Elective Courses

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Offered Fall 2023

How to Apply

Complete the School of Graduate Studies Add/Drop Course(s) form

Send your completed form to:

Patrice Lee, Institute Administrator and Assistant

IMI1001H Innovation and Entrepreneurship

  • Instructor: Cynthia Goh
  • Offered: Winter 2024
  • Date/Time: TBA

In this course, we will begin by looking at the concept of innovation, particularly those that arise from deep knowledge, such as what could arise from university research. By examining the movement from research results to products and services that benefit society, students will get an appreciation of the potential impact of knowledge, be it from their own results or from others.

Through workshops and office hours, students will examine ideas and refine them with consideration of the needs of society, and organize into teams of their choice to tackle a project that has been identified and refined. Ideally, students from research will work with those from business, but this is not required.

Lectures and workshops will introduce entrepreneurial topics in a practical way, with students applying the concepts to specifically examine the feasibility of creating a startup or an organization, for profit or not-for-profit.

IMI1002H Social Entrepreneurship: Global Alternatives to Neo-Liberal Economics
*new for Summer 2024*

  • Instructor: Ann Armstrong
  • Offered: Summer 2024
  • Date/Time: TBA
  • Mode: online

In this course, students will learn how entrepreneurs create organizations that address social problems using innovative, sustainable approaches. Students will examine a variety of social venture forms and consider how such ventures can be evaluated, managed, and financed. Social Entrepreneurship has three primary components. First, students will discuss and debate the principles of social entrepreneurship and apply them to cases of for-profit, not-for-profit, and hybrid organizations. Second, students will analyse how the goals, structures, and practices of those ventures contribute to their success—or failure. Third, students will put their knowledge into action by contributing to a consulting project for a social venture. The course is hands-on and project-based. Those who enjoy critically discussing ideas—and then acting on those ideas—will enjoy this course. The course content has a broad international reach as many of the innovations in the field come from the Global South.

IMI2002H Leadership for a Sustainable Future

  • Instructor: Ann Armstrong
  • Offered: Fall 2023
  • Date/Time: Monday, 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
  • Mode: Online

The current state of the world demands exploring new models of leadership. The prevalent dominant models of leadership are driven by mechanistic worldview, short-term gains, outer-self and extrinsic motivations. Leadership for a sustainable future has to be rooted in the paradigm of living systems, living in harmony with the planet earth, long-term vision, inner-self, and intrinsic motivations. The planet earth and its living systems have many properties, such as adaptivity, equity, inter-dependence, evolution, renewal, relations, and resiliency, which should be integral part of the models of future leadership.

The course critically examines the current leadership models and theories, develops the foundations of the models for sustainable future, examines emerging and potential models for sustainable future, guides students to develop their related capabilities and competencies in leadership for a sustainable future. The personal, interpersonal, organizational, social, and planetary dimensions of leadership for sustainable future are addressed.

The course uses journal articles and cases for discussion. Students gain experiential knowledge of leadership for sustainable future through a project involving a real-life leadership project for a sustainable future of their choice.

IMI2003H Project Management: Practice and Tools

  • Instructor: Duncan Jones
  • Offered: Fall 2023
  • Date/Time: Wednesday, 6:30 pm - 8:45 pm
  • Room: KN 132

The Project Management Institute (PMI) defines project management as “the use of specific knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to deliver something of value to people.”  Through a series of lectures, case discussions and a final project, students will learn about the practice of project management and the complementary tools. They will also gain experience participating in designing, executing and tracking a real project on or off campus.

IMI3001H Biocommercial­isation I: Analysis of Technology Driven Innovation

  • Instructors: Duncan Jones and Timothy Lee
  • Offered: Fall 2023
  • Date/Time: Monday, 6:30 pm - 8:30PM
  • Room: KN 112

In this course through a series of lectures and case discussions, students learn about the formation, financing, and management of early-stage ventures especially as it relates to the (bio)technology and associated medical device space. Topics include opportunity identification and assessment, preclinical and clinical phases, regulatory procedures and pathways, legal issues including patents and venture finance. Students will each be required to select a young, publicly-traded company in which to complete an in-depth analysis, presentation and report.

