Graduate Certificate in Social Innovation Leadership

Duration0.5 years full-time, 1 year part-time
Next start termAnytime
Study modeOnline
Course codeCV88
Students put together a plan for their team project by drawing a diagram. on a glass wall.


The Graduate Certificate in Social Innovation Leadership is a multi-disciplinary course focused on equipping you with a strong foundational knowledge about social innovation, entrepreneurship, and leadership skills. 

You will study four units aimed at preparing you to meet social challenges through the creative and sustainable development of new ideas, products, models or systems. You will be introduced to design thinking and collaborative ways of using an eco-system approach to resolve complex problems by offering ways of providing social benefit. Gain an understanding of leadership in the context of entrepreneurship, examining the drivers and behaviours of people, group dynamics, and organisational and leadership processes. You will draw on theoretical frameworks and insights from across management, human resources, sociology and psychology disciplines. Develop a practical understanding of how to facilitate disruptive innovations and entrepreneurship within an organisation, and create market value. Your studies culminate with an innovation project which can be tailored to your workplace or interest area. You will prepare, design and implement a professional innovation project proposal to build contextual skills for designing and leading innovative projects that have a social impact. 

Throughout your studies, you will benefit from practical learning experiences including case study analysis, real-world examples and your final project. 

Designed for maximum flexibility, this course is entirely self-paced and 100% online hosted on our Be Different platform. Access your course content on any device, anytime, and experience the ultimate in flexibility and convenience.

Study experience

Career Opportunities

The Graduate Certificate in Social Innovation (GCSI) focuses on building the professional capacity of managers and social entrepreneurs of the future, across the corporate, government and third (not-for-profit) sectors. Student will learn to lead organisations creating social and environmental value, and their ability to operate in a changed cross-sector social landscape, where the dynamism of the market is also directed at social innovation. Specifically student may seek employment in consulting and advising on business performance and improvements including:

  • social project design and management
  • new social ventures developments, international venture assessment and capital raising in a social context
  • corporate social innovation and social entrepreneurship
  • social incubator and technological innovation, support services to new ventures, in Not For Profit and small to medium enterprise (SME) sector
  • design and development of teams and team dynamics working in social innovation Launchpad environments

Structure & Availability

Wondering how a self-paced postgraduate course in social innovation leadership works? Find out more about the course structure, units, assessments and more, below.

Course structure

The Graduate Certificate in Social Innovation Leadership is comprised of four core units. These four units are generally broken down into ten to twelve smaller, bite-sized modules for you to complete. Each unit is six credit points and designed to require a time commitment of a total of 144 hours. 

If you choose to study all four units at once over a typical term duration of 12 weeks on a full-time basis this would equate to six months of full-time study for all four units. 

After enrolling, you'll have access to all four units, and you can work through these in any order. 


Assessments are completed at your own pace - no deadlines or due dates. Your assessments will range from portfolio activities, online quizzes, case studies and videoed presentations.

Unit information

You must complete a total of four units as follows:
  • BUSN20031 Social Innovation
  • BUSN20023 People, Leadership and Culture
  • BUSN20022 Disruption, Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • BUSN28001 Innovation Project

Unit overviews

Social Innovation

This unit deals with how organisations and individuals confront the challenges of intransigent social problems. A basis for social innovation theory and practice will be explored. Social innovation solutions often work where traditional solutions fail, because social problems have become inured to traditional solutions. Social innovation solutions are designed to be relatively low-cost, sustainable, and disruptive. You will be introduced to design thinking and collaborative ways of using an eco-system approach to resolve complex problems by offering ways of providing social benefit. An introduction will be provided to the concept, practice and impact of measurement in a social innovation context. A grounding in empirical evidence will be provided to support effective change initiatives. A case study analysis approach will used to enable you to develop the ability to assess and design solutions to enduring global social issues. Social innovation’s value is usually available to society rather than to individuals or individual organisations. A sophisticated understanding of how social innovation fits into the role of transformative global leadership will be provided. Finally, you will become equipped and adept at applying problem-solving skills, active/participatory research skills, and the notion of fast prototyping to ‘live test’ solutions.

People, Leadership and Culture

This unit provides you with an opportunity to understand organisations by examining the drivers and behaviours of its people, the underlying group dynamics, and organisational and leadership processes. These factors influence culture building, social capital development, organisational change and ultimately, organisational effectiveness. An understanding of organisational culture and the way organisations are led is important to our working and personal lives. Employees are likely to participate in a variety of organisations over their lifespans, as workers, citizens, community or family members, and individuals or group members. This unit draws on theoretical frameworks and insights from many disciplines in the social sciences, including management, human resource management, sociology and psychology. At the individual level, the unit deals with topics such as perception, attitudes, values, personality, motivation and performance. At the group level, topics include the nature and management of teams, leaders and leadership, communication, conflict, and decision-making. At the organisational level, topics such as organisational structure, organisational culture, and change are examined. The unit focuses on both personal and organisational development and effectiveness.

