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Faculty of Social Sciences Introduces Social Innovation Certificate

The Faculty of Social Sciences is excited to announce the launch of a concurrent certificate in Social Innovation.

Jun 21, 2021


McMaster undergraduate students now have another opportunity to diversify their studies. This Fall, the Faculty of Social Sciences will launch a concurrent certificate in Social Innovation. The new program will help students develop the skills they will need to design and implement real-world solutions to social issues.

“We teach our students about problems that exist in society, but we don’t always focus on what they can do to solve these issues,” said Tracy Prowse, Associate Dean, Academic in the Faculty of Social Sciences. “The certificate in Social Innovation will provide students with the foundation they need to enact meaningful, impactful and positive social change.”

The certificate will be open to undergraduate McMaster students of all faculties. Students may declare the certificate once they have completed 18 units (or six of the required courses) for the certificate at the time of graduation from their degree program.

Courses contributing to the certificate are grouped into three sections - foundation, experiential and thematic. Most courses are selected from the Faculty of Social Sciences and the Office of Community Engagement, although some Faculty of Health Sciences and Intersession Learning (INSPIRE) courses are included as well. The certificate also requires that students complete an experiential learning opportunity, allowing them to put what they’ve learned in the classroom into action.

“In Social Sciences, so many of our programs explore social change, and each department approaches the problem from different directions. For example, we have courses like Globalization, Social Justice and Human Rights, and Perspectives on Social Inequality. Both courses deal with topics related to social change, but in vastly diverse ways. So, we tried to give students a range of options broken down into areas of focus based on their own interests,” added Prowse.

Areas of focus allow students to select courses based on their interests. They can choose from Social Movements, Community Engagement, and Advocacy, or Citizenship, Human Rights, and Diversity.

“We want to present Social Innovation through a Social Sciences lens, which focuses less on the traditional definition of business innovation and entrepreneurship and more on creating positive and lasting social change in our communities,” added Lynn Giordano, Assistant Dean, Social Sciences. “It was important to design this certificate to give students the skills they’ll need to move into a variety of careers, including health policy, working in advocacy and for not-for-profit organizations."

Students can begin registration for the Social Innovation Certificate in June 2021. Students with questions about the certificate can also contact the Office of the Associate Dean (Academic) in the Faculty of Social Sciences