The B.I.S. in Social Entrepreneurship prepares students to become agents and leaders of social change who will transform communities through innovative problem-solving and business approaches.

This curriculum prepares students to work in the field of social entrepreneurship and innovation while also providing the business formation knowledge needed to launch a social enterprise at any point in their careers. While completing the degree, students engage in the social entrepreneurship movement that is developing sustainable solutions to problems on the local, national and international levels.

This interdisciplinary degree draws on the coursework of both the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies and J. Mack Robinson College of Business, spanning the entrepreneurship and social impact worlds. Core courses include entrepreneurship, nonprofit organization and management, and financial resource development, as well as an internship in a social enterprise. In addition, students are able to choose from courses across the university to build concentrations that relate to the social issues of concern to them.

The B.I.S. in Social Entrepreneurship, combined with participation in co-curricular experiences, will prepare students to:

  • Understand social innovation and its emergence as a strategy for solving global problems
  • Learn conceptual frameworks and analytical techniques aimed at understanding the social value creation process
  • Understand the financial, legal and business framework of social enterprises
  • Develop the skills needed to both collaborate across disciplines, discovering innovative strategies that address global social problems, and lead in the public sector
Social entrepreneurs are individuals with innovative solutions to society’s most pressing social problems from poverty, malnutrition, and homelessness to lack of access to education, health care and dignified work.

Social entrepreneurship is a growing movement in the nonprofit and business sectors that couples the resources generated by business activities with the social ambitions of nonprofit organizations. Investment in social entrepreneurship is expected to reach $1 trillion by 2020. This growth is fueled, in part, by the limitations of governments to solve social problems and the growing demand to leverage one’s career to achieve both financial security and meaning. The solutions developed by social entrepreneurs may take the form of innovative financially-sustainable non-profits, world changing for-profits, or a range of hybrid models in between, including innovative financing like venture philanthropy, social impact bonds, public-private partnerships and impact investing. Social entrepreneurs are ambitious and persistent, tackling major social issues and offering new ideas for wide-scale change.

Examples of high-impact early stage social enterprises that are growing quickly include:

GiveDirectly is a nonprofit organization started  that sends cash directly to the extreme poor in emerging economies. Learn more: givedirectly.org

Good Measure Meals is a for profit social enterprise that delivers healthy meals throughout the Atlanta and Athens areas. 100% of proceeds  from Good Measure Meals are donated to an Atlanta nonprofit organization that provides Comprehensive Nutrition Care for economically disadvantaged individuals. Learn more: goodmeasuremeals.com

Hello Tractor is a for profit social enterprise that allows farmers in emerging economies to rent a tractor over text message. Learn more: hellotractor.com

LendUp is a for profit social enterprise that serves as an alternative to payday loans. LendUp  allows customers to build credit through successfully repaying loans and offers them lower interest rates and fees. Learn more: lendup.com

New Story is a nonprofit organization, founded in Atlanta, that crowdfunds to build homes for families in emerging economies. Learn more: newstorycharity.org

Star-C is a nonprofit organization that provides social services to refugees who live in the same apartment complex that is located in the Atlanta suburb of Clarkston. Learn more: star-c.org

Teracycle is a for profit social enterprise that, for the right price, will recycle anything. Learn more: terracycle.com

Ushahidi is a Kenyan social enterprise that builds crowdsourcing, mapping, and data visualisation software that is employed to assist with election monitoring, crisis response, and advocacy to support human rights. Learn more: ushahidi.com

Zipline is a for profit social enterprise that delivers vaccines, medicine, or blood via small robot airplanes. Learn more: flyzipline.com

Beyond the specific title of social entrepreneur, many, if not all careers in the 21st century require that one develop the mindset as an innovator, entrepreneur, or intrapreneur. Jobs in the social entrepreneurship field are available in most large cities in the United States as well as many international locations in Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Many positions in the field of social entrepreneurship offer both financial security and the ability to create a positive difference in the world.

