrolling as an admitted degree-seeking student (at another institution, in another Mason graduate program, or in Mason nondegree status) or credits taken at another institution after admission to the degree program through study abroad or study elsewhere (which requires prior written approval of the director and the dean). Additional information may be found in the Academic Policies section of this catalog.

All students complete their work in the program with a project or thesis. Students are required to take MAIS 796 - MAIS ProSeminar (1 credit), MAIS 797 - Interdisciplinary Studies Proposal (1 credit), and either MAIS 798 - Interdisciplinary Studies Project (1-4 credits) or MAIS 799 - Interdisciplinary Studies Thesis (3-4 credits). Students electing to complete the concentration in community college teaching with a thesis will complete 38 credits.

â–²Concentration in Social Entrepreneurship (SOCE)

The concentration in social entrepreneurship will equip students with the subject matter expertise, strategic knowledge, technical support, and social networks needed to create, operate, develop, and accelerate startups; bring ideas to scale; and improve an existing program's effectiveness. These future leaders will learn about sustainability, ethical leadership, strategic management, and working effectively within complex networks made up of divergent groups of stakeholders. All students will complete a capstone research project and an experiential learning requirement that deliver practical knowledge and real-world experience. This degree is suitable for students seeking careers in government, business, or the non-profit sector.

One required course of proseminar (1 credit)

MAIS 796 - MAIS ProSeminar

Three core courses (9 credits)

Two courses (6 credits) in social entrepreneurship and leadership

INTS 595 - Experiential Learning (take 3 credits when topic is Foundations of Social Innovation)

INTS 595 - Experiential Learning (take 3 credits when topic is leading Social Change)

One course (3 credits) in business chosen from:

GBUS 540 - Analysis of Financial Decisions

GBUS 697 - Special Topics in Graduate School of Business (when topic is Introduction to Entrepreneurship)

MBA 711 - Entrepreneurship

Interdisciplinary perspectives and competencies in social entrepreneurship (9 credits)

Students take three courses from the list of competencies below to complement the skills they have already acquired through formal education and professional experience, or other courses to enhance their skills, including oral and written communication, that are chosen in consultation with an advisor.

Environmental and Public Policy

EVPP 638 - Corporate Environmental Management and Policy

PUBP 761 - Social Entrepreneurship and Public Policy

PUBP 784 - Entrepreneurship, Economics, and Public Policy

Finance and Accounting

GBUS 540 - Analysis of Financial Decisions

PUAD 655 - Philanthropy and Fund Raising

PUAD 664 - Nonprofit Financial Management

Business and Project Management

GBUS 697 - Special Topics in Graduate School of Business (when topic is Introduction to Entrepreneurship) or MBA 711 - Entrepreneurship Credits: 3

MBA 712 - Project Management

MBA 714 - Managing Growth of Small Businesses

MBA 752 - Turning Ideas into Successful Companies

PUAD 505 - Introduction to Management of Nonprofits

PUAD 658 - Social Entrepreneurship and Nonprofit Enterprise

PUAD 659 - Nonprofit Law, Governance, and Ethics

Leadership and Well-Being

INTS 595 - Experiential Learning (when topic is Mindfulness and Leadership)

Subject Matter Expertise (9 credits)

Students must develop expertise in the social problem they seek to address through entrepreneurship. Possible areas of focus include global and/or local poverty, homelessness, human trafficking, conflict resolution, women's rights, racial inequality, educational and health-care access, climate change, environmental sustainability, and human rights, among other possible topics.

Students take:

INTS 540 - Contemporary Issues in Social Justice & Human Rights


6 credits of courses related to the student's chosen subject matter area of expertise, chosen in consultation with an advisor.

Experiential Learning Requirement (3 credits)

 Students will seek out and/or create an opportunity for experiential learning that aligns with a social mission. Experiential learning opportunities can include internships, service-learning, consulting projects, and field studies or research (including overseas). Because the intention is to develop and apply newly acquired skills, students may not use work done previously or their current employment to fulfill this requirement. All experiential learning projects must be approved by the social entrepreneurship concentration head the semester before registering for the course. Students may register for an individualized section of INTS 595 - Experiential Learning or another graduate-level internship or practicum course to fulfill this requirement. Students must complete the experiential learning component before registering for MAIS 798 or MAIS 799.

Proposal (1 credit)

MAIS 797 - Interdisciplinary Studies Proposal

Project (4 credits) or thesis (4 credits)

MAIS 798 - Interdisciplinary Studies Project (take 4 credits)


MAIS 799 - Interdisciplinary Studies Thesis (take 4 credits)

Total: 36 credits

Requirements may be different for earlier catalog years. See the University Catalog archives.

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