Funding your master's education and gaining practical experience

Social Enterprise (SE) students learn by doing. While in the program, most students secure internships and jobs that are related to their studies. These opportunities allow our students to immediately apply what they are learning and may also help make graduate education more affordable. Class schedules are designed to accommodate this, with many classes in evenings and weekends.

Below are examples of jobs and internship possibilities, incubators, and start-up accelerators, as well as DC-based social enterprise organizations, that might be of interest to Social Enterprise graduate students.

Current SE students have, on average, almost 30 percent of their tuition covered by merit-based scholarship aid.

Internships & Jobs

The following organizations are examples of where Social Enterprise students have secured internships and employment during their graduate study.

  • Accion
  • Ashoka
  • BancoSol
  • Case Foundation
  • Council on Foundations
  • Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
  • DC Central Kitchen
  • Deloitte
  • Devex
  • Grameen Foundation
  • Kate Spade
  • MEDA
  • PACT
  • Partners of the Americas
  • Playworks
  • Relief International
  • Summerfuel
  • Village Capital

Fellowship Opportunities

The following organizations offer fellowships and opportunities that may appeal to Social Enterprise students to help fund their international relations education or to gain resources and experience after graduation from the Social Enterprise master’s program.

  • The Adel Ait-Ghezala Graduate Research Fellowship is available to graduate students who are full-time enrolled students in a master's or doctoral program at American University. The fellowships are intended to support applied, educational, or policy-relevant research programs designed to improve the lives of the citizens of developing countries. This is a competitive fellowship. Students must be making satisfactory academic progress (SAP) toward their degrees in order to be eligible. To learn more, contact the Office of Graduate Studies and Research at 202-885-3753 or
  • The Fulbright Foreign Student Program, for international students only, enables graduate students to study and conduct research in the United States. The MA in Social Enterprise program has been enriched by Fulbright Foreign students in the past, and encourages international students to apply. Eligibility and selection procedures for the Fulbright Foreign Student Program vary by country.
  • The DACOR Bacon House Foundation Fellowship offers $10,000 tuition-only grants for study toward a master's degree in international affairs. Typically, 11 schools participate in this program, including American University's School of International Service, and nominate three candidates based on merit. The Education Committee then interviews the nominees and selects one winner from each participating school.

Incubators & Start-Up Accelerators

Students in the Social Enterprise program are encouraged to seek out both local and global organizations and offices to help launch their social enterprises. Some of these organizations provide collaborative workspaces in the Washington, DC, area.

DC-based Opportunities

Washington, DC, is a terrific place to study social enterprise. It is a city with an abundance of social enterprises that are strongly supported by a vibrant and growing community of social entrepreneurs. The following are DC-based organizations with social entrepreneurship ties that might interest our students in volunteer, internship, or employment opportunities.

DC is a very international city and home to embassies from many of the world's countries, as well as several large multilateral and regional development agencies.

The following are some of the leading consulting firms concerned with social innovation in Washington, DC.

There are many DC-based social enterprise infrastructure organizations that support the field's development.

Washington is home to some of the country's most innovative social enterprises that address local challenges, including hunger and homelessness fighters.