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Emphases

General Information

Effective September 1, 2022, the Rotman School will offer the option of emphases for currently enrolled students in the Full-Time MBA, Extended Full-Time MBA (Morning/Evening), and students in the combined MBA degree programs: JD/MBA, MGA/MBA, PharmD/MBA, MD/MBA, Skoll BASc/MBA.

A graduate emphasis is an identified set and sequence of courses that is completed on an optional basis in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the MBA degree.

Emphases will be noted on the student’s official University transcript and, as such, will be useful for signaling skills and knowledge to potential employers. They will also provide guidance to upper-year students on the courses that define a particular discipline, as well as a community of study for those students taking several courses together.

The new emphases will come into effect September 1, 2022, but elective courses taken prior may count towards them.

Majors and specializations are still valid for currently enrolled students but will be discontinued for cohorts beginning their program in Fall 2022 or later. Note that majors and specializations are not included on the University of Toronto transcript. For official documentation of a major or specialization, please contact the Registrar’s Office for a letter prior to graduation.

Current students may choose to pursue one or more emphases in addition to a major or specialization.

Declaration of one or more emphases will take place prior to graduation. Details about the declaration process will be available in Fall 2022.

The following emphases are offered:

Given that students need to select from a group of courses, and no specific courses are required, students will continue to select their courses via Course Match.

Note that access to all courses is dependent upon demand and available space (most elective courses have a maximum enrolment of 44 per section). Courses with fewer than 20 students may be cancelled due to low enrolment.

Please consult our FAQs for answers to your potential questions, and direct further enquiries to your Program Assistant (Full Time MBA) or Associate Director (Morning/Evening MBA).

Each emphasis will consist of a set of main and supplemental courses. Each emphasis requires students to complete 2.5 FCEs (full course equivalents), which typically translates to 5 Rotman elective courses (note that CDL Advanced is 1.0 FCE). A minimum number of courses are to be completed from the list of main courses (link to mapping chart).

Courses By Emphasis

Note that the list of courses for each emphasis may change between now and September 1. Please check the RO website for updates.

Data Analytics and Modeling

Complete five half courses (2.5 FCEs) with at least two half courses (1.0 FCE) from the list of main courses.

Finance

Complete five half courses (2.5 FCEs) with at least two half courses (1.0 FCE) from the list of main courses

Global Management

Complete five half courses (2.5 FCEs) with at least two half courses (1.0 FCE) from the list of main courses

Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Business Design

Complete five half courses (2.5 FCEs) with at least one-half course (0.5 FCE) from the list of main course

Leadership

Complete five half courses (2.5 FCEs) with at least two half courses (1.0 FCE) from the list of main courses

Marketing

Complete five half courses (2.5 FCEs) with at least two half courses (1.0 FCE) from the list of main courses

Strategy

Complete five half courses (2.5 FCEs) with at least two half courses (1.0 FCE) from the list of main courses

Sustainability and Society

Complete five half courses (2.5 FCEs) with at least one-half course (0.5 FCE) from the list of main courses

Emphases FAQs


What are emphases?

Emphases are the University’s designation for an identified set and sequence of courses within an area of disciplinary or interdisciplinary study and may be recorded on a student’s transcript and are a recognized program component.

What MBA programs do emphases apply to?

Rotman will offer the following emphases to students in the Full-Time and Extended Full-Time (Morning/Evening) MBA Programs. Students in Rotman combined degree programs (JD/MBA, MGA/MBA, PharmD/MBA, MD/MBA, Skoll BASc/MBA) are also eligible to complete emphases.

Are emphases mandatory?

No. Emphases are completely optional for students.

Students may undertake an emphasis if they believe that doing so will provide a signal to the job market. However, for many students, the MBA is a generalist degree and most of our students take a wide variety of courses as part of their program because they want to take the best classes for their growth and learning. In general, students should take courses that they believe are interesting, personally useful, thought-provoking, and broadening.

What are the differences between emphases and majors/specializations?

Majors and specializations are not officially documented, whereas emphases are indicated on a student’s official University of Toronto transcript. Students that complete a major or specialization can request that a letter be provided by the Registrar’s Office. As such the designation does not appear on the student’s transcript.

