Programs & Courses

Sustainable Innovation


About this Program

A first of its kind in Canada, MHC's Sustainable Innovation diploma, with majors in Business or Science, provides students with the ability to develop, implement and lead sustainable innovation strategies in diverse industries. Students will acquire just-in-time experience learning to develop the skills and competencies needed to analyze and evaluate the detailed ecosystems that reinforce and support our built environment.

Offered with flexible learning options (in person and online), this two-year program of five semesters includes an integrated workplace learning experience and is designed for change makers who are excited about challenging existing standards and propelling their ideas forward to positively impact our communities and society. This program trains the next generations of leaders to initiate effective, innovative and sustainable approaches to solving challenges that impact people, places and profits by looking at new and strategic ways of doing business.

The Sustainable Innovation diploma challenges learners to broaden their perspective and create new products, services, systems, and processes that develop long-term solutions and address the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The term sustainability focuses not only on climate change but recognizes that ending poverty and other hardships naturally coincides with strategies to improve health, education, social equality, and economic growth.

Program Outcomes:

At the end of this program, students will develop knowledge, skills, and values in the following areas:

Sustainable Practice

  • Describe the scientific, social, and environmental underpinnings regarding the scale, urgency, and necessity of sustainable innovation.
  • Explain the interconnected nature of systems, the principles of sustainability, and recognize the implications of organizational decisions and actions.
  • Recognize the complex dynamics of megatrends and systemic needs, and apply tools and practices that countries and organizations utilize to increase sustainability.
  • Approach sustainability challenges from an innovation-centered perspective that recognizes the collective interests of economics, environment, and society.

Innovation Capability

  • Explore ideas and issues from multiple perspectives before formulating an action plan.
  • Identify, locate, evaluate, and responsibly use information to conduct economic analysis and develop business cases for both sustainability and innovation practices and processes.
  • Creatively synthesize ideas, information, and expertise in original and imaginative ways characterized by innovation, informed risk-taking, and productive failure.
  • Source existing or novel ideas from other domains into new products or approaches and extend into other domains where applicable.
  • Systematically seek out and test potentially risky directions and unproven approaches through proven innovation theories and methods (e.g. rapid designing, testing and evaluation prototypes) towards implementing innovation.

Leading Change

  • Facilitate incremental and transformative change processes to co-create social and organizational innovations with multiple stakeholders.
  • Lead tangible changes in organizational practices and integrate sustainable innovation with strategy, including the ongoing ability to gather additional research in all areas of sustainable innovation as needed.
  • Recognize one’s personal attitudes, beliefs, and ethics while engaging with diverse communities and cultures, and balancing these conceptions when leading innovation.
  • Tailor communications to effectively express, listen, and adapt to others’ perspectives to establish appropriate actions.


Rochelle Pancoast, managing director of strategic management and analysis with the City of Medicine Hat

Leader in strategic management, Rochelle Pancoast brings experience in renewable energy, social science and economics to MHC’s new Sustainable Innovation Diploma.

Read the full story.


Photo of Finlay Bridge in Medicine Hat at night

As an engineer, Randi Buchner’s job is to invent, design and maintain complex projects, structures and data systems with the wellbeing of people, the environment and economy in mind.

Read the full story.

