2023-2024 CSIS Program Outlook

Carl Sveen
June 15, 2023
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 & Duration


Potential NPL accelerated credits**

Learning Format


Social Innovation Design (XSD)
August 2023 August 1st, 2023 3 Blended $5,750
Social Impact Strategy (SIS)
January 2024 *Last Chance Deadline is January 15th, 2024 Blended or Online $6,450 0
Digital Media for Social Impact (DMSI)
February 2024 *Last Chance Deadline is January 15th, 2024 Online $4,950 0
Penn Social Impact Accelerator (PSIA) Online
Apr 11-12, 2024; May 1-2; or May 9-10, 2024 Register at least 3 weeks before, or until class fills 0 Online $950 per course
Penn Social Impact Accelerator (PSIA) In-Person
June 5-7, 2024 Register at least 3 weeks before, or until class fills 0 At Penn’s Philadelphia Campus $3,950
Global Social Impact House (GSIH)
June 20-26, 2024 February 20, 2024 0 Residential $0

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 closed

  • August – March 2024: 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.

Executive Program Social Impact Strategy (SIS) – Apply to either Blended or Online by our last chance deadline of January 15th, 2024.

Executive Program in Digital Media for Social Impact (DMSI)Apply Here by our last chance deadline of January 15th, 2024.

  • February – June 2024: Developed in collaboration with Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, the Executive Program in Digital Media for Social Impact uniquely combines social impact strategy with communication theory to help changemakers advance their digital media strategies.

Penn Social Impact Accelerator

The Penn Social Impact Accelerators (PSIA) offer two distinct options designed to provide flexible and condensed experiences to activate a person or organization toward their social impact goals. The two program formats consist of a fully online option with three separate sessions that will each be conducted over two-days and one three-day in-person intensive at the University of Pennsylvania. Each of the three online sessions will have a specific focus on a topic or theme. Stay tuned for more information on PSIA!

For 2023-2024, there will be online sessions offered in:

  • Personal Transitions (April 11-12, 2023)
  • Strategy (May 1-2, 2024)
  • Social Innovation Design (May 9-10, 2024)

The 3-day in-person retreat will be held June 5-7, 2024 and will cover all topics from the three separate online sessions.

  • Personal Transitions (June 5, 2024)
  • Strategy (June 6, 2024)
  • Social Innovation Design (June 7, 2024)

Each unique offering combines community, a practical curriculum, and accomplished faculty and facilitators to help you reach your social impact goals in a condensed format.

We invite people to join from all backgrounds, stages of their career, and walks of life. Whether you are in a nonprofit, for-profit, government role, or budding entrepreneur, and regardless of whether you are brand new to social impact or a seasoned veteran, the Penn Social Impact Accelerator is designed to help (re)ignite your passion and hone your focus.

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


***Nonprofit Leadership 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.