Honours B.A. in Social Innovation

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  • General information
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  • Program requirements
  • Courses
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Program description

This program, which combines management and the social sciences, helps you discover new ways of solving social problems, such as poverty, discrimination and the climate crisis.

In this program you will gain a deeper understanding of these deep-rooted problems, as well as the related systems and institutions. You will also explore models of organizations and social enterprise that can help to mobilize your community to bring about positive and sustainable change.

Throughout the program, you will have the opportunity to develop practical skills, including budgeting, strategic planning, project management and citizen engagement. Whether you are launching your own social innovation project or doing an internship in an existing organization, you can apply your knowledge in a concrete and practical way.

An innovative pedagogical approach

Practicing what it preaches, the Élisabeth-Bruyère School of Social Innovation offers a one-of-a-kind education model featuring intensive teaching blocks for mandatory courses.

Instead of attending weekly classes for different courses throughout a semester, you will take one course at a time for three weeks before moving on to the next one. This approach allows for more consistency between courses and more field-trips. It also allows you to focus on one subject at a time.

Mauril-Bélanger Social Innovation Workshop

All students in social innovation are members of the Mauril-Bélanger Social Innovation Workshop, also known as the Atelier. The Atelier is a centre for training and collaboration for people and organizations that want to have a positive impact on the community.

As part of the Élisabeth-Bruyère School of Social Innovation, the Atelier serves as a dynamic hub that cultivates innovative projects, social entrepreneurship and social innovation research. As part of the first year of your program, you will be supported by the Atelier as you work on social innovation projects in partnership with community groups.


This program includes at least one hands-on experience in the field. This experience can be done within an existing organization — in Canada or abroad — or it can involve starting a project.

Who should apply?

Engaged individuals who would like to build or work in organizations that change the world.

Career opportunities

  • Founder of a social enterprise or cooperative
  • Team coordinator in the public or private sector
  • Head of an NGO or foundation
  • Project manager in international cooperation
  • Leader for member engagement in a union, feminist, environmental or antiracist context

Admission details

Registration: for fall and full-time only
Program length: 8 trimesters, or 4 years
Program delivery: on campus
Language: this program is also offered in French.

For more details, please click here.

Scholarship possibilities

Students in this program are eligible for the Special School of Social Innovation scholarship, which offers $4,000 for the first year of studies.

Students who are registered in this program may be eligible for other scholarships. For more information, please click here.

This degree is offered jointly with the University of Ottawa.


Applications: A step-by-step guide

STEP 1: Choose a program of study
STEP 2: Learn about admission requirements
STEP 3: Submit your application
STEP 4: Gather the documents needed for the assessment of your application
STEP 5: Assessment of your application
STEP 6: Accept your offer of admission
STEP 7: Choose your courses


Undergraduate programs:



Ontario applicants

From secondary school
Have an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) with at least six 4U or 4M level courses, including one 4U level course in English or français.

From Ontario Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology (CAAT)

  • After one year of studies
    You are eligible if you have completed one year of a college program and have obtained the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) with one language course (English or français) at the college or 4U level.
  • After a two- or three-year program
    If you have completed a two- or three-year college program, you can obtain up to 30 units of advanced standing (transfer units).

Our transfer agreements
Saint Paul University has developed a number of transfer agreements with colleges, allowing applicants to receive upwards of 30 units in equivalencies. Find out more by consulting the tab entitled College Credit Transfer.

Quebec applicants

From secondary school
Have a Secondary School Diploma with an average of 84%, including one course in English or français at the Secondary V level.

From Cégep
Have completed 12 courses of general studies (not including physical education and refresher courses), including English (603) or français (601). Applicants who have successfully completed 12 courses of general studies may obtain up to 15 units of advanced standing, and those who have successfully completed more than 12 courses of general studies may obtain up to 30 units of advanced standing.

Applicants from the Atlantic and Western provinces

Have a Secondary School Diploma, including one course in English or français at the Grade 12 level.

Applicants from other universities

Applications from other Canadian or international universities will be assessed based on the applicant’s previous secondary and post-secondary studies. University equivalency units may be granted depending on the studies completed and the program into which the person is admitted.

International applicants

Have a diploma attesting to 12 years of education equivalent to the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD). Persons who have completed a secondary diploma attesting to 13 years of education, such as the Baccalauréat de l’enseignement secondaire français, can receive up to 30 units of advanced standing.

