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Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have questions about the Master of Arts in Management with an emphasis in Social and Sustainable Management (MASSM) graduate program in SPU’s School of Business, Government, and Economics? Check the MASSM website to find detailed information about the program, and see below to find answers to frequently asked questions. If you want to ask questions of someone in person, contact our Graduate Coordinator at 206-281-2733 or

About the Program

What is distinctive about SPU’s MASSM graduate program?

In an 11-month immersion program, MASSM will help you develop the core business skills needed to jump-start entry into business or social entrepreneurship. You will be equipped to translate a passion for service and stewardship into action and compete for a job that is a platform for making the world a better place. 

The MASSM program combines a solid understanding of the fundamentals of business; a Christian understanding of business, leadership, ethics, sustainability, and stewardship; and professional and career development in a challenging applied learning approach. 

Business employers, NGOs and non-profit organizations highly value the knowledge and skills this program develops. The degree is also a major stepping stone toward completing an MBA in the future.

Is the School of Business, Government, and Economics accredited?

Yes. SPU’s School of Business, Government, and Economics is AACSB accredited. Organized in 1916, AACSB International — The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business — is the oldest and most prestigious business school accrediting body in the world. Fewer than 40 percent of North American business schools have attained this accreditation.

What jobs will the degree qualify me to pursue?

The MASSM program will elevate your earning potential beyond what a liberal arts B.A. would provide. It will help you pursue jobs such as business analyst, program manager, business developer, planner, or sustainability project coordinator in a variety of types of organizations, including for-profit companies, social enterprises, NGOs, and NPOs.

What is the difference between MASSM and an MBA?

The Master of Arts in Management  is not an MBA program, but it fulfills the business requirements for MBA programs that a graduate of an undergraduate business program would have already completed. Pursuing an MBA is generally not an option for recent college graduates with no work experience. MBA programs are for people who have already entered their careers with full-time, post-graduate work experience who are seeking increased responsibilities in organizations. In contrast, MASSM is for graduates with non-business majors who either haven’t begun careers or at most are not very far into their careers. No work experience is required. (Business and business-related majors are not eligible to pursue the MASSM program.) 

SPU’s MBA is a part-time, working professional program for college graduates with more than one year of post-graduate work experience (the average is about five years).

Can I get my MBA after I finish the MASSM program?

Yes. Graduates from the MASSM program are eligible to apply to the SPU MBA program. All applicants must meet the MBA eligibility requirements (including work experience) and complete the MBA admissions process.


How is your program connected to the Seattle business community?

Students enjoy the school's strong ties to the Puget Sound business community through our Executive Advisory Board and other avenues. The MASSM program connects you with leaders in business and social entrepreneurship through networking and working with coaches on team projects. You will also have opportunities to interact with guest speakers brought to SPU by the various programs in the School of Business, Government, and Economics, various industry leaders who have long-term connections with SPU, and in connection with a team-based, in-company practicum project.

What career services are available? 

Professional and career development activities, including training in job search skills, networking, close interactions with business mentors, and work on projects with business and social venture partners, are integrated throughout the MASSM program. A professional development specialist is a member of the MASSM program team.

What is the time commitment to the program?

The MASSM program is an intensive immersion experience and requires a full-time commitment starting in the summer.

Can I complete the MASSM program as a part-time student? 

No. The program cannot be completed as a part-time student.

What is the study abroad portion of the program like?

As a MASSM student, you will travel for approximately 16 days in December to India and China to become more aware of global business and social and sustainable issues through visits to organizations and cultural sites. You will return before Christmas. Read a firsthand account of the study abroad trip.

How are grades assigned? 

Your mastery of the learning objectives for each module is evaluated by subject matter tests, a case, and a team project for the module. In addition, demonstration of professionalism during each module will affect your final score.

Are credits transferrable?

Credits in this AACS-accredited program should be transferable, but this is always up to the school being asked to accept the credits.

When do classes start?

Classes start in late June. Students will meet together in Seattle for a 2-3-day orientation session followed by weekly coaching sessions mixed with independent and team learning of basic knowledge and skills through July and August. The summer module concludes with a 4-5-day leadership retreat which will be held immediately after Labor Day in the greater Seattle area.

When do I have to locate in Seattle?

You must attend the orientation session in late June and must attend the leadership retreat that will be held immediately after Labor Day in the greater Seattle area. Active engagement in learning, team activities, and in the weekly coaching sessions over the balance of the summer is required, but may be completed virtually. You are strongly encouraged to locate in Seattle by late June but must do so before Labor Day.

