Columbia Design Studio

Leadership, Innovation, and Design

Supports students in developing the leadership, management, desing, and analytic skills required for work in 21st-century social enterprises, startups, nonprofits, government, and for-profit organizations.

The Leadership, Innovation, and Design Specialization is extremely diverse in both courses offered and its student body who come from for-profit, nonprofit, social enterprise, and government and from some 60+ countries across the globe.  The program has been designed specifically for students eager to pursue careers as leaders of institutions and organizations, consultants and advisors to the leaders of major institutions and organizations, or founders of startups that fulfill a critical societal need. Students exit the program with a portfolio of skills, experiences, and content that will enable them to pursue careers in any sector.

Columbia Campus – Autumn

Career Paths

SIPA Leadership, Innovation, and Design graduates work for consulting companies such Booz Allen, McKinsey, Boston Consulting Group, and Deloitte; international organizations such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and Organization for Economic Cooperation (OECD); foreign governments; and state and city governments and agencies in the U.S., as well as non-profits and social enterprises around the world.  

Alumni Changemakers

SIPA alumni are working across the globe solving deeply entrenched problems in education, financial services, health, development, energy, and the environment, and for those without access to resources, the disabled, and refugees. What they have in common is a passion for their work, deep empathy for those they are solving problems for, and the grit and determination to make things happen.  Meet a few of our amazing entrepreneurs changing the world one venture at a time and in countries around the globe -- US, Brazil, India, Iraq, Israel, Peru, and Tunisia.  

Curriculum & Courses

The Leadership, Innovation, and Design Specialization curriculum provides both the theoretical underpinnings and the practical application of the full range of knowledge required to be an outstanding 21st-century entrepreneur, leader, or manager. The specialization offers a wide variety of courses, which have been divided into:

  • Leadership and Management 
  • Innovation and Entrepreneurship 
  • Design and Impact Measurement

View full curriculum »

Specialization Requirements

Students must complete courses for a total of 9 points. This can include 3, 3.0 credit courses, or a combination of 1.5 and 3.0 credit courses.

View full curriculum »

    New Initiatives

    • Design for Social Innovation: Improving Education Through Design + Tech SIPA and its partners, Columbia Entrepreneurship and the Columbia Entrepreneurship Design Studio, host an annual 6-month Design Challenge where teams of students from schools across the campus work on innovative ideas for tackling deeply entrenched global problems (formerly known as the Ed Tech Challenge). 
    • Alumni Global Social Entrepreneurs: SIPA alumni are working across the globe solving deeply entrenched problems in education, financial services, health, development, energy and the environment, and for those without access to resources, the disabled and refugees. 

    Highlights of Extracurricular Activities

    • Events: Social Enterprise Speaker Series; Guest Speakers (Exec Directors, Social Entrepreneurs, Consultants, Alumni); Skill Building Workshops (Budgeting, Design Thinking, Presentation Skills); Social Gatherings/Happy Hours
    • Support for Student Ventures: Dean’s Public Policy Challenge $50,000; Ed Tech Challenge Challenge $25,000; Columbia StartUp Lab @ WeWork Soho; Social Impact House with the University of Pennsylvania
    • Student Groups: Ci3 (Columbia Impact Investing Initiative); MESS (Monitoring & Evaluation); Social Entrepreneurship Club; TISA (Tech & Innovation Student Association) Impact Investing Challenge (MIINT)

    Related Degree Programs

    21 Months

    The Master of International Affairs (MIA), which includes selected STEM-designated pathways, is underpinned by SIPA’s unrivaled expertise on issues that transcend national boundaries and prepares students to address major international issues as experts and leaders in governments and organizations around the world.

    21 Months

    The Master of Public Administration (MPA), which includes selected STEM-designated pathways, emphasizes a comparative approach to domestic policy and prepare students to address major national policy issues and manage organizations in the US and other countries around the world.

    SIPA Building Exterior

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Contact Us

    Sarah Holloway
    Specialization Director
    [email protected]

    Edun Sela
    Specialization Coordinator
    [email protected]