The Master of Arts in Social Impact (MSI) degree is a dynamic program that seeks to bring more innovation and more diversity, equity and inclusion to the nonprofit and entrepreneurial ecosystem. This degree program is designed for aspiring founders, emerging social entrepreneurs, nonprofit leaders and mission-driven changemakers. It is for anyone interested in turning their passion for changing the world into a concrete plan.
With an emphasis on social impact, effective leadership, financial resources, and sustainability this program is preparing a new generation of diverse nonprofit founders and entrepreneurial innovators. In addition to learning about grant writing, board development and program evaluation, students gain skills in how to build a promising business model, develop revenue streams to diversify their funding, and proven marketing strategies. What students can expect to gain are the tools to get their social change idea successfully off the ground and running.
Graduates of the M.A. in Social Impact are prepared to launch innovative new programs, nonprofits and social-impact businesses in their communities and around the world. From poverty, education and homelessness to unemployment, healthcare and climate change, our students utilize an impact-focused lens to see opportunity as they compassionately address local and global social problems.
The M.A. in Social Impact is developing world-class nonprofit and social business leaders. This program gives students the tools they need to take their mission-driven work to the next level.
Claremont Lincoln's master's degree programs all have the distinct advantage of being 100% online, providing the flexibility to determine how and when coursework is performed. CLU master's degree programs can be completed in as little as 13 months. In addition, the Admissions process has been streamlined for convenience. Neither a GRE or GMAT score is required to apply or be admitted.
Social Impact courses are taken along with courses from The Claremont Core. These courses teach the engagement skills necessary to implement the theories and ideas of social impact.
Social change begins with the development and transformation of individuals. This class offers an in-depth understanding of the role of leadership in the nonprofit and social sector, including models, strategies, and practices that the student can adopt and apply in their day-to-day practice of leading social impact work. The course addresses a shift in the paradigm of change leadership that recognizes that leaders are more effective when they stand within, not beyond, the system they are working to impact. Using this as a basis, the course explores theories and models of leadership and their application to one's own leadership style and ways of working with teams, organizations, and communities.
Understanding the history and context of social impact innovation provides context for future action. In this course, you will examine the history and heritage of social change in a global context and will analyze social issues to find points of leverage to participate in change-making and determine where you might choose to engage. You will also research, analyze, and synthesize philosophies of social change, leadership styles and competencies, and articulate your own. By the end of the course, you will better understand where you fit into the landscape of social change and consider the ways in which you will engage.
Philanthropy is more than just giving money; it is purposive and often seeks to stimulate social, economic, and political change. Understanding the complexities and ways in which change is enacted through philanthropy is essential in navigating the world of grant writing and advancement. This course is designed to introduce you to philanthropy broadly and the various aspects of fundraising including, fund development, proposal writing, relationships and strategies that support fundraising, and donor relations and partnership building for sustainable fundraising. You will leave this course with the skills to complete a case for support, a fundraising strategic plan, and a grant proposal.
Impact measurement is an approach to social engagement that asks participants to evaluate results and improve on future performance. In this course, you will define and facilitate shared vision and values for intended impact, demonstrate understanding of diverse approaches to defining and measuring success in social impact, construct models for change, and articulate assumptions underlying organizational actions. This course also provides practice with needs assessment; generation of organizational models; understanding of design thinking; and strategies for collaborative and emergent change.
Generating sustainable social impact requires the ability to identify and secure financial, social, and human resources. In this course you will explore business models for social change and contemporary financing frameworks. You will learn various marketing strategies to lead and manage marketing campaigns and communication for nonprofit and social sector organizations. By the end of the course, you will gain an advanced knowledge of resource management and allocation and will be able to design sustainable resource models and marketing strategies for successful social impact.
An overview of the financial accounting and reporting process for managers is the focus of this course. It is designed to facilitate understanding of the financial reporting process and forecasting for strategic thinking and informed decisions. Students will use various data analysis tools to make judgements about a firm's financial condition in an ever-changing business landscape. Key topics include the time value of money, cost and value, the fundamental relationship between risk and return, choosing investment projects that support firm strategy, alternative financing decisions, and sustainable business practices.
This course covers the broad range of factors that the student needs to know to design, implement, and trouble-shoot high quality programs or projects. It details the phases of program development from design to evaluation and continuous quality improvement. Students will become familiar with several project management tools including GANTT charts, flowcharts, RACIS, and others. The course also provides students with various project documentation tools, both paper-based and electronic for team monitoring and communication. Case studies will augment the student's understanding of real-world application of project management tools.
In this university-wide foundational course, learners begin their engagement with the four domains that make up the Claremont Core domains: Mindfulness, Dialogue, Collaboration, and Change. These four domains consist of transferable skills and resources that support leadership and facilitation capacities that accentuate students' professional work. Students become familiar with aspects of mindfulness and dialogue that will undergird their work. Concepts of collaboration and change leadership are also introduced, and students begin the process of locating their work in a community where positive social change can be facilitated. Finally, students also determine the scope and aim of their Capstone Projects and begin to use resources from the four Claremont Core® domains to build their research repertoire and leadership acumen.
