MSc Social Innovation

Available as a One Year Masters or a Two Year (with Professional Practice) Masters.

Social innovation – or the development of new ideas, services and models to better address social issues – is a concept that has become known world-wide over the last couple of decades. Social innovation often involves the empowerment of disadvantaged groups and the restructuring of power relations in the ways they are implemented. Social innovation often emerges from civil society to disrupt or pose an alternative to the status quo, such as in the form of microfinance initiatives or social enterprises, and can imply new forms of collaboration that encourage new and less hierarchical relationships between government, civil society and citizens.

Designed to develop your knowledge and expertise in this exciting field of study, the MSc Social Innovation from Glasgow Caledonian University shares its home with the Yunus Centre for Social Business and Health - GCU's world-leading research centre - and is delivered by the award-winning Glasgow School for Business and Society*.

Those encouraging, facilitating and delivering social innovation, whether in the private, public or third sectors, are looking for the right mix of critical, intellectually curious and entrepreneurial scholars and practitioners who are armed with the knowledge and mindset needed to tackle some of the world's most pressing problems.

*winner of 4 QS Stars for Business

As a student of the MSc in Social Innovation, you'll be a part of one of the first global communities of its kind. You will not only analyse the symptoms of our social problems, but also work to uncover sustainable solutions.

The international appeal of this programme ensures knowledge transfer, interactivity and group activities on an international scale and is designed to generate this wide array of knowledge and skills that are translatable into the global workplace.

You will be skilled in effectively communicating issues relating to Social Innovation by participating in guest lectures from practitioners from Scotland, the rest of the UK and the EU.

Download the Programme Specification for a detailed breakdown of its structure, what you will learn and other useful information.

Our two-year masters courses give you the chance to develop your knowledge and professional skills with an extended  work placement. 

You'll experience all the benefits of a regular masters, but with the additional advantage of a further professional practice placement over two trimesters. You'll be fully supported and prepared for your placement, and graduate with significant work experience, in-depth knowledge and understanding of your chosen sector.

Study Options

  • 2020/21


Mode of study


Start date



Full Time
16 Months
18 Jan 2021
GCU Glasgow
Full Time
2 Years
29 Sep 2020
GCU Glasgow
Full Time
1 Year
29 Sep 2020
GCU Glasgow
Award Mode of study Duration Start date Location  
MSc Full Time 16 Months 18 Jan 2021 GCU Glasgow Enquire Apply
MSc Full Time 2 Years 29 Sep 2020 GCU Glasgow Enquire Apply
MSc Full Time 1 Year 29 Sep 2020 GCU Glasgow Enquire Apply

All entry requirements listed here should be used as a guide and represent the minimum required to be considered for entry. Applicants who are made a conditional offer of a place may be asked to achieve more than is stated.

Typical entry requirements

UK honours degree 2:2 (or equivalent) in any discipline.

English language

Academic IELTS score of 6.0 (or equivalent) with no element below 5.5.

Please note: if you are from a majority English speaking country, you may not be required to provide further proof of your English Language proficiency.

Additional information

Other academic and vocational qualifications

Each application to GCU is considered on an individual basis. If you do not have the typical academic entry qualifications, but can demonstrate relevant work experience and/or credits from recognised professional bodies, you may be eligible to enter this course via the University's Recognition of Prior Learning scheme.

International pathways

If you do not meet the English language requirements, you may be eligible for our pre-sessional English programme which is taught at our Glasgow campus.

The tuition fees you pay are mostly determined by your fee status. What is my student fee status?

Tuition fees 2020/21

Home: £6,000
RUK: £6,000
EU: £6,000
International: £13,500

Fees are subject to change and published here for guidance only. Fees and refund policy.

As a student at the University, there are additional fees and costs which may or may not apply to you, but that you should be aware of.

View additional costs


We provide high-quality education for a fair price; as the University for the Common Good, we are committed to offering accessible higher education for talented students by keeping our tuition fees low and providing a generous scholarship package of over £2 million per year.

