Executive Education

Executive Program in Social Impact Strategy

An intensive program designed to support people with big ideas. The Executive Program in Social Impact Strategy is an 8-month online and in-person certification from the University of Pennsylvania for leaders and innovators working to make an impact.

Students in our Executive Program come from all industries, including non-profits, for-profits, government agencies, and community organizations. Our students are working to grow their social enterprise, bring tested approaches to their companies, learn more about the social impact landscape, and expand their network. Plus, when students graduate from the Executive Program, they will have completed 40% of the credits needed to get a master’s degree in Nonprofit Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania.

Key Details

Program Duration
January 21, 2020 – August 23, 2020
On-Campus Convening
Week of March 16, 2020
Regular Decision Tuition
Regular Decision Application Deadline
November 18, 2019
"Just-in-Time" Tuition
$5,950 (if spots are available)
"Just-in-Time" Application Deadline
December 2, 2019

Download a Program Viewbook

See the program in action and read about the Executive Program’s faculty, curriculum, and how alumni have put their learnings to use.

Get Tools You Can Use Immediately

Our 8-month curriculum is designed to help you put your learning into practice right away, giving you access to tools, frameworks & resources that you can use in building and scaling your ideas.

Earn Ivy League Credentials

Upon completing this program, you’ll receive a certificate from the University of Pennsylvania. You’ll also have the opportunity to continue your studies after graduation, as you’ll be 40% of the way towards completing a master’s degree in Nonprofit Leadership at Penn’s School of Social Policy & Practice.

Join a Supportive Global Community

Launching and scaling solutions can feel lonely sometimes. You’re not going it alone — the Penn community is made up of global thought leaders and changemakers who are ready to support your impact idea.

Learn from Wherever You Are

Complete the Executive Program from wherever you are in the world. We’ll convene at Penn’s campus for four days of connection, learning, and community-building, but the rest of your learning will take place online among your community of colleagues.

Keep Your Day Job and Get New Perspectives

Whether your impact idea is directly related to your job or you’re building it on the side, you can complete this program at the same time. You’ll attend class on your own schedule, fitting 4-8 hours of coursework into your weekly calendar.

Complete Your Work at Your Pace

You can schedule your one-on-one sessions with social impact experts during times that work best for you. Connect with your classmates from every time zone across the globe each week for interactive group discussions.

Meet the Instructors

How 8 months of learning unfold


Walk through and get comfortable with the learning platform.

Social Impact Strategy

In this core class, you’ll gain access to the tools and training you need to articulate your mission, build a team, and develop a strategy to build a successful social enterprise or initiative.

On-Campus Convening

Hear from Penn faculty, develop your idea, and make connections with fellow classmates.

Community & Collaboration

In this core class, you’ll learn top techniques for understanding communities, mapping the abundant resources we have around us and leveraging partnerships.

Marketing for Social Impact

In this short class, you’ll understand how to identify what beneficiaries and customers need– and build a marketing platform to share your idea successfully.

Business Models for Social Enterprise

In this core class, you’ll gain the knowledge to build something that lasts via an innovative funding model.

Program Electives

Take as many electives as you want to learn tactics and tools relevant to your needs. Electives include: Impact Management, Nonprofit Governance; Nonprofit Fundraising; Ethics and Social Impact; Data Science for Social Innovation; Social Media Strategies; Unleashing Large-Scale Social Movements; and Digital Media for Social Movements.


Once you complete your coursework, you’ll gain a Certificate of Completion. Your certification will be accredited and count towards 40% of a Masters in Nonprofit Leadership at the University of Pennsylvania.

Info Sessions

Is the Executive Program right for you? Let’s talk about it! Spend 30 minutes with our team to find out how the Executive Program works, who’s participated in years past, and whether it’s right for you.

November 8, 2019, 12:00pm EST

Frequently Asked Questions

How will my application be evaluated?

