The Social Economy

In the Social Economy stream, students examine a wide variety of business forms which share a common characteristic of being guided not primarily by profits but by a social purpose. While there are many different ways to define the social economy, this sector is generally understood to include co-operatives, non-profit businesses, not-for-profit firms, along with social enterprises and social entrepreneurs.

In examining these forms of business, students will focus not only on operations at the level of the firm, but also the relationships among such firms. Such relationships include traditional community economic development organizations, efforts to form co-operative groups, alternative and fair trade networks as well as alternative and endogenous development models.


6.0 credits chosen from:

→ AP/SOSC 1341 9.0 Introduction to The Social Economy

[6.0 credits towards stream; 3.0credits towards electives] [Note: This course has been approved in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies for general education credit.] [PRIOR TO FALL 2009: Course credit exclusion: AS/SOSC 1341 9.0.]
This course introduces students to the social economy (including co-operatives, credit unions, worker-owned firms, non-profit social service organizations, etc.). It investigates the history of the social economy and its potential contributions to local, regional and international socio- economic development.


→ AP/SOSC 3041 6.0 The Social Economy and Alt. Development

[Open to: Business and Society majors in the Social Economy stream.] [Not open to: Non-BUSO majors, BUSO majors not taking the social economy stream, except by permission.] [Pre-Req. Sosc 1341]
The course examines alternative business and economic structures to those of the private corporation in the contemporary world. Particular attention is paid to cooperatives and worker-owned firms and their impact not just on those who work in such organizations but also on the wider economic environment in which they operate.

→ For the Honours program: 6.0 credits chosen from:

AP/SOSC 4046 6.0 Social Economy Practicum

This course is designed primarily for students in the Social Economy stream of the Business & Society program. It involves students being assigned to an unpaid work placement for a social economy organization in the Greater Toronto Area. Prerequisite: AP/SOSC 3041 6.0. Course credit exclusions: None. Open to: BUSO majors in Social Economy Stream (and other BUSO students with permission).