The certificate in social innovation prepares students for working in fields whose primary mission is to improve the lives of society's most vulnerable and disadvantaged people. The program will teach students how to design and execute evidence-based strategies for advancing human welfare. 

The program's curriculum will provide students with:

  • A substantive understanding of social problems;
  • A methodology for conceiving solutions to such complex problems;
  • A broad set of skills needed to implement solutions in new or existing organizations; and
  • The tools for critically evaluating the effectiveness and sustainability of solutions.


Admission Requirements

Degree seeking and non-degree seeking CU Boulder undergraduate students in good standing from any discipline will be eligible to participate in the social innovation certificate program. There will not be a grade point average requirement to enroll in the program; however, students will be required to achieve a C- or better in all coursework that applies toward the certificate.

Required Courses and Credits

The certificate requires the completion a minimum of 18 credits, of which 9 credits must be at the upper-division level. A maximum of 6 semester credit hours from other institutions will be accepted.

Required Courses
SOCY 4160Designing Social Innovations3
SOCY 4161Executing Social Innovations 13
Students will complete four of the following courses (only one of which can be from SOCY and no more than three of which may be from the any one other department) and, depending on their career goals, can choose all from the same area or from multiple areas.
Care, Health and Resilience
Introduction to Global Public Health
Introduction to Epidemiology
Social Psychology
Disabilities in Contemporary American Society
Explorations in Anthropology
Global Africa: Environment, Development, and Culture
Who Runs the World? Sex, Power, and Gender in Geography
Urban Economics: The Economics of Cities
Economics of Entrepreneurship
Social Inequalities and Social Change
Creating a Sustainable Future
Natural Resource Economics
Environmental Economics
Economic Development and Policy
Topics in Environmental Social Sciences
Environmental Psychology
Environment, Media and Society
Geographies of Global Change
Environment and Society
Population and Society
Global Human Ecology
Social Entrepreneurship & Sustainability
Public Economics: the Economics of the Government Sector
Introduction to Public Policy Analysis
Political Parties and Interest Groups
Capitalism and its Critics
Liberalism and Its Critics
International Affairs
Cross-Cultural Aspects of Socioeconomic Development
International Development: Economics, Power, and Place
Global Issues and International Affairs
Philosophy and the International Order
Current Affairs in International Relations
Global Development
America: An Anthropological Perspective
Cross-Cultural Aspects of Socioeconomic Development
ARSC 3001
Foundations of Comparative Ethnic Studies: Race, Gender and Culture(s)
Critical Issues in Native North America
African American History
Survey of Chicana/o History and Culture
Social Justice, Leadership and Community Engagement Internships
Place, Power, and Contemporary Culture
Special Topics in International Affairs (Humanitarianism)
Facilitating Peaceful Community Change
Introduction to Peace, Conflict and Security Studies
Communication and Conflict Management
Introduction to Communication Disorders
Contemporary Social Issues and Human Values
Social Problems
Crime and Society
Social Movements and the Politics of Protest
Sociology of Education
Introduction to US Gender, Race and Sexuality Studies
Global Gender Issues
Advanced Special Topics in Creative Technology & Design (Design for Change)
Engineering and Entrepreneurship for the Developing World
New Venture Creation
Engineering in History: The Social Impact of Technology
History of Modern Technology from 1750 to the Atomic Bomb
Modern Science and Technological Society
Mechanical Engineering Design Project 1
Mechanical Engineering Senior Design Project 2
Special Topics in Mechanical Engineering (Cookstove Assessment; Project-based Learning in Rural Schools)
Total Credit Hours18