Many of the majors are associated with a specific career path whereas emphases are slightly broader, giving students more flexibility with their career path. This specificity may limit the student’s ability to find a position. For example, a student who completes a major in funds management but does not obtain such a position, may find that a more general finance designation would be useful. Some research does indicate that more narrowly defined candidates receive fewer offers and receive lower signing bonuses.

When will the majors/specializations be discontinued?

Effective September 1, 2022, majors/specializations will no longer be available for incoming cohorts in the Full-Time and Morning/Evening MBA programs. Emphases will replace them.

Can I still complete a major or specialization?

Yes. Currently enrolled students (anyone enrolled prior to September 1, 2022) may still opt to complete a major or specialization.

Is the list of courses by emphasis final?

The final approved list of courses will be the one posted as of September 1, 2022.

What are the benefits of having an emphasis noted on the transcript?

The notation of the transcript will be useful for signaling skills and knowledge to potential employers.

What are the additional benefits of having an emphasis?

In the past, students found it difficult to understand the 15 majors currently offered when entering the program. As Rotman partners with employers to provide access to our students, students can use the emphases to clarify what they consider their strengths when applying for jobs.

The emphases will also provide guidance to upper-year students on the courses that define a particular discipline. With over 90 electives on offer, the emphases, as divided by main and supplemental courses, will provide an indication of what is central to a particular study and which courses are associated with a discipline.

Lastly, the emphases, especially for those with fewer classes, will provide some community of study for the students in their upper year(s) as they are likely to take several classes with the same students. As such students will be able to form networks in which they can form study groups and complete team projects.

I’ll be graduating this year, either in June (2022) or November (2022); will I be able to select an emphasis?

Unfortunately, no, as emphases are effective starting September 1, 2022. You will be able to select a major (or specialization) once the specific requirements are met.

I’m a continuing student, graduating in 2023 (or later), will I be able to select an emphasis?

Yes, you will. Students continuing their FT or Morning/Evening MBA studies in Fall 2022 will be able to select one or more emphases in addition to a major or specialization.

Only emphases will be available to students starting their FT or Morning/Evening MBA program in Fall 2022. Majors and specializations will no longer be available to incoming cohorts.

What happens to elective courses I have taken prior to September 1, 2022? Will they count towards emphases?

While the new emphases will come into effect September 1, 2022, elective courses taken prior may count towards them. This applies to students continuing their studies in the FT or Morning/Evening MBA in Fall 2022.

How many emphases can I complete?

Because of double-listings, students can realistically complete two emphases within their program. For example, completion of two emphases may require only nine courses.

Will EXTra courses count towards emphases?

EXTra courses not required for the degree do not count towards fulfilling any degree requirements, including requirements towards fulfilling an emphasis.

An EXTra course is notated on a student’s academic history to indicate that the course taken was not required for the degree. If a course is intended to count towards an emphasis, or any part of the degree requirement, it cannot be marked EXTra.

Will courses while on exchange count towards emphases?

No. Courses listed under each emphasis have been approved by both Rotman’s MBA Program Committee and Rotman Council. They have also followed the normal university governance process.

Do I get priority for specific courses I want to take in my chosen emphasis?

No. Each emphasis will consist of a set of main and supplemental courses. Each emphasis requires students to complete 5 elective courses, equivalent to 2.5 FCEs (full course equivalents). A minimum number of courses are to be completed from the list of main courses.

Given that students need to select from a group of courses, and no specific courses are required, students will continue to select their courses via Course Match.

Note that access to all courses is dependent upon demand and available space (most elective courses have a maximum enrolment of 44 per section). Courses with fewer than 20 students may be cancelled due to low enrolment.

What happens if the list of courses changes by the time I declare my emphasis?

Courses may be added or removed from an emphasis from time to time only after going through the appropriate committee and governance approval channels. The initial official listing for courses in the emphases will be the one in effect on September 1, 2022. Courses taken prior to September 1, 2022 will count towards the emphases as given by that list.

Due to governance process, we are unable to accommodate individual requests to swap courses.

Students who started an emphasis under a prior list will still be able to complete it under the previous requirements listed.

How do I declare an emphasis?

Declaration of one or more emphases will take place prior to graduation. Details about the declaration process will be available in Fall 2022.

When will the notation appear on my transcript?

The notation will appear after graduation takes place. This notation, along with the “degree conferred” notation will show on the official transcript starting the day after the graduation ceremony takes place.

Last Updated: 2022-06-24 @ 10:48 am