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Finance for Social Innovation


Join us November 23, 2017 to learn more about the program.  Faculty and staff will be on hand to answer your questions.

Register now!

Program Overview

Social finance is a growing sector that seeks market-based solutions to fund organizations and projects from the social enterprise community, including areas such as impact analysis, corporate social responsibility and policy analysis. The Finance for Social Innovation Professional Masters Diploma provides the knowledge and skills necessary for evaluating financial instruments and assessing the outcomes of social enterprise.

In as little as one year, this part-time graduate program can prepare you for careers in:

·       Impact investing and investment advising

·       Not-for-profit governance

·       Social enterprise management

·       Public policy

·       Corporate social responsibility

·       Microfinancing

·       International aid

·       Social entrepreneurship

This program is for:

1. Organizations

Organizations exploring and developing creative ways of funding activities addressing social problems outside the traditional sectors of not-for-profit, donations and/or government funding mechanisms. Those in the sector, or seeking to fund social enterprise outside of traditional funding mechanisms, will benefit from this program.

2. Investors

Investors seeking to diversify their portfolios and those interested in investing in social enterprise outside the narrow confines of charitable donations will gain exposure to new classes of financial products and become acquainted with the objectives of social enterprise.

3. Financial services employees

Financial services employees seeking exposure to these ways of evaluating the social return on investment and the accompanying financial instruments.


The curriculum of the diploma consists of the following graduate level courses:

1. Corporate & Nonprofit Governance

This course provides a context for social enterprise within the sphere of capital markets focused finance. This context is related to the development of new methods of financing social enterprise through the legal structures and actors that have brought market-oriented logics into financing and assessing the performance of social enterprise.

This course acquaints students with the impact of government policy and market structure on the role of the capital markets in supporting a wide range of enterprises with social agendas.  It also provides perspective on the history of Canadian capital markets, their objectives, and the actors that affect them, such as pension funds, banks, exchanges, public policy makers, and corporations themselves, many of which may have an interest in financing social enterprise. 

2. Alternative Perspectives on Finance

This course will provide context on approaches to finance from the behavioural finance perspective, as well as an international survey of systems of finance. Because social enterprise occurs in a variety of settings, with different systems of finance, perspectives on systems such as Islamic Finance, or State-oriented finance, and the systems a variety of postcolonial, developing countries, where many social enterprises are situated will be reviewed.

3. Investing for Impact

This course is an industry-focused course on both impact investing in social enterprise as part of portfolio of investments, and on bottom of the pyramid finance such as micro-finance. Impact investing aims to create positive social and/or environmental impact, alongside financial returns. With the proliferation of new players, approaches, financial instruments and evaluation tools, the field of impact investing has significantly progressed in recent years to tackle an array of social issues. It will also cover instruments like Social Impact Bonds designed for specific projects and crowdfunding. The course is designed to be an introduction to impact investing: how the industry has emerged, why it is gaining prominence, and where it is going. It will explore its roots in micro-finance, its influence on business and philanthropy, as well as the opportunities and challenges ahead.

4. Financing and Assessing Social Impact

This course is built assessments of social enterprise and returns on social investments. This piece will be most valuable for professionals working in social enterprise, but will also inform the investor on how these instruments work to produce desired outcomes. Impact Analysis includes a detailed measurement of social enterprise outcomes, and analyzing individual organizations will form a key deliverable for this course. There are also established metrics, such as the Progress out of Poverty Index, some of which have been developed from environmental impact metrics, and metrics for measuring corporate social responsibility, as well as an active scholarly literature on impact assessment. Students will gain a perspective on the history and best practice in social impact assessment, and how it is linked to financial instruments.

5. Capstone Project

The capstone project will consist of a paper completed using archival data or policy analysis on a topic related to financing social innovation. 

Credential: Professional Master's Diploma

Program Type: Graduate (Part-time)

Program Length: 5 courses 

Start Date: January 2018


Telephone: (416) 542-5872

Admission Information

  1. Bachelor’s Degree: Completion of a four-year bachelor's degree in business, technology, finance or related disciplines from a recognized university. Please include all official post-secondary transcripts when submitting your application.
  2. Minimum B Average: A minimum B (73% or above) average in the last 2 years of university study (Including postgraduate university programs).
  3. Comprehensive resume: Minimum of two years full-time post-graduate work experience.
  4. Two Referees: Two letters of recommendation from academic or professional references.
  5. A Statement of Interest: 500 word statement professional or research interest.
  6. English Language Proficiency Score: Required from all applicants who have degrees from institutions in which English is not the language of instruction or examination.                                                                                                                               Please visit the Graduate Studies website for more information and a list of accepted tests and scores.
Admission Process

At Ryerson, all graduate applications are submitted online. Submitting a complete application package is a two-part process. You can read details about the process on our graduate site

  1. Submitting your application through OUAC and
  2. Uploading your documents. Please include all post-secondary transcripts with your application.

The system is easy-to-use and saves you time. The online system is mandatory; paper applications mailed to the Graduate Admissions and Recruitment Office will not be accepted.

Application Deadline

The application deadlines to begin the program are:

Domestic:  December 7th, 2017


International:  November 1st, 2017


Tuition Fees

2016-17 Fees

Domestic - $1,300 per course 

International - $3,078.58 per course 

*Plus ancillary fees for the program. Fees subject to change for 2017-18. 
Please check the Yeates School of Graduate Studies fees page for updates.

Diploma Registration

Participants may be registered in only one Graduate program at any one time.