IMI3002H Change Management

  • Instructor: Ann Armstrong
  • Offered: Winter 2024
  • Date/Time: Tuesday, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
  • Mode: Online

Managing change well has long been considered a key leadership skill. Many organizations are experiencing significant rates of change now! Knowing about change management will provide you with a significant competitive advantage in your careers.

In this course, you will learn about some current models of change management as well as examples of change management done well and not. The course is interactive. Central to the course and your learning is participation in a sophisticated change simulation, used by universities, corporates, and non-profits, to let you experience change. You will create—and implement—a change plan that will help you develop not only your understanding of change models but will provide you with tactics that you can use in any future change management work.

IMI3003H Biocommercialisation II

  • Instructors: not offered this year

This course is a compliment to IMI3001, in which student teams are given the opportunity to learn more about the issues and opportunities facing early-stage (bio)technology ventures through direct experiences working on real projects for select early-stage firms within the community. This experiential learning involves working in teams on select, negotiated work packages in conjunction with the company founders in addition to mentoring by the instructors or TAs. This project work is supplemented with lectures covering practical and applied topics such as project management, client communications, research methods, patent searching and analysis, market research, competitive intelligence and financial modelling. The final assessment involves a presentation and client report.

BTC1860H Generations of Advanced Medicine: Biologics in Therapy (GAMBiT)

  • Instructors: Prof. Leigh Revers and Duncan Jones
  • Offered: Winter 2023
  • Date/Time: Thursday, 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

In this course, we focus exclusively on the dominant role of biologic therapies in modern medicine. In 2020, six of the top 10 drugs by revenue were molecules of biologic origin, namely those manufactured primarily by biosynthetic rather than chemical means, with sales of the top selling therapy, the anti-TNFα monoclonal antibody adalimumab, falling just shy of the US$20 billion mark. The lucrative preeminence of biologics is set to continue, bolstered by the introduction of innovative molecular delivery strategies, such as antibody-targeted conjugates, fragments and fusions, as well as by the robust staying power of market leaders. The latter phenomenon is an inevitable consequence of the higher-than-usual regulatory hurdles faced by conventional generic manufacturers seeking to make biosimilars: intended copies of off-patent biologics that, having undergone a strict comparability exercise, are approved by regulatory agencies such as the EMA and the FDA.

This course will survey this changing landscape within an historical framework and will highlight critical scientific and process parameters unique to biologics, that set them aside from conventional small-molecule medicines, including their molecular architecture and mechanisms of action, manufacturing considerations, analytical and functional lot release assays and clinical trial design. We will explore some of the pitfalls by examining a roster of clinical case studies. The capacity of payers to afford these increasingly high-cost therapies in the face of current economic trends will be discussed.

The broad goals of the course are as follows:

  • A detailed understanding of the complexities associated with biologic drugs;
  • A broad familiarity with biologics manufacturing and its inherent variability;
  • A critical understanding of the aspects of biosimilarity; and
  • A familiarity with the clinical implications emerging from the use of biologics.

BTC1889H Deep Learning in Health  

  • Instructor: TBA
  • Offered: Winter 2023
  • Date/Time: Thursday, 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm.

This is an advanced course in machine learning that is focused on the application of neural networks in a health context. The course assumes a strong foundation to create machine learning models in the coding language R. Basic foundations of neural networks are reviewed. Students will learn about the limitations and the appropriate use of neural networks by working on health and biological related data sets.

BTC1896H Technology & Cognitive Performance

  • Instructor: Jayson Parker
  • Offered: Fall 2023
  • Date/Time: Thursday, 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

This new elective course looks at modern developments in neuroscience and cognitive psychology, that point to new uses of technology to enhance brain function. The course builds its foundation with a neuroanatomy primer, as well as an introduction to the cognitive neuroscience of daydreaming. How can technology be used to aid attention to avoid critical errors? How can better sleep and acts of creativity be supported from emerging technologies? In what way can video games be an aid and a burden to brain function? The major project for the course will explore digital biomarkers for cognitive performance.

