FAQs (Social Innovation Graduate Program)

Frequently Asked Questions

Below is a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). Have a question that isn't answered here or just want to learn more about the Social Innovation Master's Program at GVSU? You may refer to the SI homepageSI Admissions page, the IRIS Department, or contact the SI Graduate Program Director, Dr. Azfar Hussain at hussaina@gvsu.edu.

What can you do with a Master’s in Social Innovation?

Graduates of the Professional MA in Social Innovation Program will work as change agents who will foster and lead innovation throughout their organizations, businesses and communities. Graduates may work in a variety of industries across sectors including, but not limited to: Civic Leadership, Education, Health and Human Services, Non-profit Organizations, Municipal Government, Sustainability, and Urban Planning.

What are the admissions requirements for the SI Program?

Requirements are listed on the SI Program's Admissions page: www.gvsu.edu/acad/social-innovation-ma.htm.

Are there any specific degree requirements or list of undergraduate courses required to apply for the SI Program?

No, students with virtually any undergraduate degree may apply to the Professional MA in Social Innovation Program. Students will need to write a personal statement of career goals and background experiences, including an explanation of how this program will help achieve educational and professional objectives.

What is the relevance or importance of the word “professional” in the program title?

“Professional” signifies to prospective students that this master’s program is not geared towards preparing students for doctoral work- it is a terminal degree in itself. PMASI is an applied master’s degree preparing students for careers in cross-sector (for-profit/non-profit/government) professions.

Further, the program title differentiates from Professional Science Master’s (PSM) degrees. Grand Valley’s Social Innovation Program is a PMA, Professional Master of Arts degree. This is a best practices designation for these programs, as delineated at cgsnet.org/pma-initiative.

Is financial aid available for graduate students?

Yes, please visit Grand Valley's Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships.

Are graduate assistantships available for SI students?

A list of Graduate Assistantship (GA) opportunities is available on GVSU's Graduate School site. Graduate Assistantships pay student tuition in addition to providing a stipend. The amount of tuition coverage and stipend pay varies depending on whether your GA position is 1/4-time, 1/2-time, or full-time.

Are Career Center resources available to SI students?

Yes, please visit www.gvsu.edu/careers/ for more information.

Is there a graduate student orientation?

Yes, information about the New Graduate Student Orientation may be found at www.gvsu.edu/gs/virtual/.

Where are SI classes offered?

Classes for the Social Innovation Master’s Program are offered online and on the Robert C. Pew Grand Rapids Campus. SI courses are generally offered in the evenings in hybrid/hyflex format to accommodate working professionals. 

What transportation options are available for accessing GV campuses?

Students attending Grand Valley may ride The Rapid bus for free with their GVSU-issued ID card. Students may also purchase parking permits through Parking Services.

What Disability Support Resources are available to SI students?

Students in need of support or accommodations should contact Disability Support Resources at dsrgvsu@gvsu.edu or (616) 331-2490.

What if I have trouble with registration or need assistance with permits?

Contact the IRIS Department at irisdept@gvsu.edu or 616-331-8020, or reach out to the SI Graduate Program Director, Dr. Azfar Hussain at hussaina@gvsu.edu. When registering for application courses, keep in mind that you'll need to request an override to enroll. Follow these instructions for submitting override permit requests in Banner. We recommend including an explanation in the text box, such as "I'm a graduate student in the SI Program seeking a major restriction override."

What other resources are available to graduate students at GVSU?

The Graduate Student Resources page is packed with useful information, including housing, health insurance, graduate student life, writing resources, and tips for online learning.

What are the guidelines for the required Master's Project?

2020-2021 guidelines for the culminating master's project are available here. Additional resources are accessible to students on The Graduate School site.