Fall 2024 – 2025 CSIS Program Outlook

Carl Sveen
July 11, 2024
Event Summaries, Executive Programs, Residential Programs, Resources + Recommendations

The Center for Social Impact Strategy (CSIS) is a research and action center based in the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy & Practice. Our mission is to train, equip, and connect change makers to make an impact in their own geography, impact area, or sector. We believe in providing relevant, up-to-date education with immediate real world application. Our programs are designed for accessibility and affordability. We have a range of options that are available to those interested in taking the next step in their social impact work. These include executive programs that result in a certificate from the University of Pennsylvania, short accelerators, residential programs, and free online education.

Upcoming Cohort-Based Program Offerings

Our most extensive offerings are summarized in this table, and detailed further below. All offer a combination of rigorous training in strategy, innovation, collaboration, and leadership, in a format that invites and encourages you to get to know your classmates as colleagues, mentors, cheerleaders, impact creators and potential collaborators. Our programs demand mostly independent work, and social impact work can be isolating. We invite you to join this thriving, engaged community of world changers, and help build this generous, motivated, and friendly network.

Program Start

Early Enrollment Deadlines

Potential NPL accelerated credits**

Learning Format



Social Innovation Design (XSD)
September 9, 2024 July 29, 2024 3 Blended 7 months $4,600
Social Impact Strategy (Blended)
January 15, 2025 November 25th, 2024 4 Blended 8 months $4,950
Social Impact Strategy (Online)
Sept 12, 2024 | Jan 16, 2025 | May 15, 2025 Aug 15, 2024 | Nov 25, 2024 | April 1, 2025 4 Online 8 months $3,950

Executive Programs

Our Executive Programs give students the tools, community, and confidence needed to effectively drive social change in their communities and work. Through online and blended formats, students are guided through online coursework that is punctuated with synchronous learning opportunities with global change makers. Each program is cohort-based and allows students to to maintain their full-time jobs, and to learn from anywhere. Upon completion, graduates receive a certificate from the University of Pennsylvania and are eligible to complete the Master of Science (MS) in Nonprofit Leadership (NPL) in an accelerated format.


Each of our programs have been designed such that working on the assignments aligns with and supports what they’re working on in their organizations or communities. All assignments will be completed using our frameworks and tools about the student’s organization or social impact initiative. Students engage with these applied assignments from the very first week of our programs, and we encourage students to share assignments and collaborate with coworkers and colleagues throughout the program.

Executive Program in Social Innovation Design (XSD) – Applications are open!
September 2024 – April 2025: Developed in collaboration with Stuart Weitzman School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania, the Executive Program in Social Innovation Design offers an applied learning approach to human-centered design and strategy. Students are encouraged to identify a social problem, imagine innovative and sustainable solutions, and learn the tools to prototype and implement their ideas. Learn more about XSD here.

Apply to XSD Here

Executive Program Social Impact Strategy (SIS) – Blended (B) – Applications are open!
January – September 2024: Offers tools for social sector initiatives to help collaboratively cultivate healthy organizations, develop innovative services, articulate them to diverse stakeholders, and implement them in ways that reflect community values and continuous improvement.

Apply to SIS-B Here

Executive Program Social Impact Strategy (SIS) – Online (O) – Applications are open!
Multiple start dates: The SIS-Online program offers the same core curriculum as the SIS – Blended program but offers more flexibility in terms of start date, and economy by replacing the on-campus visit with an online class. The application is the same for all SIS – Online cohorts and has a drop down menu with the options available. Program start dates include: September 12, 2024, January 16, 2025, May 15, 2025, and September 11, 2025.

Apply to SIS-O Here

Learn more about SIS Blended and Online here.


Information Sessions

Sign up for our upcoming informations sessions! We look forward to meeting you.

General Info Session 1: July 30th at 4pm EST
General Info Session 2: August 20th at 4pm EST
Masterclass (Sample Class): September 17th at 4pm EST
Alumni Panel: October 15th at 4pm EST
General Info Session 3: November 12th at 4pm EST

***All nonprofit leadership (NPL) master’s students must take 10 credit units in order to earn a master’s degree. The  credit equivalencies in the table indicate the number of credit units that will be applied to accelerated students after they 1) earn their CSIS executive program certificate and 2) apply, are admitted to, enroll in, and complete all other NPL Masters program requirements. Students who enter the NPL program after completing the SIS executive program must complete six (6) NPL credit units (CUs) at least four (4) CUs of which must be from the core offering. Students who enter the NPL program after completing the XSD or DMSI executive programs must complete seven (7) NPL credit units (CUs) at least four (4) CUs of which must be from the core offering. CSIS executive programs confer no course credit in the stand-alone program — executive students must complete the NPL degree in order to obtain these equivalencies. Find more information about the relationship between CSIS executive programs and Penn’s MS in Nonprofit Leadership here.

Free Online Courses in Social Impact

Social Impact Strategy: Tools for Entrepreneurs and Innovators is a free, four-week massive open online course in social impact strategy available on Coursera to anyone in the world. Taught by Professor Peter Frumkin, Faculty Director of the Center for Social Impact Strategy at the University of Pennsylvania, students learn how to design, develop, and launch social impact organizations of their own invention. This course will cover a select set of topics associated with social innovation and entrepreneurship, whether nonprofit or for-profit. By taking this course, students will learn how to:

  • Launch social entrepreneurship projects which have high potential of significant positive social impact;
  • Direct energy and limited resources to efficiently launching those projects with the most promise;
  • Apply tools and frameworks to test and scale a own social enterprise.

We also offer free online classes in Corporate Social Responsibility (on EdX) and Arts & Culture Strategy (on Coursera).

Other free tools and resources are available in smaller bites on the CSIS website’s Independent Learning page.

Residential Programs

The Global Social Impact House (GSIH) brings together 20 global social entrepreneurs, creative intrapreneurs, and innovators who are actively working on a social impact initiative.

GSIH is a seven-day residential program that provides fellows with the tools, community support, and training they need to advance their ventures. Agendas are customized to the needs of fellows and explore advanced concepts in business models, design thinking, and leadership. The program is designed to help fellows unplug from their home environments and immerse themselves in nature, while building meaningful, global connections.

We welcome applicants with a compelling and tested concept for social impact. The only prerequisite for admission is completing CSIS’ free online course in social impact strategy, described above. CSIS will provide full program scholarships to every fellow, which includes accommodation and food. Fellows are responsible for covering travel and visa-related expenses to and from the location.

Additional Resources
Center for Social Impact Strategy Code of Conduct
School of Social Policy and Practice Refund Policy