BTC2110H Topics in Biotechnology: Structural Biology in Drug Development & Biotechnology

  • Instructor: Prof. Mark Currie
  • Offered: Winter 2023
  • Date/Time: Tuesday, 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm.

Biological, disease, and drug mechanisms are all determined by the three-dimensional arrangement of atoms within biological macromolecules. Therefore, knowledge of molecular structure is fundamental to protein engineering and the development of new therapeutics and vaccines. This course will cover the application of structural biology methods to drug development and biotechnology. Students will be introduced to the modern tools of protein structure determination including Cryo electron microscopy, X-ray crystallography and NMR through lectures and group activities. Lectures will focus on theory, techniques, data collection, analysis, and interpretation, model building and validation, and the advantages and limitations of each method. The applications of these methods to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries including protein engineering, target selection and drugability, lead identification and optimization, rational drug design and drug mechanism of action will be explored through group presentations, case studies and discussions.

BTC2120H Topics in Biotechnology: Decision Analytics in Business, Healthcare & Management

  • Instructor: Prof. Ningyuan Chen
  • Offered: Winter 2024
  • Date/Time: TBA

Data analysis and decision making are two core components in many industries. In this course, we will walk through major techniques in both components, including descriptive and exploratory data analysis, predictive analytics, causal inference, optimization and simulation. The students are expected to conformably answer the following questions upon the completion of the course: how to visualize and present data to your clients or managers, how to predict patterns in the future from the historical data, how to measure the effectiveness of a policy, how to make best decisions under uncertainty based on the available information.

MMI2000H Product Management by Design

  • Instructor: TBA
  • Offered: Winter 2024
  • Date/Time: TBA

Innovation is equal parts idea generation and execution. A successful innovation manager needs to be able to nurture both their team’s ability to come up with breakthrough ideas grounded in insight and human need, as well as build, sustain, and evolve a new concept within an organization. This all requires deep empathy for others, agile collaboration, and management skills which are all better learned through practice than theory.

Innovation Management by Design will immerse students in a case study that is relevant to current real-world challenges so that they will need to rapidly apply and adapt their learnings and develop new business concepts. In the first half of the course, students will learn about Business Design, a human-centered approach to product, service, and experience innovation and strategy through an intensive bootcamp lasting two days. At the end of those two days, students will have discovered rich insights about human needs, prototyped a new idea and tested it to improve it for their identified user group.

For the second half of the course, students will apply Product Management concepts to build and evolve their idea by learning how to go from concept to commercialization in a way that minimizes risk of failure while balancing the needs of multiple stakeholders - customers, team members, and the broader organization.

MUI2000H - Bring Back Main Street

In this research workshop, the students will examine the impacts of the pandemic on main streets, as well as the policy interventions and contextual factors that have best supported their comeback. The resilience of main streets depends on a variety of factors – economic, social, organizational, cultural, political, design, regulatory, etc. Students will use cell phone mobility data linked to neighborhoods and business data to analyze main street activity patterns and predict the impacts of different policy interventions. At the same time, they will conduct interviews and/or surveys with stakeholders in the most resilient main streets to help determine which interventions are most effective – and why.

MUI2080H Intelligent Communities/Smart Cities

  • Instructor: Kristina Verner
  • Offered: Fall 2023
  • Date/Time: Wednesday, 6:00 - 9:00 pm

This course provides an overview of strategies that make up a ‘smart city” and ‘intelligent community’ – approaches to local development that integrate digital infrastructure and information and communication technologies with urban planning processes. Students will study the importance of governance forms, human capital, and equity considerations that are integral to their success.

Additional key aspects include analyzing real-time data to better manage resources and congestion, forming partnerships between government, industry and universities to promote digital innovation and economic growth, and strengthening access to broadband technologies to improve the quality of life and public engagement of citizens.

