MScSM | Distinguishing Features

Distinguishing Features

The MScSM program has many distinguishing features that make it unique among professional sustainability programs. In addition to unique program design and delivery, the selection process of students and program culture are also distinctive. The program places a very high importance on the holistic development of every student as a human being, and the collaborative culture of the program.

  • Program Design: The core courses of the program, include foundational courses in business management, social science, natural science, a research paper, a capstone course and an internship course.  All these courses are specifically designed for the program, so sustainability and a sustainability lens are at the centre of every class. Core courses are focused on building the common foundations of sustainability management, while  the very-wide choice of elective courses, a research topic for the research paper course, a topic for the capstone course, and choice of internships offer the opportunities to specialize in any area related to sustainability, such as climate change, renewable energy, marketing of sustainability, strategies for sustainability and well beyond through these flexible options. We also offer an exchange program with 3 European universities (Lund University, University of Copenhagen and University of Geneva.  Lastly, the program design is centered around work-integrated learning and real-world application of knowledge.
  • Students’ Selection Process: The four-step students’ selection process during admissions is designed to ensure that the selected students’ values systems align with the program’s value system/sustainability values. This enables a unique program culture, and ensures students will be happy in their choice to come to MScSM, and will be successful and thrive during their studies. Our process allows the program to admit students who do not simply wish to complete a graduate degree; rather, it allows admittance of students who demonstrate an intrinsic desire to contribute and play a leading role in the field of sustainability.
  • Course Design:  The core courses of the program have been designed taking the Program’s philosophy and values into consideration.  As a result, each course takes a holistic and integrated view of sustainability as it relates to the subject matter.  Further, the Program conducts regular course evaluations, voluntary additional course evaluations, regular industry surveys and an internally driven program review, allowing staff and faculty to maintain the course content and the program up-to-date, topical, and relevant. Given the course design and program themes and learning models, our graduates are known for being uniquely prepared for the workforce as integrative thinkers. 
  • Work Integrated Learning (WIL): The program offers opportunities for students to design their own work-integrated learning as per their personal interests. The Placement Manager begins one-on-one meetings with every student right from the beginning of fall term of first year to discuss their interests in sustainability and provide career guidance throughout the Program. Students and the Placement Manager work together to find an appropriate internship placement for each student. In addition to their internship, during the Capstone Course, a group of 2 or 3 students selects a host organization of their choice, identifies a sustainability related issue in the host organization, and develops a strategic plan to address that issue. Generally, comparable graduate programs include either a capstone or internship component, however the MScSM Program has both, providing an elevated level of work integrated learning opportunities for students.  Further, the Program offers additional WIL through additional in-course industry projects and a live Case Competition. This emphasis on practical, client-based learning ensures students graduate with significant professional experience alongside a deep understanding of course materials in a practical sense.
    In addition to the Capstone and Internship courses, MScSM students are exposed to work-integrated learning (WIL) practices through guest speakers (as part of the guest speaker series), guest lecturers (in program courses), and as course instructors (in the two electives courses which are, by design, led by practicing sustainability professionals). Work-integrated teaching materials and exercises are a common feature in all three of these.

  • Program Culture: Based on the admittance selection process and the structure of the Program along with the Program’s values and philosophies, the MScSM program also attempts to build its own distinct culture. Focused on intrinsic curiosity, care for others, human wellbeing, and a family-style environment, students create significant relationships and build trust with each other, as well as faculty and staff, leading to an overall program culture of collaboration, support, respect, and trust. This creates an enhanced learning environment and positive individual and group outcomes. 
  • Sustainability at UTM and UofT: The unique culture of the MScSM program cannot thrive in isolation. Hence, the program director, staff, and students have played very critical and dynamic roles in extending the message of global sustainability beyond the program to the UTM campus as well as to the whole university. These efforts have resulted in many sustainability related activities and an undergraduate certificate of completion in global sustainability offered through the Institute for Management & Innovation (IMI). Examples include UTM Sustainability Week, UTM Sustainability Strategic Plan, and Sustainability Leaders Series. These campus and university-wide sustainability related initiatives have a synergetic relationship with the program and provide opportunities for MScSM students to demonstrate creativity and leadership while contributing to the creation of campus-wide sustainability awareness and transformation.