In a world that is reimagining what is possible, Strategic Communication: Building Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion will present students a historic perspective of the legacy and manifestation of structural racism, and other societal and cultural marginalization including the unintended consequences of systemic exclusion. Students will build upon the principles learned in the Claremont Core® to create environments where difficult conversations can take place with both internal and external audiences. This course will equip students to tackle challenges with diverse teams using language which acknowledges and respects difference to create equitable outcomes. In this course, students analyze self, personal strengths, and biases, and accumulate tools and communication skills in dialogue, collaboration, and bridging across divides. With these tools, students hone their abilities to build advocacy for dismantling oppressive structures and rebuilding personal, professional, and civic spaces that maximize diversity and facilitate equity and inclusion for all.
This course builds on the foundational aspects of the Claremont Core®, focusing on how students can become mindful, engaged, and inquisitive research practitioners for positive social change. Students will develop an ability to critically evaluate what research methods are best suited for certain types of research projects. This course will specifically focus on the role of research methods that can address, illuminate, or explain enduring and newly salient social problems.
Throughout the course students will consider the entire research design process, learning how to conceptualize, problematize, diagnose, understand, and translate findings across social, political, environmental, healthcare, and organizational contexts. By the end of this course, students will have had experience posing research questions, exploring their own research goals, understanding the primary components of the research design process, and consuming a variety of styles of inquiry and action. Students will also consider course concepts in the context of their own future projects, and begin activating the research skills they will use in Applying the Claremont Core® Capstone Course. (Prerequisite: MCC 5320: Invitation to Inquiry: Foundations of the Claremont Core®)
As the culminating course in all programs, students apply skills, knowledge, and professional application learned throughout the degree. The planning for this course begins at the start of the program, continues through the evolution of learning as students design their projects, and peaks with students being prepared to implement the project during the capstone course. The specific content in each student's degree program provides a foundation for the research and design. The Capstone Project demonstrates student mastery of program and institutional learning outcomes. Must be taken during student's final term.
In an increasingly interconnected world, leaders who want to make positive, sustainable change need to develop the critical perspectives and collaborative skills necessary to reach across traditional barriers of ideology, culture, and faith. At CLU, we put development of these capabilities at the center of our degree programs. The result is the Claremont Core®, a sequence of four innovative courses. Progress through the Core takes you through a process of self-awareness and steadily evolves towards engagement with others and society at large. Learn More.
Claremont Lincoln University is a non-profit, "online-by-design", graduate university providing socially conscious education and multiplying social impact through the work of its students in the world.
As a nonprofit university, Claremont Lincoln University is focused on the student's learning experience as well as their career success. Funds received from donations, endowments and tuition go directly to curriculum and to enriching our students' education.
Since CLU is both online and nonprofit, the university is able to serve students who are not well served by traditional institutions and universities— allowing the university to deliver the innovative education its founder and benefactor David C. Lincoln envisioned.
Claremont Lincoln University is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC), 985 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 100, Alameda, CA 94501, (510) 748-9001.
The Commission has confirmed that Claremont Lincoln University has satisfactorily addressed the Core Commitments to Student Learning and Success; Quality and Improvement; and Institutional Integrity, Sustainability, and Accountability and is found to be in substantial compliance with the WSCUC Standards of Accreditation.
To obtain a copy of Claremont Lincoln University's WASC accreditation, please contact:
Accreditation Liaison Officer
Student Achievement & Accreditation
Claremont Lincoln University has entered into a complaint agreement for private non-profit institutions with the California Bureau of Post-Secondary Education (BPPE).
Department of Consumer Affairs
Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education
2535 Capitol Oaks Drive, Suite 400
Sacramento, CA. 95833
Chief Complaint Unit
This online master's degree in Social Impact aligns with the mission of Claremont Lincoln University to educate students on how to treat others as they would like to be treated by reaching across differences to create a more just and equitable world for all. In this program you will learn:
As a graduate of the Social Impact program, you will be prepared to approach your career from a new perspective. The skills and competencies this degree offers you can apply to roles in a variety of capacities such as:
A completed Bachelor's degree from an accredited institution is required to apply to Claremont Lincoln University. Neither a GRE or GMAT score is required for enrollment.
The Admissions process has been streamlined for applicants to complete the online application in 15 minutes or less. Unofficial Transcripts and a current Resume or CV are required to be uploaded with the online application. The Enrollment Committee will then review the application and determine an acceptance status within 24 business hours. A determination letter will then be sent, and in return, an acknowledgment of its receipt will be needed. The Admissions, Financial and Student Services Team will finalize any other necessary items to complete Enrollment.
Claremont Lincoln University reserves the right to request additional items as deemed necessary by the enrollment committee to determine student readiness for the graduate level workload. Claremont Lincoln University reserves the right to accept, provisionally accept, or deny students upon the evaluation of all admission documents.
