Social Entrepreneurship  

Program Description:

The Master of Liberal Studies (MLS) program consists of four major parts: a ten-hour core, an 18-hour concentration, examinations, and a culminating experience project.

Social entrepreneurship involves the application of innovative ideas to assist others in need (such as refugees, the homeless, or abandoned children). If you have a drive to improve our society while earning a living in an occupation that attempts to help people, then this degree may be for you. The MLS in Social entrepreneurship teaches practical skills that allow one to start a nonprofit or work within a nonprofit.

All four core MLS courses have as their basic concern “the human being as knower.” IDS 801 (Introduction to Graduate Liberal Studies) introduces students to the MLS program requirements, introduces students to each of the four core MLS courses, aims to develop the practice of critical thinking, provides a consideration of the nature of studying liberally (how and why humans study), and provides a consideration of possible intrinsic and extrinsic benefits of liberal studies. The major foci of IDS 802 (Ways of Knowing in Comparative Perspective) are: how to know, whether knowledge is relative, and what knowledge is for. IDS 802 builds analytical skills, critical thinking skills, and moral reasoning skills by introducing students to a variety of epistemologies (in the ‘hard’ sciences, social sciences, and the arts and humanities), by offering an explanation and critique of the scientific method, and by introducing students to questions regarding knowledge and its purposes. IDS 803 (Origins and Implications of the Information Society) helps the student understand the context in which ‘humans as knowers’ live. IDS 804 (Information Literacy) helps ‘students as knowers’ acquire techniques and skills for getting and using knowledge.

The three-hour culminating experience will be a project. The project will be developed and carried out under the direction of the student's faculty advisor. The student's faculty advisory committee will be involved in the approval and evaluation of the student's project.  The student will be expected to share their project with the advisory committee, who in turn will evaluate it according to the expected learner outcomes below.

Expected Learner Outcomes:

  • Liberal studies – critical thinking skills, use of knowledge, analytical skills, and moral reasoning skills
  • Advanced disciplinary knowledge and skills in sociology.
  • Introductory research skills – development of techniques and skills for getting and using knowledge.
  • To with sensitivity critically analyze the situation of selected categories of people in need and the social contexts within which these people exist.
  • To with sensitivity forcefully represent the positions of selected categories of people in need in communication with community leaders and members.
  • To identify central ideas within competing positions represented by community organizations that have impact on selected categories of people in need.
  • To use applied sociological principles to find appropriate compromise positions for resolving conflicts that arise during attempts at  assisting selected categories of people in need.
  • To mobilize appropriate resources to assist selected categories of people in need.

Employment/Career preparation: this concentration prepares students for potential employment opportunities of the 21st century which may not yet have been considered which require advanced sociological skills centered around a liberal studies core.  Entrepreneurial careers involving sociology are envisioned.   

Program Advisor/Point of Contact: 
Dr. Keith Campbell               Department of Sociology & Social Work          785-628-5320

This is designed to be a 2-year program.

Specific Concentration Admission Requirements:

  • Effective July, 2012, applications will be reviewed for admission for the Fall semester only. Application materials must be submitted on or before March 1 for consideration.  Admissions decisions will be made between March 2 and April 15 each year.
  • Students must have a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.2 (on 4.0 scale) or higher
  • A one page essay on the question, "For what reasons do you want to pursue this MLS concentration in social entrepreneurship?"      

Curriculum   31 total credits

Below are the 15 hours of SOC required courses.  Candidates who have already completed up to two (six hours) of these SOC courses are required to complete substitute course work in consultation with the concentration coordinator.

  • SOC 665 (Social Entrepreneurship)
  • SOC 670 (Grant Proposal Development)
  • SOC 679 (Community Theory and Development)
  • SOC 680 (Nonprofit Organizations)
  • SOC 681 (NGOs: Global Social Innovation) [To be developed.]

Students will select one of the following as the 6th course in the 18 hours.

  • COMM 606 (Conflict Management Through Communication)
  • MGT 611 (Human Resource Management)
  • SOC 673 (Program Development and Evaluation)
  • - COMM 810 (Organizational Communication and Leadership)

Culminating Experience (3 credit hours)

  • Research conducted under the course IDS 820
  • Focus of culminating experience is to jointly provide advanced practical application of research skills and knowledge base and application of core and concentration classes.

Examinations will be designed and administered by the program coordinator in consultation with the advisory committee in a manner that is consistent with Graduate School policy.

Culminating Experience:

Each student will complete a social entrepreneurship project of appropriate size and scope which reflects the learner outcomes for the degree concentration.      

Back to top