Social Entrepreneurship & Innovation Minor

Build your own path to doing good.

The Social Entrepreneurship & Innovation (SEI) Minor exposes undergraduate students to an integrated approach for applying entrepreneurial principles, concepts, and tools to the world’s biggest social problems. Open to all Notre Dame undergraduates, this customizable minor offers a practical and experiential approach to making the world a better place.  Students will strengthen their entrepreneurial mindset as they develop innovative solutions to global issues such as: poverty, clean water, human trafficking, racial and ethnic discrimination, domestic abuse, literacy, health care, and many others. 

The SEI Minor consists of 15 credit hours, including:

  • two cornerstone courses (6 hours)
  • two elective core courses (6 hours)
  • one capstone course (3 hours)

In addition to the competency-based approach offered in the cornerstone, capstone, and a number of the elective courses, students can build their own hands-on learning experience by choosing from a variety of elective courses across campus and participating in experiential opportunities outside of the classroom. Whatever your area of interest, the SEI Minor will give you the practical tools needed to be successful across the nonprofit, private, and government sectors. Download the SEI Minor PDF for more information and a course map. 

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The SEI Minor is jointly housed in the McKenna Center for Human Development & Global Business and the Pulte Institute for Global Development, both of which are part of the Keough School of Global Affairs. Faculty and staff within both the McKenna Center and the Pulte Institute have extensive experience in implementing projects, conducting scholarly and applied research and teaching courses related to social innovation and entrepreneurship. 


Course Contacts

Jennifer Krauser - Academic Advisor, Pulte Institute for Global Development

Dr. Michael Morris - Academic Director and Professor of the Practice, McKenna Center for Human Development and Global Business

Melissa Paulsen - Academic Director and Professor of the Practice, Pulte Institute for Global Development


Minor Structure

The integrated approach of the SEI Minor includes a logical flow of courses and experiential learning opportunities that expose students to a breadth of topical exploration and depth of subject matter coverage. 

The minor consists of 15 credit hours, including:

  • two cornerstone courses (6 hours)
  • two elective core courses (6 hours)
  • one capstone course (3 hours)

Download the Course Map

Students can choose from a variety of elective courses offered across the campus, allowing them to tailor their experience to reflect their areas of interests (e.g. poverty alleviation, environmental sustainability, racial and ethnic inequities). This flexibility, combined with a number of co-curricular and experiential learning opportunities, allow students to engage in real-world issues. 

Courses will include experiential elements such as: case studies, interviews of social innovators, consulting projects, entrepreneurial audits of social enterprises, simulations, business models for social ventures, and social marketing inventions. Students will also  have opportunities outside the classroom to develop social ventures, intern in social enterprises, participate in social innovation competitions, and volunteer in social initiatives.


Learning Outcomes 

The SEI Minor introduces students to a range of tools, concepts, and approaches that will encourage the entrepreneurial thinking and innovative problem-solving skills that are needed to develop creative solutions to challenging social problems around the globe. The Minor’s interdisciplinary design, experiential learning emphasis, and Integral Human Development theme will give students a learning experience based around twelve critical competencies:

social opportunity recognition guerilla skills adaptation
social opportunity assessment risk mitigation when creating social value building and using networks to affect social outcomes
resource leveraging and bootstrapping when pursuing social initiatives resilience social value innovation
learning from trial and error creative problem-solving planning in unpredictable and uncontrollable circumstances

Career Opportunities

The experiential and applied nature of the SEI Minor helps prepare students for a variety of career paths, including work in: 

  • nonprofit organizations dedicated to addressing social problems
  • companies involved with corporate social responsibility initiatives
  • government organizations responsible for policies and programs serving the disadvantaged or addressing inequities and vexing social needs
  • consulting firms that assist individuals and organizations dedicated to social change

Other ways to get involved with social entrepreneurship at Notre Dame

The McKenna Center and the Pulte Institute coordinate a mix of curricular, research, and community engagement initiatives related to social entrepreneurship and innovation, with a core emphasis on poverty alleviation around the world. Our focus is on the empowering potential of entrepreneurship as a vehicle for addressing social needs and problems in new and different ways. Examples of initiatives in our portfolio include: