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MSc Social Enterprise

Social enterprises are becoming an increasingly important engine for economic and employment growth. Our Masters degree has been created to support this dynamic sector.

Social Enterprise

Key facts

  • Award Masters / MSc, Postgraduate Diploma, Postgraduate Certificate
  • Start date September or January
  • Duration MSc full-time: 12 months, MSc part-time: 30 months
  • Mode of study Part-time, Full-time, Campus based, Stand-alone modules

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.

  • Top reasons to study with us
  • Flexible learning

    If you’re interested in studying a module from this course, the Postgraduate Certificate or the Postgraduate Diploma then please email Graduate Admissions to discuss your course of study.

  • Research

    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.

  • Academic requirements

    A minimum of a second class honours degree (2.1 preferred) or equivalent in a relevant subject. Applicants without these formal qualifications but with significant appropriate/relevant work/life experience are encouraged to apply.

  • English language requirements

    If English is not your first language you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your English language skills:

    • IELTS 6.5 with 6.0 minimum in each sub-skill
    • Cambridge C1 Advanced (CAE) 176 overall with a minimum of 169 in each sub-skill
    • Cambridge C2 Proficiency (CPE) 180 overall with a minimum of 169 in each sub-skill
    • Pearson Test of English (Academic) 60 overall with 56 in each sub-skill
    • IBT TOEFL 80 overall with 18 in reading, 23 in writing, 19 in listening and 21 in speaking
    • Trinity ISE II Pass overall and Merit in all sub-skills, ISE III Pass overall and in all sub-skills, ISE IV Pass overall and in all sub-skills

    Last updated: 5 December 2019

    For more information on ways that you can meet our English language requirements, including options to waive the requirement, please read our information on English language requirements.

  • Pre-sessional English language courses

    If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this course, our partner INTO University of Stirling offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for entry to this degree.

    Find out more about our pre-sessional English language courses.

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


The modules listed below are those currently intended for delivery in the next academic intake of this course. These may be subject to change as the University regularly revises and refreshes the curriculum of our taught programmes.

Course Details

  • Teaching

    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

    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.

  • Classroom hours

    You’ll attend classes on campus for three full days per module per semester, plus online participation.

    We do have flexible options where you can attend a single master class (one full day), a single module, or up to two modules per semester part-time.

  • Course director
  • Fees and costs

    Fees shown are per year (fees are different for each course)

      2019/20 2020/21

    Home/EU Students

    Fees shown are for full-time, one-year Masters course*

    If you’re domiciled in Scotland, you may be eligible to apply to the Students Award Agency for Scotland (SAAS) for a loan of up to £10,000 to cover your tuition fees and associated living costs. Students domiciled in the EU can also apply for tuition fee support, although may not be eligible to receive funding to support living costs.

    If you're domiciled in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, you should be eligible to apply for a loan from your regional body.

    English students apply for a loan of up to £10,609 per year as part of the UK Postgraduate Loan Scheme, Welsh students can apply for a non-means tested loan of up to £13,000 from the Welsh Government and Northern Irish students are eligible to apply for support of up to £5,500.

    *Fees for students who apply for a Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate will be paid on a pro-rata basis.

    If the course is taken over two years then the fee will be split evenly over the two years. Fees are not pro-rated for students who enrol on a Masters course and decide to exit with a Postgraduate Diploma - the full fee is charged.

    £5,500 £6,000

    Overseas (Non-EU) Students

    Fees shown are for full-time, one-year Masters course. Fees for students who apply for a Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate will be paid on a pro-rata basis.

    If the course is taken over two years then the fee will be split evenly over the two years. Fees are not pro-rated for students who enrol on a Masters course and decide to exit with a Postgraduate Diploma - the full fee is charged.

    £14,300 £15,250

    Please note: You will be liable to pay tuition fees for every year you’re in attendance, and your fees will be held level upon entry. If you need to extend your period of study, you may be liable for an additional fee.

  • Scholarships and funding

    The Faculty of Social Sciences is committed to investing in academically talented students, enabling them to further their education with a reputable qualification from one of the many degree courses on offer at the University of Stirling.

    If you have the talent, ability and drive to study with us, we want to make sure you make the most of the opportunity – regardless of your financial circumstances.

    Learn more about available funding opportunities or use our scholarship finder to explore our range of scholarships.

  • Additional costs

    There are some instances where additional fees may apply. Depending on your chosen course, you may need to pay additional costs, for example for field trips. Learn more about additional fees.

  • Cost of living

    If you’re domiciled in the UK, you can typically apply to your relevant funding body for help with living costs. This usually takes the form of student loans, grants or bursaries, and the amount awarded depends upon your personal circumstances and household income.

    EU and overseas students won’t normally be able to claim living support through SAAS or other UK public funding bodies. You should contact the relevant authority in your country to find out if you’re eligible to receive support.

    Find out about the cost of living for students at Stirling

  • Payment options

    We aim to be as flexible as possible, and offer a wide range of payment methods - including the option to pay fees by instalments. Learn more about how to pay

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.

  • Companies we work with

    The Faculty of Social Sciences and the University of Stirling maintain contacts and networks with social enterprise bodies such as:

    • SENScot
    • Scottish Social Enterprise Coalition
    • Social Firms Scotland
    • Supporters Direct
    • Co-operatives UK
    • SCVO
    • SAOS
    • Social Enterprise Academy

    We have worked with some of these organisations to discuss the needs of their members in relation to potential postgraduate taught provision. This has provided some useful market information and helped us to plan our courses with the social enterprise community in mind.

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