Mature applicants

When the applicant’s academic record does not meet normal conditions for admission, it is possible to apply as a mature applicant, provided that the person has not been enrolled in full-time studies for at least two consecutive years. In order to be considered for admission, applicants must have experience that can be considered sufficient preparation for pursuing undergraduate studies.



You have two options



If you are applying for admission to an undergraduate program at more than one Ontario university, including Saint Paul University:

    • Complete the application form available at the Ontario Universities’ Application Centre (OUAC).

IMPORTANT NOTE: Because Saint Paul University is federated with the University of Ottawa, you will find programs offered by Saint Paul University listed under the University of Ottawa.


If you are applying for an undergraduate program at Saint Paul University only, or if you are applying for a master’s or doctoral program:

  • Complete the following form.

Apply Now




In order for us to assess your application, you must submit official transcripts for all of your previous studies (secondary, college and university). These transcripts must be sent directly from your academic institution to the following address:


Saint Paul University
Office of Admissions and Student Services
223 Main Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1S 1C4


However, to expedite the assessment process for your application, you can scan your documents and e-mail them to the Office of Admissions at and then send your official documents through the mail.



Once the Office of Admissions receives all the required documents, it will begin to assess your application. One of the following decisions will be sent to you at the email address you gave us, as well as to your postal address.

Possible decisions

  • Offer of admission
    The Office of Admissions will send you an offer of admission (unconditional).
  • Conditional offer of admission
    The Office of Admissions will make you a conditional offer of admission, with specific conditions that you must meet by a certain deadline. You can still proceed to registration (course selection).
  • Deferred decision
    The Office of Admissions can inform you that some information is missing and therefore the University is unable to make a decision regarding your eligibility. If applicable, the Office will tell you which documents to send and by what date.
  • Refusal
    The Office of Admissions will inform you of the reasons for the refusal.



To accept an offer of admission and a scholarship offer, if applicable, you must sign the form entitled Admission acceptance form that accompanies your offer of admission and send it to Saint Paul University by email, before the deadline, to the following address or mail it to:

Saint Paul University
Office of Admissions and Student Services
223 Main Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1S 1C4



With your offer of admission, you will receive all the information you will need to choose your courses. You will also receive the contact information for our academic advisors; you can meet with them one on one or during information sessions for guidance and to help you finalize your course selection.

Foundational Courses (12 units)

Compulsory Courses: 12 units

HTP1102 Approaches in the Humanities: Interpreting the Human Experience
HTP1103 People, Social Justice and Ecology
HTP1105 Critical Analysis, Reading and Writing Academic Works
HTP1106 The First Peoples in Canada

Discipline Specific Courses (78 units)

Compulsory Courses: 60 units

INS2101 Introduction to Social Innovation
INS2102 Social Justice and Critical Thinking
INS2103 Social Movements
INS2104 Democracy and Civic Engagement
INS2105 Social and Solidarity Economy
INS2106 Management, Administration and Social Innovation
INS3101 Self-Management in Organizations
INS3102 Practical Seminar: Introduction to Action Research
INS3103 Capitalism, Classes and Inequalities
INS3104 Labor Movements
INS3105 Gender and Feminisms
INS3106 Feminist Movements
INS3107 Ecology and Environmental Justice
INS3108 Accounting of Social Organizations
INS3109 Mobilization, Framing and Communication
INS3110 Anti-Racist and Anti-Colonial Theories
INS3111 Anti-Racist and Anti-Colonial Movements
INS4101 Power Relations in Organizations
INS4102 Starting a Social Organization
INS4103 Internship I

Optional Courses: 18 units from:

INS3112 Project Management and Social Innovation
INS3113 New Technologies and Social Innovation
INS3114 Accessibility and Ableism
INS3115 Poverty and Social Exclusion
INS3116 Territories and Local Development
INS3117 Arts and Social Transformation
INS3118 Popular Education and Knowledge Sharing
INS3119 Selected Topics in Democratic Management
INS3120 Selected Topics in Social Action
INS3340 Social Innovation and Social Justice – Practicum
INS4104 Finance and Funding Social Innovation
INS4105 Social Innovation and Global Interdependencies
INS4106 Internship II
IPA1123 Introduction to Group Dynamics
IPA2128 Group Intervention and Active Listening
IPA3126 The Spiritual Dimensions of Leadership and Group Facilitation
ISC3301 Social Marketing
ISC3339 Introduction to Public Relations
PHI2146 Social Justice
PHI3133 Feminist Ethics
PHI3308 Ethics and Public Service


With the approval of the School of Social Innovation, students may also choose optional courses from among those offered by the School of International Development and Global Studies in order to add an international perspective to their studies.