What if I need to step out for a while?

It is expected that students complete the program with their cohort. But life happens, and sometimes students may need to request permission to join the next cohort. Depending on the extremity of the circumstances and how far you are along in the program, you may be given permission to do so. Just wanting to take a break isn’t permissible, however. 

Eligibility for Application

Who is eligible to apply to the MASSM program? 

To apply, you should have strong academic ability, interest, initiative, and ability to learn both independently and in teams; should desire to obtain a business background that will enhance their personal and job skills; and should desire to create sustainable value and lead responsible businesses.

You must have (or complete by June 15) a bachelor’s degree with a non-business major from a regionally accredited college or university; have a cumulative undergraduate grade point average of 3.0 (A=4.0) or higher; and have completed a college-level math course with at least a 3.0 grade. 

Applicants who have not yet entered their career, or at most have not moved far into one, are eligible. (Work experience is NOT required.) If you have significant post-baccalaureate work experience, you will likely find the MBA program to be a better fit.

Are international candidates eligible for the MASSM program?


I am currently a sophomore (or junior). Can I apply now for a future cohort?

No. You will need to wait until your final year in college to apply. We encourage you to begin preparing for the GMAT/GRE.

What if I graduated more than one year ago? Am I eligible?

Yes, provided that pursuing an MBA is not a better fit, based on your goals and work experience. The program is specifically designed for very recent graduates who have not yet entered their career, or at most are not very far into one. Those who have been engaged in full-time volunteer service are eligible.

Are there any prerequisite requirements for the MASSM program? 

The only coursework prerequisite is a college-level math course with at least a 3.0 grade.

Admission Process

What is the application process? 

Complete applications, including all required materials, must be submitted by the application deadline. The applications will be reviewed by the selection committee and phone interviews of finalists will be conducted. Selected applicants will be invited to accept admission and enroll in the program. Acceptances (including an advance payment) must be made within the time frame stated in the admission invitation. Some finalists may become alternates in case others do not accept their admission invitation.

What is the application deadline?

Early decision applications are due by January 15. Second-round applications are due by April 15. Applications will continue to be considered until classes begin in late June, on a space-available basis.

Will you waive the GMAT/GRE?

Yes. Applicants with a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.3 or above are exempt.

Will you accept SAT, MCAT or LSAT in lieu of the GMAT/GRE?

No. We only accept GMAT or GRE exam scores.

What if I have not taken the GMAT/GRE? Can I still apply?

You can start the application process, but if you don’t qualify for the GMAT/GRE waiver, then you MUST submit test scores before the application can be considered.

What if I can't get all my application materials in by the deadline?

Only complete applications will be considered, so make sure everything is submitted by the early decision or second-round application deadlines in order to have the best chance for a space. Once the cohort is full, which could occur as early as February, applications will not be considered.

Do you allow enrollment deferrals?

 No. You must apply for admission during the year before your desired matriculation date.

I have a BA in Business. Am I eligible for the MASSM program?

No. Business and business-related majors are not eligible. Those with a BA in business should consider the MBA program.

I have a minor in Business. Am I eligible for the MASSM program?

Yes. Business minors are eligible.

I majored in Economics. Am I eligible for the SSM program?

Economics majors containing about the same amount, or less, of business courses as a business minor are eligible.

Costs and Financial Aid

How much does the MASSM program cost?

The total costs of tuition, study abroad, and books are expected to be about $34,385 for the 2013-14 academic year. A summary of costs is available on the MASSM website. The program uses electronic learning materials to minimize costs as much as possible (and to be kinder to the environment…), so you must possess a fully-featured, Windows-based laptop computer.

What financial aid is available? 

As part of your financial aid package as a MASSM student, you will be offered employment working with the school’s faculty as a Research Assistant, and you will be awarded a scholarship. Students may also apply for student loans.

Can students work part-time?

The Research Assistantship portion of the financial aid package (about 5 hours per week) will fill the room for work in your MASSM schedule. Because of the intensity of the program, the need for extensive preparation, and our emphasis on teamwork, you are strongly discouraged from holding any other part-time job while enrolled in the program. Special approval from the Associate Dean of Graduate Programs is required. To obtain approval, you must provide adequate assurance that the work will not interfere with you coursework, teamwork, professional development, and related school events.