Social Entrepreneurship Specialization | Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis
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Social Entrepreneurship Specialization

This specialization provides the next generation of changemakers with the skills and perspectives needed to thrive in any sector of the economy.

Ours is the only social entrepreneurship program in the country cross-listed between a school of social work and a school of business, and it prepares students to compete in a global workforce that increasingly demands an understanding of both business and social service principles.

Combining the rigor of a top-ranked MSW program with the real-world knowledge of practicing social entrepreneurs, this curriculum prepares students to be leaders and innovators in the dynamic nonprofit, corporate or public sector roles that they’re likely to find themselves in throughout their careers, both domestically and abroad.

Whether students are interested in launching a nonprofit or social enterprise, or seek to innovate within existing organizations, this specialization qualifies them for employment in a variety of leadership and management roles.

Specialization Requirements: 9 Credits

  • Social Entrepreneurship (3 credits)
  • Financial Management (3 credits)
  • Business Planning for New Enterprises (The Hatchery)^ (3 credits) or Social Innovation (3 credits)

^Taught through the Olin Business School


The specialization requires 120 hours of relevant tasks and activities during the concentration practicum. Sample Social Entrepreneurship practicum sites include:

  • Grace Hill Women’s Business Center
  • Jewish Federation of St. Louis
  • LaunchCode
  • Maplewood Richmond Heights School District
  • New Roots Urban Farm
  • The Mission Center L3C
  • Skandalaris Center
  • Youth Learning Center

Social Enterprise and Innovation Competition (SEIC)

Social Entrepreneurship students are strongly encouraged to participate in Washington University’s annual Social Enterprise and Innovation Competition (SEIC), one of the world’s largest business plan competitions for both for-profit, nonprofit and hybrid social enterprises. Since 2006, the SEIC has awarded over $1 million in startup capital to both student and community entrepreneurs throughout St. Louis and serves as the cornerstone of one of the most vibrant and active social entrepreneurship communities in the country.

Heather Cameron

Specialization Chair

Heather Cameron is the inaugural Michael B. Kaufman Professor of Practice in Social Entrepreneurship at the Brown School. She is the founder of several award-winning social enterprises in the field of education and sports for community development. As an Ashoka Fellow, she has worked all over the world.

Paul Sorenson

Featured Graduate

“The Brown School taught me to engage social problems critically—and to work to solve them in innovative, effective and sustainable ways. There are many deep disparities in St. Louis, but I now feel equipped to do my part in creating a stronger, healthier region.”

—Paul Sorenson, MSW ’12, CEO & Founder, GoodMap