The Social Impact, Innovation, and Investment (SI3) specialization provides students with the training to practice across sectors (private, nonprofit and public) as agents of social change. By learning the language and tools of both business and policy, you will be able to innovate products, services, delivery systems, enterprises, and investment approaches necessary to improve lives and solve major domestic and global challenges. You will also be uniquely qualified to assess and measure the social impact that arises from these innovative approaches. Students in the specialization are provided a foundation with required courses traversing ideation, entrepreneurship, and social finance. 

Graduates will be prepared to enter the burgeoning social innovation sector as social entrepreneurs, impact investors, impact measurement specialists, corporate social responsibility managers, and a variety of consultant or for-profit and nonprofit management roles where the combined tools of seeking both financial return and social impact are becoming increasingly important.   


Below is an overview of the required coursework. For detailed information, view the program checksheet

DEGREE CORE requirements

Students complete the following courses:

CORE-GP.1011, Statistical Methods
CORE-GP.1018, Microeconomics
CORE-GP.1020, Management and Leadership
CORE-GP.1021, Financial Management
CORE-GP.1022, Introduction to Public Policy

specialization REQUIREmentS

Students complete the following courses:

PADM-GP.2132, Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation by Design
PADM-GP.2145, Design Thinking: A Creative Approach to Problem Solving and Creating Impact
PADM-GP.2311, Impact Investing


Focus Areas

Focus Areas are optional groupings of courses to help you choose electives. You can go deeper in your specialization and develop more advanced skills by choosing electives within the specialization-related focus areas below. To pursue depth in a focus area we suggest completing 9 credits. To pursue breadth, you may also choose electives across focus areas. 

Social Enterprise

The pursuit of social impact and innovation through entrepreneurship and formation of enterprises.

PADM-GP. 2132 Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation By Design is the foundational course in this area.

PADM-GP.2106, Community Organizing
PADM-GP.2132, Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation by Design
PADM-GP.2173, Operations Management
PADM-GP.2174, The Intersection of Operations, Policy, and Leadership
PADM-GP.2249, Scaling Social Enterprises - Experiential Field Course
PADM-GP.2312, Managing Financial and Social Returns of the Social Enterprise
PADM-GP.2407, Advocacy Lab

Social Finance

Courses that explore the use the tools of finance to address societal changes. These courses focus on sustainability, investing and managing businesses with multiple social goals to achieve financial returns alongside social returns. 

PADM-GP.2311, Impact Investing; PADM-GP.2142, Financial Management II; and PADM-GP.2147, Corporate Finance & Public Policy, are foundational courses in this area.

PADM-GP.2127, Corporate Social Responsibility: Social Finance Partnerships and Models
PADM-GP.2142, Financial Management II
PADM-GP.2147, Corporate Finance and Public Policy
PADM-GP.2149, Cost-Benefit Analysis
PADM-GP.2150, Financial Markets and Crises
PADM-GP.2311, Impact Investing
PADM-GP.4313, The Intersection of Finance and Social Justice
PADM-GP.4314, Environmental Finance and Social Impact
PADM-GP.4316, NYU Impact Investment Fund I
PADM-GP.4317, NYU Impact Investment Fund II
PADM-GP.4319, Financing Inclusive Businesses
PADM-GP.4320, Environmental, Social, Governance Investing

Social Innovation, Design, and Technology

Courses that explore the process of ideation, and the use of data and technological tools to achieve social innovation.

PADM-GP.2145 Design Thinking: A Creative Approach to Problem Solving and Creating Impact is the foundational course in this area.

PADM-GP.2145, Design Thinking: A Creative Approach to Problem Solving and Creating Impact
PADM-GP.4311, Lean Approaches to Social Innovation
PADM-GP.4318, Social Impact and Emerging Technologies
PADM-GP.4322, Data and AI Strategies for Social Impact Organizations
PADM-GP.4501, Designing Data Collection for Program Evaluation, Policy, and Management
PADM-GP.4504, Introduction to Database Design, Management, and Security

School-wide Focus Areas

In addition to the courses in the specialization-related elective focus areas above, to gain a breadth of knowledge and skills you may also wish to choose electives from across course offerings, including from the school-wide focus areas or a different specialization. Relevant school-wide focus areas for you to consider as a SI3 student include, Communication Skills; Environment and Climate ChangePhilanthropy and FundraisingSocial Justice and Democracy; and more


The Capstone Program, a year-long consulting or research project, puts you out in the world resolving a problem or conducting an analysis for a client organization. Social Innovation students may instead choose a capstone where they work on a pre-approved, team-generated project developing a business case or prototype to create social impact or launch a social enterprise.

Students must complete the following courses:

CAP-GP.3301 3302 Capstone: Advanced Lab in Social Innovation I &II