Elective courses (30 units)

Students choose 30 units or complete a minor (30 units).


HTP 1102 - Approaches in the Humanities: Interpreting the Human Experience

Introduction to theoretical approaches in the Humanities and to the methods that are applied to interpret the multiple expressions of human experience, particularly those expressed in important works of art and literature.

HTP 1103 - People, Social Justice and Ecology

Social and ecological challenges facing humanity today, and related issues of social justice. These questions will be examined from a perspective of community building and efforts towards ecological and social transformations for a hopeful future.

HTP 1105 - Critical Analysis, Reading and Writing Academic Works

Development of abilities to read critically and understand academic works. Focus on formal writing skills: techniques of clear expression and construction of texts, argument development and organization. This course also includes a library laboratory component with focus on research skills, citations, and academic integrity.

HTP 1106 - The First Peoples in Canada

Indigenous and non-Indigenous perspectives on the First Peoples in Canada, cultural diversity, traditional practices and beliefs, relationship with the environment, changing roles and structures influenced by colonization. Contemporary issues faced by First Nations, Métis and Inuit, including cultural genocide and trauma.

INS 2101 - Introduction to Social Innovation

Social innovation basics, methodological foundation to study the field and best practices.

INS 2102 - Social Justice and Critical Thinking

Main contemporary theories of social justice (liberal, critical, catholic, etc.) and issues related to redistribution, recognition, capabilities and accessibility.

INS 2103 - Social Movements

Analyzing social situations through the lens of concepts developed by the most important schools of critical thinking and the approaches in social movement studies.

INS 2104 - Democracy and Civic Engagement

Fundamentals of democracy, participation and representative government needed to understand and move beyond the framework in which they are embedded within Western societies.

Students having completed the course DVM4154 Global Studies, Citizenship and Development will be credited for this course.

INS 2105 - Social and Solidarity Economy

Overview of social and solidarity economy through a survey of the field’s main texts and its most important initiatives.

Students having completed the course DVM4150 Social Economy and Local Development in Developing Countries will be credited for this course.

INS 2106 - Management, Administration and Social Innovation

Basics of management and administration necessary for the proper functioning of a social organization.

Students having completed the courses ADM1100 Introduction to Business Management will be credited for this course.

INS 3101 - Self-Management in Organizations

Structures, bodies, and modes of operation within democratic organizations.

INS 3102 - Practical Seminar: Introduction to Action Research

Basic introduction to action research through getting involved in an organization and/or implementing a project, critically reflecting on the experience.

INS 3103 - Capitalism, Classes and Inequalities

Theoretical foundations of Marxist analysis, key concepts and contemporary debates, in particular, current economic and technological changes.

INS 3104 - Labor Movements

Analysis of the trajectory and dynamics of social movements focused on issues of class and socioeconomic inequality.


INS 3105 - Gender and Feminisms

Theoretical foundations and key concepts of different approaches to feminist and gender studies.

INS 3106 - Feminist Movements

Analysis of the trajectory and dynamics of social movements focused on gender issues.

INS 3107 - Ecology and Environmental Justice

Major issues and debates concerning ecology and environmental justice, examined through the lens of specific cases.

INS 3108 - Accounting of Social Organizations

Financial statements of a social organization and the accounting system that produces them.

INS 3109 - Mobilization, Framing and Communication

Tools and techniques developed by social movements to mobilize communities in support of an innovative project. Discourse, design, and public relations strategies in a social innovation context.

INS 3110 - Anti-Racist and Anti-Colonial Theories

Theoretical foundations and key concepts of anti-racist and anti-colonial theories (decolonial, postcolonial, indigenous).

INS 3111 - Anti-Racist and Anti-Colonial Movements

Analysis of the trajectory and dynamics of social movements focused on issues of colonialism and racism.

INS 3112 - Project Management and Social Innovation

Basic notions in project management adapted to the reality of innovative social organizations.

INS 3113 - New Technologies and Social Innovation

Analysis of new technology issues for social innovation projects and actors.

INS 3114 - Accessibility and Ableism

Study of different strategies to foster the conditions of solidarity needed for organizations to actively include people living with disabilities.

