Four new graduate programs have been added to U of T’s list of academic offerings following a unanimous vote of the Committee on Academic Policy and Programs on May 12.

The decision also resulted in the closing of two undergraduate programs at UTM: the major program in Human Resources and Industrial Relations, and the specialist program in Human Resource Management. Admissions to these programs have already been suspended but will continue to run until currently enrolled students have completed their degrees.

“The University views program closure as a normal part of the academic programs lifecycle,” says Althea Blackburn-Evans, director for news and media relations at U of T. According to Blackburn-Evans, proposals for program additions and subtractions are considered in consultation with faculty, students, and other stakeholders.
“Decisions to propose new programs or close existing ones are made by the academic divisions based on priorities identified by academic units,” she adds.

When asked about the reasoning behind the closure of the two human resources programs, Blackburn-Evans said that it was due to the recent approval of a new human resource management and industrial relations stream, situated within the management specialist program.

The stream will admit its first cohort in September 2015.
“These changes also align more closely to UTM’s academic objectives of distinctive program offerings and experiential learning,” said Blackburn-Evans.

Ebi Agbeyegbe, president of the University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union (UTMSU), did not respond to requests for comment.


Graduate program additions


The new graduate programs include the professional degrees of Master of Financial Insurance, Master in Financial Risk Management, Master of Engineering program in Biomedical Engineering, and a diploma in Professional Accounting.

The Master of Financial Insurance was developed by the Department of Statistical Sciences in response to demand from the burgeoning insurance industry. The program has a mandatory summer internship component intended to get graduates immediately into the workplace.

At the meeting, Professor James Stafford, Chair of the Department of Statistical Sciences, said that he was extremely proud of the proposal, adding that, “We really see this program as being a winning program.”

The Master of Financial Risk Management will be the only masters-level program specializing in financial risk management in Ontario and was developed by the Rotman School of Management, again, as in the case of the Master of Financial Insurance, in an effort to prepare students entering an emerging field.

“We have consulted widely with the financial industry here in Toronto and have sensed a lot of enthusiasm for the program,” said Rotman professor of finance, Peter Christoffersen. “I feel very confident we’ll get lots of students applying for the program.”

The Master of Engineering in Biomedical Engineering was developed by the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering in response to the growing demand for biomedical devices.

The committee moved unanimously to recommend the new degree. The proposed additions will be brought before the Academic Board, the Executive Committee, the Ontario Universities Council on Quality Assurance and the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities before they can take effect. The degree programs are expected to begin in September 2016.

The Graduate Diploma in Professional Accounting was established in response to the Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario’s increasing emphasis on graduate education and will begin in May 2016. Unlike degrees, diplomas do not need approval beyond the committee.

The diploma program is 12 weeks long and will be offered exclusively in the summer. It is intended for U of T undergraduate students who are seeking the Canadian Chartered Professional Accountant designation.