High School Route

  • ELA 30-1 or ELA 30-2
  • Two Grade 12, 5-credit subjects with 50% or better

Mature Student Route

  • ELA 30-1 or ELA 30-2


Fall Semester

Technical Communications
This course covers written and oral communication skills for preparing and presenting scientific and technical reports. Basic writing skills, oral communication skills, and communication graphics (charts, figures, data) are discussed. Communication skills also involve building arguments based on evidence; this course introduces methods of finding, evaluating, and citing scientific references (and other information sources) to back up arguments.
SUST 201 Creativity and Changing Perspectives
This course examines the cues that trigger us to consider being creative and provides a road map of the creative. Students explore the thinking process that can be used to recognize new opportunities and develop new ideas more efficiently and effectively.
SUST 211 Introduction to Social Innovation
This course provides an introduction of the field of social innovation or social entrepreneurship and working for an organization that wants to increase its social impact. It will take students to a journey of exploring the complex problems that surround us and that make a positive impact in today’s society. Students will learn from the numerous examples of social innovations happening all over the world and develop the concepts, mindset, skills, and relationships that will enable them to start and evolve as a change maker that challenge the status quo.
SUST 221
Regenerative Design
This course gives the students the framework to evaluate and promote the future of sustainability, pushing the limits of good practices to best practices. Key areas of focus will include; identifying regenerative projects, creating regenerative processes, and helping them to understand the value of becoming a regenerative change agent.
SUST 231 Sustainability & Systems Thinking
This course will introduce the definition of sustainability and the study of systems. Students will begin their journey of lifelong learning and the disciplines that enable them to integrate systems thinking principles and practices into their studies. Students will be using a very specific framework to promote the study of systems using various case studies and examples.
Winter Semester
SUST 251
Sustainability & Modelling
This focuses on techniques and tools that will help influence Operational, Closed-Loop and Non-Linear Thinking. Model Construction will highlight the steps required to fully describe, analyze and evaluate a system.
SUST 261 Building and Sustaining Innovative Organizations
This course provides core innovation strategies on how to create unique value for consumers by delivering sustainable innovative products and services that shape consumer behavior. Students will learn the four pillars of a successful product or service strategy: The Who, What, Where and How.
SUST 271 Building Community
This course is designed to build the skills required to be effective community participants. It will reinforce and analyze ideas from inception (the dream), to carefully constructing the idea (repairing the world) and finally to validate with reflection (what will make the world a better place!)
SUST 281 Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility
This course provides an overview of the response to the challenges of the modern world. Students learns how sustainability is a comprehensive approach to management of organizations which is focused on creating and maximizing long-term economic, social and environmental value.
SUST 291 Sustainability by Design
This course provides an overview of the interactions between human and urban systems. Students will apply behavioral and sociological fundamentals using examples of sustainable community designs.


