Social Enterprise

2021/22 Part-time Undergraduate course


Advanced Diploma


Ulster University Business School


Department of Management, Leadership and Marketing


Jordanstown campus

Start date:

January 2022

With this degree you could become:

  • 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.

Important notice – campus change Students will complete the next two years on the Jordanstown campus (academic year 2019/20 and 2020/21). Thereafter, from 2021, they may transition campuses. Precise timings will be communicated as we progress through the final stages of the build of the enhanced Belfast campus. Find out more 


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


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 Attendance at all modules is mandatory.

Start dates

  • January 2022

Teaching, Learning and Assessment

All modules are assessed by coursework.

  • Read more


    The content for each course is summarised on the relevant course page, along with an overview of the modules that make up the course.

    Each course is approved by the University and meets the expectations of:

    Attendance and Independent Study

    As part of your course induction, you will be provided with details of the organisation and management of the course, including attendance and assessment requirements - usually in the form of a timetable. For full-time courses, the precise timetable for each semester is not confirmed until close to the start date and may be subject to some change in the early weeks as all courses settle into their planned patterns. For part-time courses which require attendance on particular days and times, an expectation of the days and periods of attendance will be included in the letter of offer. A course handbook is also made available.

    Courses comprise modules for which the notional effort involved is indicated by its credit rating. Each credit point represents 10 hours of student effort. Undergraduate courses typically contain 10- or 20-credit modules (more usually 20) and postgraduate course typically 15- or 30-credit modules.

    The normal study load expectation for an undergraduate full-time course of study in the standard academic year is 120 credit points. This amounts to around 36-42 hours of expected teaching and learning per week, inclusive of attendance requirements for lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical work, fieldwork or other scheduled classes, private study, and assessment. Part-time study load is the same as full-time pro-rata, with each credit point representing 10 hours of student effort.

    Postgraduate Master’s courses typically comprise 180 credits, taken in three semesters when studied full-time. A Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) comprises 60 credits and can usually be completed on a part-time basis in one year. A 120-credit Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) can usually be completed on a part-time basis in two years.

    Class contact times vary by course and type of module. Typically, for a module predominantly delivered through lectures you can expect at least 3 contact hours per week (lectures/seminars/tutorials). Laboratory classes often require a greater intensity of attendance in blocks. Some modules may combine lecture and laboratory. The precise model will depend on the course you apply for and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. Prospective students will be consulted about any significant changes.


    Assessment methods vary and are defined explicitly in each module. Assessment can be a combination of examination and coursework but may also be only one of these methods. Assessment is designed to assess your achievement of the module’s stated learning outcomes. You can expect to receive timely feedback on all coursework assessment. The precise assessment will depend on the module and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.

    Coursework can take many forms, for example: essay, report, seminar paper, test, presentation, dissertation, design, artefacts, portfolio, journal, group work. The precise form and combination of assessment will depend on the course you apply for and the module. Details will be made available in advance through induction, the course handbook, the module specification and the assessment timetable. The details are subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.

    Normally, a module will have 4 learning outcomes, and no more than 2 items of assessment. An item of assessment can comprise more than one task. The notional workload and the equivalence across types of assessment is standardised.

    Calculation of the Final Award

    The class of Honours awarded in Bachelor’s degrees is usually determined by calculation of an aggregate mark based on performance across the modules at Levels 5 and 6, (which correspond to the second and third year of full-time attendance).

    Level 6 modules contribute 70% of the aggregate mark and Level 5 contributes 30% to the calculation of the class of the award. Classification of integrated Master’s degrees with Honours include a Level 7 component. The calculation in this case is: 50% Level 7, 30% Level 6, 20% Level 5. At least half the Level 5 modules must be studied at the University for Level 5 to be included in the calculation of the class.

    All other qualifications have an overall grade determined by results in modules from the final level of study. In Master’s degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.

Academic profile

The University employs over 1,000 suitably qualified and experienced academic staff - 59% have PhDs in their subject field and many have professional body recognition.

Courses are taught by staff who are Professors (25%), Readers, Senior Lecturers (18%) or Lecturers (57%).

We require most academic staff to be qualified to teach in higher education: 82% hold either Postgraduate Certificates in Higher Education Practice or higher. Most academic staff (81%) are accredited fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) - the university sector professional body for teaching and learning. Many academic and technical staff hold other professional body designations related to their subject or scholarly practice.

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    The profiles of many academic staff can be found on the University’s departmental websites and give a detailed insight into the range of staffing and expertise. The precise staffing for a course will depend on the department(s) involved and the availability and management of staff. This is subject to change annually and is confirmed in the timetable issued at the start of the course.

    Occasionally, teaching may be supplemented by suitably qualified part-time staff (usually qualified researchers) and specialist guest lecturers. In these cases, all staff are inducted, mostly through our staff development programme ‘First Steps to Teaching’. In some cases, usually for provision in one of our out-centres, Recognised University Teachers are involved, supported by the University in suitable professional development for teaching.

    Figures correct for academic year 2019-2020.

Jordanstown campus

The largest of Ulster's campuses.

Important notice – campus change Students will complete the next two years on the Jordanstown campus (academic year 2019/20 and 2020/21). Thereafter, from 2021, they may transition campuses. Precise timings will be communicated as we progress through the final stages of the build of the enhanced Belfast campus. Find out more 


Jordanstown is our biggest campus in an idyllic setting surrounded by lush lawns and trees. It's just a few hundred metres from Loughshore Park and promenade, and just seven miles from Belfast city centre.

Find out more - information about accommodation  

Sports Facilities

At our Jordanstown Campus we have world class facilities that are open all year round to our students and members of the public.

Find out more - information about sport  

Student support

At Student Support we provide many services to help students through their time at Ulster University.

Find out more - information about student support  

Jordanstown campus location info

  Find out more about our Jordanstown campus


Ulster University
Shore Road
Co. Antrim
BT37 0QB

T: 028 7012 3456


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.

Standard 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.

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.

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

Job roles

With this degree you could become:

  • 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.

Professional recognition



Start dates

  • January 2022

Fees and funding

In this section

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.


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

Department of Management, Leadership and Marketing


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"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