Disruption, Innovation and Entrepreneurship

This unit examines the dynamics and interconnectedness of business disruption, innovation and entrepreneurship. ‘Disruptive innovation’ theory is considered the most influential business idea of the 21st century. The phrase was originally popularised by Clayton M. Christensen and colleagues in 1995. Ultimately, it denotes an innovation that generates a unique market and value proposition capable of disturbing established markets and value networks by displacing conventional market leaders, products and coalitions. Disruptive innovations are evident in both established and advanced economies at either end of complex markets. Nevertheless, while innovation is revolutionary, it may not necessarily be disruptive. Entrepreneurs who bring disruptive innovations to the market are not necessarily disruptors. Business environments created by market leaders do not tend to encourage the pursuit of disruptive innovations or entrepreneurial initiatives. Primarily, this is because these products or services are initially unprofitable and divert scarce organisational resources from competing with existing competitors. Disruptive processes often require longer lead times to get to market than conventional approaches. In addition, the associated risks are higher than are evident for incremental approaches to innovation. Once deployed to the market, disruptive innovations achieve a faster penetration and higher impact into established markets. You will be challenged to conceive of environments where disruptive innovations and entrepreneurship can flourish. Case studies will be used to provide exemplars of entrepreneurs generating market value.

Innovation Project

In this unit, you will prepare, design, and implement a professional innovation project proposal. You will draw upon your area of specialisation and advanced knowledge of innovation and entrepreneurship and apply what you have learned in a practical and real-life context. You will respond to a project brief that has been developed using real-life examples from an Australian innovation agency or provide your own project brief that meets the expected criteria. This unit will enable you to design and lead innovative projects that have a social impact

Credit transfer information

If you have already completed a study relevant to the course you have enrolled in, you may be eligible for credit transfer.

Online Availability

Hyperflexible Annual Term, 2023Available Online
Hyperflexible Annual Term, 2024Available Online

Majors and minors are not applicable to this course.

This course has no residential schools.

Innovation Project - BUSN28002

Students are required to complete a project that addresses a social problem in consultation with an organisation or social change group. Students may focus on challenges within their existing workplace, professional life or be involved in one of CQU's social innovation initiatives.


Recommended study

Recommended study structure follows:
1. Disruption, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (BUSN20022)
2. Social Innovation (BUSN20031)
3. Innovation Project 

To be eligible for entry into this course, applicants must hold one of the following:
  • A completed Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) equivalent Bachelor degree, or higher equivalent qualification; or
  • A completed AQF Diploma with two years relevant business experience*; or
  • A minimum of five years relevant business experience*.
* Relevant work experience should include an understanding of how a business operates, which includes, project management, process management or other relevant professional experience.
Employment experience must be shown in a letter of employment which is presented on a company letterhead as well as signed and dated by a delegated authority. The letter must contain position title, duties performed and length of service.
English Language Proficiency Requirements:
If you were not born in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Ireland, South Africa or United States of America you are required to meet the English Language Proficiency requirements set by the University. Applicants are required to provide evidence of completion of:
  • A secondary qualification (Year 11 and 12, or equivalent), or
  • An Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) diploma level qualification, or
  • Bachelor level qualification study for a period of at least 2 years fulltime with a minimum overall GPA 4.0
Completed within Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom, South Africa, Ireland, or United States of America, which will meet the English proficiency.
If you do not satisfy any of the above you will need to undertake an English language proficiency test and achieve the following scores as below:
  • An International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic) overall band score of at least 6.0 overall with a minimum 5.5 in each subset; or
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) - Requires 550 or better overall & minimum TWE score of 4.5 (Paper Based Test), or 75 or better overall and no score less than 17 (Internet Based Test); or
  • Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic) - Requires an overall score of 54 with no sub-score less than 46; or
  • An Occupational English Test with Grades A or B only in each of the four components.

English test results remain valid for no more than two years between final examination date and the date of commencement of study, and must appear on a single result certificate.

If you are an International student, please visit International students English requirements for further information.

Each student will be assessed individually.
You will have to meet this course's inherent requirements by demonstrating essential skills and attributes.

Fees & Scholarships

Please note the following important information:

  • Fees are in Australian dollars (A$).
  • Fees are indicative only and do not cover additional costs such as textbooks, accommodation, visa applications, OSHC, general living etc.
  • Fees are based on a full-time study load and the final fee payable will be determined by your selection of units and if any credit was awarded for recognition of prior learning.
  • The University reserves the right to amend fees at any time during the course. Fees are reviewed yearly and may increase in the following year to enable CQUniversity to continue to provide quality services and facilities to students.
  • Courses are subject to change at the discretion of the University.
  • It is your responsibility to make yourself aware of the entry requirements and prerequisites of the courses you wish to undertake.
  • The typical annual fee shown provides an estimate of the tuition fees for the first year of the course in the same academic year. This estimate assumes a full-time study load of 4 units per term (based on two terms).
  • Students not on an Australian student visa can only undertake courses online from an overseas location.
  • Courses undertaken online may be studied on a full-time or part-time mode.
  • International students studying on-campus in Australia may take no more than 33 per cent of their entire course by online education, and this option cannot be taken in its entirety during a compulsory term (Term 1 and Term 2).

Please refer to our international course fees page.

Scholarships are not available for this course.

How to apply

Our easy to use online application system for international students will guide you through the process of applying for a course at CQUniversity Australia.

Apply now

This course is open for applications all year round and you can start your studies anytime.