Some potential careers for BIS social entrepreneurship graduates include:

1 - Program Coordinator

Working for an established social enterprise, nonprofit, or government entity as a program coordinator is a low-risk way for an early graduate to learn best practices and gain real world experience in solving social problems. Entry level program coordinator positions offer moderate pay and perhaps great benefits. Some positions may offer significant international travel and autonomy, while other positions may be more structured with a 9-5 day to day and limited travel opportunities.

2 - Early Stage Employee at a Social Enterprise

Working for an early stage (startup) social enterprise is an exciting opportunity for a BIS graduate to gain real world experience in social entrepreneurship and take on significant responsibility. If the organization quickly grows, an early employee can find oneself in a leadership role within a couple of years. Positions are likely less structured, requiring the employee to wear many hats and work many hours. Many early stage social enterprises will offer stock options to early stage employees but low pay. Depending on the position travel may or may not be possible.

3 - Social Entrepreneur

A BIS in entrepreneurship, combined with a few years of experience at an early stage social enterprise can serve as strong foundation for an individual to become a social entrepreneur by launching his/her own social enterprise. Becoming an entrepreneur requires a significant time commitment, perhaps offers low pay initially, and the enterprise may fail. But the upside is virtually unlimited, where an entrepreneur can create the future she would like to see in the world.

4 - Corporate Social Innovation Coordinator

Working for the philanthropic arm of a corporation provides graduates with direct experience working at the intersection of businesses and social good. After a few years, an individual who works in social innovation can create significant impact by helping decide how millions of philanthropic dollars are best spent to improve the world. Jobs within the corporate social innovation sector perhaps offer the highest pay and a consistent 9-5 day to day with limited travel opportunities.

Program Admission

There are no admission requirements above the requirements for admission to the University for enrollment in the B.I.S. program with a concentration in Social Entrepreneurship.

Curriculum Overview

Below is an overview of the degree requirements for the BIS Social Entrepreneurship.

Area A through E: Undergraduate Core Curriculum (42)

Complete descriptions of requirements for Areas A through E of the Undergraduate Core Curriculum can be found in the “University Academic Regulations” chapter of the academic catalog. In Area B, it is recommended that students take PERS 2002: Scientific Perspectives—Social Innovation & Enterprise for Global Problems.

Area F: Courses Appropriate to the Major (18)

Below is a list of prerequisites for upper-level courses in the major or courses relevant to the major.

ANTH 2020 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology (3)
BUSA 2106 Legal Environment for Business (3)
ECON 2105 Principles of Macroeconomics (3)
ECON 2106 Principles of Microeconomics (3)
PSYC 1101 Introduction to Psychology (3)
SOCI 1160 Introduction to Social Problems (3)

If ECON 2105, ECON 2106, PSYC 1101, or SOCI 1160 is taken in Area E, any 1000/2000 level course may be substituted.

Area G: Major Common Core Curriculum (33)

BUSA 3090 Survey of Business Principles for Non-Business Students (3)
ENI 3101 Entrepreneurial Thinking for Startups (3)
ENI 3102 The Startup Venture (3)
ENI 3103 Commercializing the Startup (3)
ENI 4100 From Startup to Growth Company (3)
PMAP 3031 Policy Leadership (3)
PMAP 3210 Intro to the Nonprofit Sector (3)
PMAP 3213 Nonprofit Financial Resources (3)
PMAP 3231 Nonprofit Management & Leadership (3)
PMAP 3311 Critical Policy Issues-CTW (3)
PMAP 4941 Internship* (3)

* Internships are required for all BIS Social Entrepreneurship majors. Internship experiences provide students the opportunity to apply concepts and skills associated with their curriculum. This opportunity for professional growth and development requires enrollment in three hours of PMAP 4941. The department’s internship coordinators assist in the search for an appropriate internship opportunity. Students are expected to take the lead in this search. Internship credit requires the completion of 200 hours of work. Students with substantial prior administrative experience may petition to waive the internship requirement.