Here is what some of our current and past students are saying about Claremont Lincoln University. We are committed to being a student-centered community and are proud of how we have continued to establish dialogue and long-lasting relationships with our graduates by showcasing their action-oriented and impactful work across the globe.
"The Master's of Social Impact program taught me to take a grassroots approach to development."
"Prospective students can expect to be challenged to grow as leaders, collaborators, and change-makers in their field and sector. The knowledge provided by the Social Impact program combines high level theoretical and critical thinking with practical grassroots implementation of learning and tools. This program equips students to become transformational leaders."
"In addition to growing academically, personally, and professionally, I hope students gain a community of thought partners and allies rooted in the mission of social change, love, and justice."
"CLU has been such a blessing to my life. CLU helps strengthen my leadership skills through mindfulness, meaningful dialogue and collaborations that allow us to suspend assumption, approach non judgmentally and create strong foundations of shared vision in order to not forget the human part of our world, as we seek our purpose and deeply feel and understand our "why" in our journey towards change."
Many hard working professionals contribute to a Claremont Lincoln University education. Here are just a few of the great faculty and staff that you will meet at CLU:
Dr. Oluwunmi Ariyo received her Bachelor of Arts in Communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She also holds a Master of Arts in Communication from Wake Forest University and a Higher Education Administration doctorate from the University of Florida. This change agent brings with her over fifteen years of post-secondary teaching, community engagement, first year experience, and mental health research experience. In her many roles, she has been the Program Head of College Success, Public Relations Coordinator for non-profits, adjunct, and currently serves as an Assistant Director, working with College Career and Promise high school students. Dr. Ariyo's research currently focuses on mental health concerns for minorities in Higher Education.
Shanelle Benson Reid is President and CEO of ACCESS Global Group and ACCESS Global Enterprises and is a consultant, coach, author, and professional speaker. Dr. Benson Reid’s expertise is in areas of Education, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Cultural Competency, Social Awareness, Equity and Community/Individual Empowerment. Dr. Benson Reid’s consulting focuses on cultural competency, social awareness, and equity in education and employment. Dr. Benson Reid earned a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB) and a Master of Arts in Education from CSUSB as well. Dr. Benson Reid earned her Doctorate in Organizational Leadership from the University of La Verne. Dr. Benson Reid’s personal motto is "inspire individuals to pursue self-discovery, empower them to be innovative, progressive, and revolutionary in thought, and motivate them to be global activists.” Dr. Benson Reid’s work is changing the landscape of society by empowering individuals, families, and organizations. The ACCESS Global Family of Companies, “encourages self-assessment and self-discovery while promoting innovative and progressive designs for change and implementing strategies for sustained success.”
Audrey Jordan’s consulting areas of expertise are in capacity building for resident-centered, place-based community change, cultivating community, organizational and collaborative partnership capacities for results accountability, and teaching about and facilitating conversations to promote racial equity and social justice. Dr. Jordan is also a certified executive life coach, focused on “accompanying social justice leaders and teams to unchain power for transformation.”
Casey Reason earned his PhD from Bowling Green State University in Leadership Studies where he was a Dan Douglas Scholar. The author of seven books, Dr. Reason has over two decades of experience as a keynote speaker, leadership trainer, and executive coach. Dr. Reason’s specialization is helping leaders learn to consistently create organizational cultures ideal for innovation. Dr. Reason has coached CEOs, led C-Suite leadership training, and provided high-impact, aspiring leadership training for companies like American Express, General Dynamics, and Origami Owl. Dr. Reason’s first book was endorsed by Dr. Ken Blanchard, author of The One Minute Manager. Dr. Reason is also a national expert in the concept of Professional Learning Communities as an approach to leading deep and sustaining organizational renewal in K12 education using collaboration as a central focus. Dr. Reason’s unique skillset, blending innovative leadership training and transformative instructional design, was featured in an article on Forbes.com after he won the Blackboard International Designer of the Year award in 2012. Dr. Reason lives in Scottsdale, Arizona with his sons Brice and Kiah.
Stephanie Varnon-Hughes is the Dean of Teaching, Learning & Leadership, an award-winning public-school teacher and community educator, and experienced higher education administrator with experience in curriculum design, program review, assessment, and professional development for online educators. Dr. Varnon-Hughes was a co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Journal of Inter-Religious Studies, a peer reviewed journal, and its sister publication, State of Formation, an online forum for emerging ethical leaders. Dr. Varnon-Hughes holds a PhD from Claremont Lincoln University, an MA and STM from Union Theological Seminary, and her undergraduate degrees are in English and Education, from Webster University. Dr. Varnon-Hughes’s research interests include mindfulness, resilience, and equipping communities to build programs and policies that promote justice and flourishing.
Earn your master's degree online in as little as 13 months, starting at $18,150 while developing the skills, behaviors & mindset required to improve the world for the benefit of all.