Who is the ideal candidate for the M.S. 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 nonprofit 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.

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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 evenings and on weekends. If you prefer, you can complete the degree in one-and-a-half or two 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.

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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 to the mix. Designing and managing organizations and/or programs that produce earned income through business models requires the same business skills as any organization. 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 skills to change the world.

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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 existing enterprise, offering an innovative perspective and business 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 nonprofit 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
  • Nonprofit consulting
  • Affordable housing
  • Global social enterprise
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    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!

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    When are the MSSE courses offered?

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

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

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

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    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.

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    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 on the online admissions system (https://usc.liaisoncas.com/applicant-ux/#/login). 

    Quick tips:

    • Add your current USC degree program to your education history in the "Academic Background" section.
    • The "essay/additional information" questions (see Downloadable Forms) are required.
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    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.

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    Where can I find information about the tuition and fees?

    You can find current USC tuition and fee information on 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 multiply 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.

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    How do I send in my transcripts?

    Copies of official transcripts must be sent from all post-secondary schools directly to USC. You can use one of the following two methods:

    Electronic transcripts

    Official electronic transcripts must be emailed directly from all post-secondary schools you have attended to the USC Office of Graduate Admissions at etrans@usc.edu. 

    Hard copy transcripts

    Hard copies of official transcripts from all post-secondary schools you have attended should be mailed to the address below:

    University of Southern California
    USC Office of Graduate Admissions
    3601 S. Flower St., Rm. 112
    Los Angeles, CA 90089

    Note: Hard copy transcripts must arrive at USC in a sealed envelope from the institution. You may not send transcripts that have been previously opened.

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    When do classes for this program begin?

    Classes begin mid June and orientation is held the first Saturday and Sunday in June. Orientation for the program is mandatory. 

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    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.

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    I am an international student and I want to apply for the Optional Practical Training (OPT) for STEM programs. Are you considered a STEM program?

    Unfortunately, we are not designated as a STEM program as defined by the Department of Homeland Security for the STEM extension. However, you can still apply for OPT for one year after completed the degree program. 

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