“C” or better grade is required of all courses in Area G.

Area H: Concentration (18): A “C” or better grade is required for all courses in this area.

BIS majors must choose one of the following four concentrations:

  1. Economic Development and Cities
  2. Education
  3. Global Issues
  4. Health and Human Behavior

BIS majors must complete six classes, 18 hours, from one concentration. For any concentration, students may not take more than 12 credits in any one prefix. Students may petition the program director to add classes appropriate to the concentration if not listed.

Economic Development and Cities (18):

ANTH 4200 Urban Anthropology (3)
CRJU 4440 Street Crime (3)
ECON 4300 Economics of Cities (3)
PMAP 3011 Policy and Politics in the American City (3)
PMAP 3111 Urban Political Economy (3)
PMAP 3021 Citizenship, the Community, and the Public Sector (3)
PMAP 3411 Contemporary Planning (3)
PMAP 4401 Urban Demography and Analysis (3)
PMAP 4451 Economic Development Policy and Planning (3)
SOCI 3201 Wealth, Power and Inequality (3)
SOCI 3340 Population Problems (3)
SOCI 4226 Urban Sociology (3)
SOCI 4279 Metropolitan Atlanta (3)
SOCI 4803 Race and Urban Studies (3)
SW 4350 Economics of Poverty and Public Policy (3)

Education (18):

EDUC 2110 Investigating Critical and Contemporary Issues in Education (3)
EDUC 2130 Exploring Learning and Teaching (3)
EDUC 2300 Introduction to Child Development (3)
EDUC 3010 Introduction to Urban Education (3)
EDUC 3333 Field Experiences in International Education (3)
EPY 2050 Learning, Memory and Cognition in the Real World (3)
LT 3000 Technology, Society and Education (3)
LT 3100 Educational Technology in Africa and the Diaspora (3)
PSYC 4040 Developmental Psychology (3)

Global Issues (18):

ANTH 4040 Race, Class and Gender in Global Perspective (3)
ANTH 4490 Anthropology of Globalization (3)
CRJU 4040 Comparative Criminal Justice Systems (3)
ECON 4220 Environmental Economics and Policy (3)
ECON 4600 Economic Development (3)
ECON 4610 The Economy of South Africa (3)
ECON 4800 International Trade (3)
ECON 4810 International Finance (3)
IB 4100 Introduction to International Entrepreneurship (3)
JOUR 3040 Communicating Environmental Issues (3)
NUTR 3800 International Nutrition (3)
POLS 4210 Politics of Developing Countries (3)
POLS 4422 NGOs and World Politics (3)
PSYC 3570 Multicultural Issues in Psychology (3)
PSYC 4030 Cross-Cultural Psychology (3)
SOCI 3340 Population Problems (3)
SOCI 4050 Global Perspectives on Violence Against Women (3)

Health and Human Behavior (18):

ANTH 3100 Sex, Culture and Sexuality (3)
ANTH 4390 Diet, Demography and Disease (3)
ANTH 4430 Anthropology of Public Health (3)
ANTH 4460 Health and Culture (3)
HA 3900 Introduction to the US Health Care System (3)
HA 3910 Health Policy in the United States: An Introduction (3)
KH 2360 Childhood Health and Wellness (3)
KH 2520 Principles of Physical Activity and Fitness (3)
KH 3000 Personal Health and Wellness (3)
PH 3000 Introduction to Public Health (3)
GERO 4116 Aging and Society (3)
GERO 4200 Health and Older Adults (3)
NURS 2010 Health and Human Development across the Lifespan (3)
NUTR 3100 Nutrition and Health (3)
PSYCH 2103 Introduction to Human Development: Individual and Family Issues (3)
PSYCH 4510 Community Psychology (3)
PSYCH 4520 Environmental Psychology (3)
SW 3000 Communication/Cultural Diversity (3)
SW 3300 Human Behavior and the Social Environment I (3)
SW 3400 Human Behavior and the Social Environment II (3)
SW 4330 Contemporary Health Challenges (3)
SOCI 3040 Cognition and Society (3)
SOCI 3346 Drug Use and Abuse (3)
SOCI 4230 Sociology of Health and Illness (3)

Area I: Approved Electives (9).