View our Postgraduate scholarships.

Human Rights, Gender and Development

This module critically examines the relationship between climate change, climate justice and human rights. You will be asked to reflect upon the ways in which climate change impacts upon the socially vulnerable and demonstrate a theoretically informed understanding of the complexity surrounding gender and development.

Global Social Entrepreneurship

This module introduces the concepts of social entrepreneurship, social enterprise, and social innovation, with increasing attention being paid to social entrepreneurship as a means to tackle entrenched social problems such as unemployment, social exclusion and poverty. You will be equipped with the knowledge and skills to decide how a business can change the world, and we will prepare you to enter a world where business and society are intertwined.

Microfinance: Theory and Practice

This unique module critically introduces you to the concepts of microfinance and will equip you with an overview as to how global and local circumstances have shaped how microfinance is practiced and understood around the world. You will study the theoretical underpinnings and origins of microcredit, the different types of microcredit methodologies, the organisation and operation of microfinance institutions, and how to create and enable an environment for microfinance to thrive.

Project Management

You will be introduced to the staff and roles involved in projects, as well as the main phases of the project life cycle. The module provides an awareness of the issues involved in project planning and having control in both small and large scale projects. In addition to developing an understanding of the theoretical aspects of project management, you will use the latest project management software to set-up, manage and control projects yourself.

Social Innovation and Alternative Economic Forms

The module will equip you with a general overview as to how global and local circumstances shape social innovation, and will provide you with the knowledge and skills to determine what factors should be taken into account when developing your own social ventures, or when creating and enabling an environment for social innovation to flourish. Particular attention is paid to how different political, cultural and economic environments favour the evolution of alternative economic forms such as social enterprise; this is studied through real life examples from around the world.

Applied Social Marketing

You will explore the theory and practice of strategic and operational social marketing; this includes planning, effectively implementing and evaluating a social marketing strategy, and analysing campaigns through both traditional and contemporary approaches. You will be trained to effectively understand and evaluate the social marketing environment, both nationally and internationally, and its link to behavioural changes.

Ethics, Governance and Responsible Leadership

By examining the private, public and social enterprise sectors, you will be equipped with a set of analytical tools and concepts to drive responsible decision-making, whilst highlighting the difference between compliance and ethically driven behaviours. You will gain a theoretical and practical understanding of real world issues, from a UK and global perspective, and learn from the PRME related principles and the Common Good attributes which are central to this module.

Applied Professional Practice

Following on from the knowledge you have gained in Ethics, Governance and Responsible Leadership and with a focus on self-reflection, in this module you will develop your professional competence by undertaking a professional engagement activity. The link between these two core modules reinforces the significance of ethical and responsible decision making and leadership within your future career.

Masters Research Project

The final element of the programme is the Masters Research Project which provides you with an opportunity to design and undertake a piece of original research. You will apply methods and theories that are commonly used within the field of Social Innovation, with the support of internationally published literature demonstrate best practice in this field.

A range of coursework assessments are used such as individual and group-based projects and reports, the use and application of creative technologies, group presentations and self and peer review exercises.

The MSc in Social Innovation attracts a wide range of students who share our commitment to social justice and want to explore aspects of social innovation from a critical perspective. This includes governmental employees seeking to develop a flourishing environment for social innovation, to those working in NGOs looking to improve their understanding of the changing environment for international aid, to aspiring social entrepreneurs. Graduates have gone on to academia, to local or central government, and found work in social innovation institutions worldwide.

Start of term September 2020

With all of this uncertainty, we understand that you may be wondering how the COVID-19 pandemic will affect your University start in September. Please be assured that our priority remains your experience. We are working to make the adjustments needed to ensure the best possible start for you. As things change we will keep you informed and have created a dedicated space where we answer some of the questions you may have around COVID-19 and starting University