SSM2010H Marketing in Sustainability

  • Instructor: Prof. Ashish Pujari
  • Offered: Winter 2023
  • Date/Time: Monday, 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

The course is designed to develop an understanding of: (i) relationship between sustainability and marketing; (ii) linkages between sustainability concerns and people’s behavior including their behavior in markets; (iii) differences between the principles of conventional marketing and sustainability marketing; (iv) sustainability marketing values and strategies; and (v) applications of sustainability marketing concepts and tools to a range of profit and non-profit organizations. The course will include a range of topics such as evolution of marketing, sustainability, and sustainability marketing; elements of sustainability marketing and corporate social responsibility; challenges and opportunities for sustainability marketing; sustainability and people’s (consumer’s) behavior; harnessing people’s behavior for sustainability; sustainability marketing values and objectives; sustainability marketing strategies; sustainability marketing mix including customer solutions, communication, cost, and convenience; innovations and sustainability marketing; future directions of sustainability marketing; and applications of sustainability marketing.

SSM2020H Sustainability Ethics

  • Instructors: Prof. Len Brooks and Prof. Simon Appolloni
  • Offered: Winter 2024. Course offered every other year.
  • Date/Time: TBA

Ethics and ethical behavior are the critical elements of sustainability management. From a management perspective, ethical behaviour is an integral part of manager’s success while an understanding and respect for environmental, social, and business ethics are critical for designing and implementing sustainability strategies and practices. This course is designed to provide a critical understanding of the underlying ethical principles in sustainability management.

In this course, students will develop an understanding of: (1) the ethics of sustainability and innovation, (2) business governance and ethics. (3) how business views sustainability, (4) how to influence corporate strategy and decision-making through business ethics, and (5) important current and future topics and issues in sustainability and innovative ethics. The focus of the course will be practical and will build upon a historical understanding of ethical developments to offer students a perspective on current practices as well as future prospects.

SSM2030H Advanced Sustainability Management

  • Instructors: 3 industry leaders each teach a four-week module
  • Offered: Winter 2023
  • Date/Time: Monday, 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

This is a science-based course is designed to provide knowledge and applications of advanced aspects/tools related to sustainability management. The course covers advanced aspects focused on carbon (GHG) measurement and accounting; life cycle assessments; and water efficiency and conservation is different sectors. Accordingly, the course is divided into three modules. In each module, the emphasis will be on application of advanced aspects/tools to sustainability management.

This course will equip students with the industry knowledge and essential skills to manage the risks and opportunities of transitioning an organization to the low carbon economy and prepare them for a sustainable future. Module I of this course will introduce the concept of GHG emissions sources as well as how organizations are setting emission reduction targets and baselines to meet stakeholder expectations. Module II will address the specifications of the assessment of the life cycle GHG emissions of goods and services and life cycle impact assessment. Module III will provide a holistic approach to water footprint as well as inform students about the water use regulations in large buildings in Canada.

SSM2040H Applied Sustainability Management

  • Instructors: 3 industry leaders each teach a four-week module
  • Offered: Fall 2023
  • Date/Time: Monday, 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

This course is designed to provide knowledge and application of applied aspects/tools related to sustainability management. The course covers applied aspects on sustainability engagement, materiality, and reporting, impact investing, and circular economy in the fashion industry. The course is divided into three modules, each taught by industry experts.

The course is taught through lectures, classroom discussions, case discussions, group discussions and presentations, simulations and guest lectures by experts.

SSM2050H Special Topics in Sustainability Management

  • Instructors: Professor Laurel Besco
  • Offered: Fall 2022
  • Date/Time: Tuesday, 2 pm to 4 pm

As a special topics course, the theme and content will vary each year. For Fall 2022, the focus is: "Science Policy Interface with Climate Change".  Some examples of future course topics (in subsequent years) include Biodiversity, Gender Equity, Poverty Alleviation, Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Corporate Social Responsibility. This course will explore the diversity of approaches, ideas and concepts related to the theme. Students will be exposed to both social and natural science perspectives through in-class lectures and discussions, as well as regular guest lecturers. A major end-of-term project requiring the application of theories and methodologies from their chosen area of focus (science or management/social science) is required.


Patrice Lee, Institute Administrator and Assistant