Fall Semester
SUST 301 Design Thinking
This course introduces topics that influence engineering design and development such as: Industrial Ecology, Life-Cycle Analysis, the Built Environment, and the challenges and Opportunities for Sustainability in Practice. This course explores how design thinking can lend new perspectives on challenges and problems in society. Students will develop skills as creative problem solvers who combine rigorous research with narrative, visual data and other knowledge forms to generate sustainable strategies.
GLGY 211 Principles of Geoscience (Science Major)
Composition and internal structure of the Earth; surface processes; internal processes and global tectonics; rocks and minerals, topographic and geologic maps.
SUST 311 Strategic Management and Innovation
This course explores the evolving world of business strategy, focusing on the increasingly important roles of design, end-user experience, and innovation in shaping competitive advantage. Students will learn about concepts such as goal setting, value creation, global integration, ethics and corporate social responsibility, diversification, and the triple bottom line in the context of new business realities.
SUST 321 Managing Innovation Initiatives
This course builds on research supports that general ideas to students to develop a perspective on managing innovation initiatives to achieve a strategic intent. Students will investigate the particulars of managing innovation when disruptive technologies are involved. Other topics include leadership of new product development teams, planning and evaluation of innovation initiatives, and management of innovation across organizational boundaries.
MKTG 241 Sustainable Marketing (Business Major)
This course provides an introductory look at the concepts and activities involved in the marketing of goods and services. Central to the course is understanding the marketing mix variables of product, pricing, promotion, and distribution and their relation to sustainable innovation. Other topics include consumer behavior, marketing research, and the strategic marketing process.
CPSC 251 Data Modelling (Science Major)
Explore the conceptual, logical, and physical phases of data modeling. Find out where data modeling is applied in the system development process and how data elements relate to each other. Learn how to define data requirements using a logical data model. Participation in team projects and case simulations will provide opportunities to model sample data and produce normalized data results. Try out two approaches to building logical data models and learn how to validate a logical data model, using normalization.
FINA 261 Principles of Sustainable Finance (Business Major)
This course explains the principles of Sustainable Finance and how it can be used as a tool to steer the sustainability transition. Students will learn about sustainable banking and asset management, about effective engagement, sustainable scenario analysis and long-term value creation.
Winter Semester
PHYS 201 How Things Work (Science Major)
Physics behind many common devices will be discussed. Topics will be chosen from among the following: the use of simple and compound machines; waves, sound, acoustics; light and optics; household electric circuitry; magnetism.
GEOG 291 Ecosystems and Environmental Change (Science Major)
This course introduces the rapidly advancing fields of ecosystem science through the exploration of how ecosystems respond to climate change, pollution and intensive natural resource management. The impacts from anthropogenic stressors on ecosystem functioning are often complex, with interactions occurring among plants, microorganisms and physical and chemical environments. Empirical and modelling approaches are explored as they allow us to understand and predict ecosystem functioning and the linkages and feedbacks with changing environments. Lecture topics and case studies focus primarily on important representative Canadian ecosystems that also play vital roles in the resource sector including forests, agricultural land, wetlands and aquatic ecosystems.
MGMT 381 Sustainable Operations (Business Major)
This course explores the foundations of operations management in the context of sustainability. It will provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the core concepts in the field of operations management while integrating emergent, business, social and environmental issues. Students will explore different core concepts as eco-efficiently, supply chain management, quality and process improvement, and lean systems. Concepts such as eco-efficiency, sustainable supply chain management, environmental management systems, and how Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) can make a significant contribution towards sustainability.
SUST 351 Innovation and Strategic Implementation
This course provides a greater understanding and the skills to think more strategically and gain new perspectives regarding how to look for innovative ways to change the status quo and to improve and grow an organization. Students will explore strategies for sustaining innovation in organizations.
SUST 391 Sustainable Innovation Project
This course provides students with an opportunity to synthesize and apply learning from the taught concepts of the program to a project of their choosing. There is scope within this module for students to undertake a broad range of sustainable innovation in business or science project types, including consultancy, case study, business analysis, business development, or academic study.
MGMT 371 Sustainable Innovation and Entrepreneurship (Business Major)
Thinking innovation and developing a sustainable entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial mindset are critical to thriving in every business environment. This course explores how to identify and capitalize on opportunities and how innovation is needed in organizations.
BIOL 223 Humans & the Environment (Science Major)
Intensive exposure to current issues and solutions in contemporary human interactions with the environment. Global in scope but focused on case histories. Emphasis on providing biological and sociological background for a given major environment-human interaction, and state-of-the-art suggested solutions.
MGMT 391 Global Sustainable Business (Business Major)
This course prepares students for the global challenges that businesses face in the 21st century. The global marketplace now and in the future spans emerging markets, a world connected though technology. It also covers the role of business in addressing global challenges such as poverty and the environment and how to pursue opportunities and confront challenges at an international level.
Spring Semester
SUST 399 Sustainable Innovation Work Integrated Learning
This experiential learning experience will integrate all the courses concepts within it. It will involve analysis of a situation concerning a new enterprise – a venture of one’s own or within a larger organization – to develop the current business model and compare against alternative business models to identify potential opportunities and challenges.


Business Majors

  • Research and Development Coordinator
  • Marketing and Innovation Project Coordinator
  • Product and Market Innovation Specialist
  • Innovation Coordinator
  • Sustainable Project Coordinator
  • Special Innovation Sustainable
  • Project Consultant
  • Sustainable Business Practices Specialist
  • Innovation Project Lead
  • Sustainable Development Coordinator
  • Supply Chain Coordinator
  • Sustainability Consultant
  • Innovation Consultant
  • Entrepreneur

Science Majors

  • Service Representative
  • Sustainable Construction Specialist
  • Maintenance Supervisor •Quality Control Inspector
  • Project Coordinator
  • Strategic Operations Analyst
  • Process Supervisor
  • Implementation Consultant
  • Special Projects Coordinator
  • Facilities Specialist
  • Research/ Evaluation Coordinator
  • Data Analyst and Modeler
  • Entrepreneur

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Many programs offered at Medicine Hat College qualify for transfer credits to other institutions. In some cases, you must transfer to another institution to complete your program and gain your credential.

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Please consult the calendar or meet with an academic advisor for more information.

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