Students may select 9 semester hours (three classes) of electives from lower division 1000/2000 or upper division 3000/4000 level classes appropriate to the major.

Complete information about the BIS Social Entrepreneurship curriculum can be found in the GSU catalog: https://catalog.gsu.edu/undergraduate20162017/andrew-young-school-of-policy-studies/#2135-social-entrepreneurship

Curious how you can build a career path to improve the world?

Want to learn more or have questions about the social entrepreneurship major?

Write Chris Markl, Director, B.I.S. Social Entrepreneurship, at cmarkl@gsu.edu.

Meet Chris Markl

Director, B.I.S. Social Entrepreneurship



Chris Markl is a Visiting Instructor of Social Entrepreneurship in the Department of Public Management and Policy. Prior to joining AYSPS, he was as a Social Entrepreneur in Residence at Florida State University's Center for Undergraduate Research and Academic Engagement. As a social entrepreneur, Chris founded Kourage Athletics. Kourage leverages the storied tradition of Kenyan runners to create authentically Kenyan running apparel. Kourage sold products to over 20-countries, was featured on CNN and worked with Olympian medalists. Chris also founded and led two charity cross-country bicycle rides. Outside of entrepreneurship he has worked as an economic analyst in emerging economies. Chris's experience varies from building a monitoring and evaluation system in the middle east to working in textile factories in Latin America. He holds a MA in Political Science from the University of Colorado and a MA in Economics from the University of Georgia.

Chris’s current interests center on early stage technology companies, technology’s ability to solve social problems, technology based social enterprises, and nonprofit growth and fundraising strategies.

Social entrepreneurship is about taking action and below is a menu of opportunities for you to learn about, become integrated into, and help develop GSU’s emerging social entrepreneurship ecosystem. To attend an event, simply register through the corresponding Eventbrite link.

GSU students of all majors or experience levels are welcome. 

Info Session: Social Entrepreneurship Major


Register here


Learn about GSU’s new undergraduate major in social entrepreneurship. Topics include: what is social entrepreneurship, jobs in the social entrepreneurship field, course requirements for the degree including specializations, internships, launching a social enterprise, and co-curricular social entrepreneurship programs.

Social Entrepreneurship Club Meeting


Register here


Collaborate with other GSU students to build GSU’s social entrepreneurship ecosystem. Officer elections are held during the first couple of meetings.

Get Started as a Social Entrepreneur


Register here


Do you have an idea that will make the world a better place? Don’t know how or where to begin? This session will help you make progress on your project or organization, by teaching you how to begin and complete the social innovation process.

Startup Exchange - An organization for students with a passion entrepreneurship. It’s mission is to turn ideas into something. We are a growing group of Hackers, Hustlers, Storytellers, Coders, and Enthusiasts who share a collective passion for creating something we believe in. Our goal is to bring together like-minded, open-minded, and passionate students to foster innovation, collaboration, and entrepreneurship.

uVenture Challenge - This collaborative competition engages students, industry professionals, and faculty/staff in the discovery of entrepreneurship that is prompted by a local company or non-­profit organization. The outside organization challenges student teams to find a business model and associated strategies that will create customer demand, market viability, and/or social benefits. Check out the last uVenture Challenge!

Spaces near campus:
Center for Civic Innovation - The Center for Civic Innovation is a community-driven research and development lab for local governments, nonprofits, and social entrepreneurs. The Center produces workshops, facilitates investments, and is home to 25 social ventures and over 50 individual social entrepreneurs.