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Graduates from this course are employed in many different roles

  • Community Services Manager
  • Project Coordinator
  • Third Sector managers
  • Training & Social Enterprise Officer


A programme to support the growth of the social sector providing skills to inspire, transform and enhance potential and existing social enterprises.


Social Enterprises operate globally in almost every industry sector, from health and social care to renewable energy, from retail to recycling, from employment to culture and sport, from housing to education.

There is a growing global movement supporting the mainstreaming of social enterprise business models and social business models as a viable and sustainable way of doing business. In recent years there has also been an explosion of social investment and financing options to support the development and scaling of the sector.

The Advanced Diploma in Social Enterprisesupports the growth of the social sector by providing the much needed business skills to inspire, transform and enhance the competitiveness of potential and existing social enterprises in an often challenging marketplace.

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About this course

In this section


This practical course consists of six taught modules.


The course is a 15 month programme and is run on a part-time basis in the Ulster University, Jordanstown campus. The modules are delivered over 13 days in the University supported by 6 days of study visits and peer learning opportunities. Attendance at all modules is mandatory.

Start dates

  • January 2019
How to apply


Here is a guide to the subjects studied on this course.

Courses are continually reviewed to take advantage of new teaching approaches and developments in research, industry and the professions. Please be aware that modules may change for your year of entry. The exact modules available and their order may vary depending on course updates, staff availability, timetabling and student demand. Please contact the course team for the most up to date module list.

In this section

Year one

Finance for Growth

Year: 1

At a time when 3rd sector organisations are experiencing profound changes to their external environment leading to huge challenges for those reliant on Government funding. In the midst of challenge there are opportunities to develop alternate income streams to fund social aims Successful Social Enterprises will be those that can respond to the challenge by developing a sustainable funding mix. Participants will be supported to explore the key financial issues facing the sector:

• Securing the funds necessary to establish the enterprise
• The ability to effectively manage finance
• The ability to effectively manage growth and investment

The Social Enterprise Impact Plan

Year: 1

This module examines the need, best practice and the components of a social impact plan and will help students create a social impact plan for their enterprise. Students have an opportunity to apply social impact concepts and good practice principles within the context of their social enterprise. As an outcome of this module students produce and present a social impact plan for a social enterprise.

Governance of Social Enterprises

Year: 1

This module provides an overview of good practice in governance and business ethics and on how it can be used effectively to ensure sustainability and growth in social enterprises. An overview is presented of emerging theory and good practice in this area and of the role of the Board in relation to performance improvement, compliance and promoting organisational reputation.

This module will also examine various governance models, frameworks and case studies at local and international level and will promote the transfer of learning individually and organisationally.

Social Business Model Generation

Year: 1

This Module draws on the work of Osterwalder & Pigneur and that of Alter. Business Model Generation in this context will require the capacity to look creatively at generating sustainable business solutions to address social and environmental problems.

Creating Social Value through Marketing

Year: 1

This module places marketing in the context of the social enterprise. It will examine various marketing models, frameworks and case studies which look at how marketing contributes to creating social value and the sustainability of either a new or growing social enterprise. It also supports the student in developing a marketing plan.

The Global Social Enterprise Movement

Year: 1

This module places social enterprise in the context of the global social enterprise movement. It explores the distinguishing characteristics of social enterprises.

Social enterprises are businesses with social objectives. They include community enterprises, social firms, social businesses and mutual organisations such as co-operatives.

This module will examine various models of social enterprise including an overview of the social economy movement, the history of social enterprise generally including the EU and USA dimension to the social enterprise movement.

Entry conditions

We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.

In this section

A level

There is no A Level requirement for this course. Please refer to Additional Entry Requirements for further information.

English Language Requirements

English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.

Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.

Additional Entry Requirements

Applicants must:

(a) have gained a Certificate of Higher Education or an equivalent standard in an approved alternative qualification; and

(b) provide evidence of competence in written and spoken English (GCSE grade C or equivalent);

or as an alternative to (a) and/or (b):

(c) provide evidence of their ability to undertake the programme through the accreditation of prior experiential learning.

Teaching and learning assessment

All modules are assessed by coursework.

Exemptions and transferability

Studies pursued and examinations passed in respect of other qualifications awarded by the University or by another university or other educational institution, or evidence from the accreditation of prior experiential learning, may be accepted as exempting candidates from part of the programme provided that they shall register as students of the University of Ulster for modules amounting to at least the final 50% of the credit value of the award at the highest level.

Careers & opportunities

In this section

Job roles

Graduates from this course are employed in many different roles. Here are some examples:

  • Community Services Manager
  • Project Coordinator
  • Third Sector managers
  • Training & Social Enterprise Officer

Career options

A key objective of the programme is to promote social entrepreneurship. It is recognised that the social economy will provide many opportunities for employment in the future. It is anticipated that many students will convert their social enterprise idea into a viable business within which they will secure employment. Building on transferable skills developed throughout the course, others may seek employment in the private sector or continue their studies.

The programme also provides graduates with a secure platform from which they may further their careers by pursuing the relevant final year degree, or if they have a degree, an appropriate postgraduate qualification leading to the attainment of further academic or professional qualifications. Graduates of the programme may also develop their skills within the context of their current role or through progressing within their organisation or indeed within another organisation/sector.


How to apply Request a prospectus

Applications to our part-time undergraduate courses are made through the University’s online application system.

Start dates

  • January 2019

Fees and funding

In this section

Fees (total cost)

Important notice - fees information Fees illustrated are based on 18/19 entry and are subject to an annual increase. Correct at the time of publishing. Terms and conditions apply. Additional mandatory costs are highlighted where they are known in advance. There are other costs associated with university study.
Visit our Fees pages for full details of fees

To find out more about fees related to this course please visit

Additional mandatory costs

Please contact the Course Director for information on the price of this course. There may be bursary support available towards the cost of tuition fees.

Tuition fees and costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges), and normal living are a part of university life.

Where a course has additional mandatory expenses we make every effort to highlight them. These may include residential visits, field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering) inoculations, security checks, computer equipment, uniforms, professional memberships etc.

We aim to provide students with the learning materials needed to support their studies. Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. Computer suites and free wifi is also available on each of the campuses.

There will be some additional costs to being a student which cannot be itemised and these will be different for each student. You may choose to purchase your own textbooks and course materials or prefer your own computer and software. Printing and binding may also be required. There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines. Additional costs vary from course to course.

Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs as well as tuition fees.

Please contact the course team for more information.


For further information on this programme, please contact:

Course Director: Mr Steve Pollard

T: +44 (0)28 9036 6572

M: +44 (0)77 10717161


For more information visit

Ulster University Business School

The Business Institute


"My goals have changed somewhat as I have learned how broad the term social enterprise is. I have also been able to look at the supported employment service in terms of a social enterprise and develop a business plan that offers a solution to both a social issue and funding gaps. It has given me a deeper understanding of social enterprise, but it has also widened my understanding of the opportunity for developing social enterprise within the organisation.

Amy Caskey - Support Officer (Employment), Triangle Housing Association

"I would highly recommend this programme to anyone, not only those on the ground within the social economy but those who intend setting up a social enterprise and those who hold higher positions within organisations in the social economy."

Robert Quinn - Client Relationship Executive, Community Finance Ireland

"The teaching input is excellent and the information and guidance material is of high quality and beneficial to my learning style. The assignments have challenged me to think in a more strategic way. Having to put my ideas and actions into words makes the process much more meaningful."

Fionnuala Black - Childcare Manager, Kinderkids, Ashton Community Trust Belfast