We want to hear your story, your hopes and dreams and what you want to accomplish in your career. We are looking to learn about you, what you’re passionate about, what you want to learn and why. Whether you’re looking to grow your current organization, want to transition into more social impact work, or you’re trying to have the time and space to reboot and consider what’s next, be honest about where you’re at in your journey. We hope that the application process might serve as a reflective practice for you to step back and articulate what you’re hoping to accomplish. If you have questions about admissions, please don’t hesitate to reach out at admissions@socialimpactstrategy.org so we can discuss.

Are financial aid or scholarships available?

Our program is designed to have the lowest tuition possible without losing the integrity of the educational experience. We’re proud to say it’s one of the most affordable executive programs available today. Since the program tuition is already being offered at a discounted rate relative to other similar programs, we’re unfortunately unable to offer any scholarships. We can, however, offer students who would like additional time to complete their payment the option of an interest-free payment plan over the course of 3.5 months. Previous students have gotten partial or full tuition covered from their employers as well, and we also encourage students to crowdfund if possible. If you have questions about finances, please don’t hesitate to reach out at admissions@socialimpactstrategy.org so we can discuss.

We offer the following interest-free payment plans for students who may require additional time to pay their tuition:

December 19, 2019: $950 Deposit Due
January 9, 2020: $2,500 Payment 1 Due
March 9, 2020: $2,500 Payment 2 Due

What is the refund policy for the Executive Program?

The $950 tuition deposit is not refundable. Refunds on balances paid will be made according to the policy of the School of Social Policy and Practice OpenSP2 refund policy.

OpenSP2 supports requests for refunds to non-credit programs in writing only to the appropriate program leadership, please see the specific program page for contact information. On-demand programs require that refunds requests occur within 14 days of the start of the program, and only if less than 25% of course materials have been engaged with (based on course data analytics). Programs which run on a calendar basis with live class sessions require cancellation and refund requests to be made at least 14 days in advance of the course start date. OpenSP2 may provide a transfer option to individuals who cancel beyond the limits of this policy, that decision is at the discretion of the program leader. Individual programs and programs from affiliated PennSP2 centers each set final program cancellation and refund policies; participants should check program policies before registration and payment. OpenSP2 is a division of the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy & Practice which receives the right to change, alter, adjust this policy. OpenSP2 reserves the right to cancel any program for low enrollment or other extenuating circumstances at any time, before the start of the program. If SP2 cancels a program, all participants will receive a full refund. Please also note programs offered on 3rd party platforms (edX or Coursera) are subject to the policies of that platform.

Official communications may be sent to admissions@socialimpactstrategy.org

Are there any prerequisites to apply?

No, there are no educational prerequisites to apply for this program — we are looking for leaders across all industries with a variety of perspectives.

If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out at admissions@socialimpactstrategy.org so we can discuss your questions.

What courses will I take during the program?

You will complete a total of six online courses and attend an in-person convening at the University of Pennsylvania. Required courses include: Social Impact Strategy, Business Models for Social Enterprise, Community and Collaboration, and Marketing for Social Impact. Students select two additional electives: Ethical Decision Making in Organizations, Data Science for Social Innovation, Nonprofit Governance, Nonprofit Fundraising, Introduction to Social Media Strategies and Impact Management.

What opportunities do you provide alumni?

Alumni are a critical part of the CSIS family, and they receive lifelong access to the CSIS community. We have a private Facebook group dedicated to conversations online for anyone in our network to share resources and support one another, as well as an online Global Network connecting our entire alumni community. We also host a free summit in Philadelphia to bring our diverse community together and offer one another a deep sense of community and connection.

What is the in-person programming?

Our program also features an in-person learning component which is critical to our educational model. The in-person component will take place at the University of Pennsylvania the week of March 18, 2019. During this time you will complete critical coursework in design thinking and leadership. You will also solidify relationships with the other members of the cohort to share your ideas and build connections that facilitate your learning throughout the year.

See the Program in Action
Download Program Viewbook
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