MBA and Master's Programs


Businesses today are facing an increasing obligation to look beyond the traditional financial bottom line. Increasingly, stakeholders are challenging enterprises to deliver a positive impact on the community. The sustainability stream of the Alberta MBA looks at how business can deliver a social impact, operate in an environmental sensitive manner and build communities.

Sustainability Courses

  • BUS 505: Ethics & Corporate Social Responsibility (Required)

    This course focuses on the application of moral principles and models for ethical decision making to individuals and businesses in the 21st century. Contemporary ethical and social issues will be examined through the use of case studies, class discussions and presentations. Topics include concepts of individual ethics, workplace issues, corporate compliance and social and environmental responsibility. While examining ethical issues, emphasis will be placed on improving students' proficiency levels in verbal and written business communication.

  • SMO 638: Corporate Sustainability (Required)

    This course examines business strategies for sustainable development. Business sustainability is defined as managing the "triple bottom line" - designing mission driven enterprises that provide a thriving future for business, society and the planet. To achieve this, managers must adopt a fresh understanding of the role of the business enterprise. The course will draw from successful sustainability efforts of leading business organizations, both locally and internationally, by identifying key success factors that encourage sustainable business practices. It will also place current understandings of sustainability in a wider context by exploring the historical roots of current sustainability practices and examining their implications for key stakeholders of the business enterprise.

  • B LAW 628: Natural Resource and Environmental Law

    The course considers the legal framework in which managerial decisions affecting the environment are taken. It looks at the substances of environmental law and the procedures for enforcing it. The interaction of this legal approach with business strategies for dealing with environmental issues is analyzed.

  • BUEC 564: Environmental Management

    The economic theory of externalities is introduced and applied in a discussion of alternative policy instruments such as taxes, tradable permits, and regulatory standards which are used to deal with pollution. Topics include current environmental regulation issues such as climate change, water and air pollution and firm strategy. Extensions include an introduction to cost-benefit analysis and environmental impact assessment tools for project evaluation as well as a discussion of the economics of non-renewable resources. Prerequisite: BUEC 503

  • MARK 655: Sustainability and Responsible Marketing

    Marketing plays a large role in and is affected by corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability issues. This course will explore, examine and inform how the marketing function of business activity engages in CSR and sustainability issues. Specific topics will cover how these issues are influenced by consumer trends and how they are communicated to consumers. Marketing problems found in the non-profit, for-profit and public sectors will be examined, and responsible (and irresponsible) marketing practices will be explored. Prerequisite: MARK 502.

  • SMO 601: Innovation & Sustainability - The Cleantech Revolution

    The clean technology and renewables course is a course designed to fit with three areas of graduate study: technology development and transfer, strategy, and sustainability. In this course, we will begin with an examination renewable energy industries (solar, water, wind, etc.) and clean technologies focused on waste and recycling. Clean and green strategies will be identified and discussed, using specific examples from our international clean technology research and database. At the end of the course, students will present either a project with a local clean technology company project or a case analysis of a key clean technology company of interest.

  • SMO 635: Managing International Enterprises

    International enterprises are for-profit businesses and nonprofit organizations which actively coordinate their operations sited in multiple countries. Top managers of international enterprises must ensure that their organizations simultaneously adapt to differences in external contexts around the world and increase internal coordination, efficiency, and innovation on a worldwide basis. Students will be put in the role of practicing top managers who are facing challenges, making decisions, and providing leadership in complex, multicultural contexts. Topics may include: entry decisions; aligning strategy, structure, and process; globalization; international strategic alliances; and sustainability. Prerequisites: SMO 500.

  • SMO 637: Managing Not-for-Profit Organizations

    Many management ideas and practices are derived from large, private, for-profit corporations. This course examines some of the issues confronting management in the not-for-profit sector, for example, health, education, charities, social/human services, and the arts. It addresses the issues of to what extent and how management in these types of organizations is different from the dominant private sector view of management, and how these practices are applied in the not for profit sector. Specific issues such as the management of volunteers, boards, and resource development programs are considered.

  • SMO 645: Social Entrepreneurship

    Corporate social and environmental responsibility is an important strategic consideration for companies around the world. The relationship a business has with both government and the larger public is integral to its success, reputation, and day-to-day activities. This course offers a practical introduction to social entrepreneurship and addresses entrepreneurship, innovation, and corporate social responsibility. The course focuses on key concepts in the field of social entrepreneurship and social enterprise, including organizational learning, sustainability, philanthropy, commercialization, and profit and nonprofit development. It also presents cases that illustrate these concepts in practical contexts. Ideas and skills learned in this course will better enable students to; play a role in shaping socially responsible businesses; develop a genuinely sustainable business enterprise; infuse non-profit organizations with a spirit of social innovation and practical financial sustainability; assist in influencing future government actions.

  • SMO 686: Starting a Social Venture

    This is a course for students interested in learning how to develop an idea for a new product or service that offers a social (and/or environmental) benefit. This course is about developing the analytical and conceptual skills required to assess the potential for a new social venture. The assessment process involves identifying, evaluating and determining whether or not to pursue a particular social venture. In addition, the process involves analyzing whether or not the opportunity will result in an environmental and/or social benefit.

  • SMO 686: Women and Leadership

    This course will examine women’s leadership from a variety of angles, drawing on academic, practitioner, and experiential knowledge. We will adopt a ‘context based’ approach to illuminate the challenges women face, and how they successfully navigate through diverse situations in their development as leaders. Topics we will explore include: current and past trends in women’s leadership; barriers and facilitators to women’s development as leaders; gender-based considerations in the development of leadership skills and competencies; and the role of organizations and senior leaders in supporting and enhancing women’s leadership, and in encouraging gender diversity and inclusivity.

Net Impact

The mission of the University of Alberta Net Impact chapter is to inspire, educate, and equip individuals to use the power of business to create a more socially and environmentally sustainable world.  As a student organization, Net Impact provides opportunities to students that will:

  1. Empower graduate students to use their skills to positively impact their surroundings
  2. Help them put their beliefs into action through sustainability efforts
  3. Enlarge their professional network with other like-minded individuals who have demonstrated their commitment to corporate social responsibility

Canadian Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility

Social impact, environmental sensitivity and the economics of community building are three pillars that form the framework for the Canadian Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility (CCCSR). This research-intensive centre uses creativity and innovation to push the boundaries of business in a way that encourages business leaders to consider their diverse stakeholders and improve the quality of life experienced by the communities they live and operate in.