INS 3115 - Poverty and Social Exclusion

Analysis of different issues related to poverty and study of the social actors and their strategies in the struggle against poverty and social exclusion.

INS 3116 - Territories and Local Development

Major components of a sociopolitical framework designed to help understand issues related to the use of a geographic space and its anchoring in communities and ecosystems.

INS 3117 - Arts and Social Transformation

Overview of different art initiatives and projects taking a critical approach.

INS 3118 - Popular Education and Knowledge Sharing

Study of Paulo Freire’s pedagogical approach and its use in people’s organizations to transmit and create knowledge.

INS 3119 - Selected Topics in Democratic Management

In-depth study of specific topics related to democratic management.

INS 3120 - Selected Topics in Social Action

In-depth study of specific topics related to social action.

INS 3340 - Social Innovation and Social Justice – Practicum

Hands-on work with community-based organizations at the Mauril-Bélanger Social Innovation Workshop (The Atelier): getting involved with one of these organizations in the development of a project aiming to creatively address social problems on a small scale; strategies for change in various domains related to social justice (racism, poverty, gender, food, housing…) based on initiatives of social and political actors, including activists and organizations. 

INS 4101 - Power Relations in Organizations

Tools and techniques in leadership development. Study of power relations in organizations’ practices and discourses.

INS 4102 - Starting a Social Organization

Key steps to launch an organization: mission, partnerships, team, funding, organizational structure.

Prerequisite:INS3108 Accounting of Social Organizations.

INS 4103 - Internship I

Conducting a complete diagnosis of a specific issue in an organization or participate to the elaboration of a specific project, within or outside an organization. Graded S/NS.

INS 4104 - Finance and Funding Social Innovation

Overview of strategies to secure funding and support for new social projects including social finance.

INS 4105 - Social Innovation and Global Interdependencies

Study of the interdependencies between the local, the national and global in social innovation.

INS 4106 - Internship II

Internship in a social organization or developing an action research in partnership with a social organization (collaboration agreement, project development and identification of research aims and process, conducting the action research, results presentation and reflective analysis). Graded S/NS.

IPA 1123 - Introduction to Group Dynamics

This course initiates participants to the group phenomenon and to different fundamental concepts, such as group typology, elements of group dynamics, as well as conditions and factors that are part of interpersonal and group communication. Participants learn to be aware of the quality of their participation and to develop their capacity to observe and to interact.

This course was previously HUM1103 and IGL1103.

IPA 2128 - Group Intervention and Active Listening

Focus on the active listening model as applied to group intervention and leadership. Listening skills for interpersonal and group situations such as empathy, congruence, paraphrasing, reflecting, feedback, questioning, process.

This course was previously ANI2126 and IGL2126.

IPA 3126 - The Spiritual Dimensions of Leadership and Group Facilitation

Deepening of one's conception of spirituality and presentation of various guiding methods adapted to personal development groups: self-training, support group meetings, life experience analysis and planned action. Community cooperation and psychosocial basics are addressed.

This course was previously ANI3112 and IGL3112.

ISC 3301 - Social Marketing

Marketing in general, social marketing and advertising and related communication tools. Basic concepts; application of the marketing and advertising approaches to the promotion of social ideas, values and causes: product and audience analysis, identification of marketing and communications objectives, campaign evaluation.

ISC 3339 - Introduction to Public Relations

History and basic models of public relations.  Main approaches, tools, audiences, work environment. Management, marketing, advertising, public affairs. Case studies.

PHI 2146 - Social Justice

Explores, from the perspective of social justice theories, issues such as social inequalities, poverty, refugees, war, and environmental degradation. Examines criticisms of this perspective.

PHI 3133 - Feminist Ethics

Examination of the development of critical theories and new ethical models in different feminist currents. How these ethics take into consideration the marginalized voices of oppressed groups.

PHI 3308 - Ethics and Public Service

Ethical issues relating to the public sector. Definitions of the common good and of public service. Study of the role of public policy in the functioning of various states and governments, and the implications of their coherence or conflict in the social, political and economic realms.

Contact Us

Office of Admissions, Registrar and Student Services
Room 148
Saint Paul University
223 Main Street
Ottawa, ON
K1S 1C4

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Telephone: 613-236-1393
Fax: 613-782-3014

Hours of Operation

Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Please leave your documents in the mailbox in front of room 148 when our offices are closed.

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223 Main Street
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
K1S 1C4


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