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Minor in Innovation

Develop skills to create your own start-up, or gain the entrepreneurial expertise to drive innovation within a company. 

Offered jointly by the Faculty of Engineering and the DeGroote School of Business, the Minor in Innovation is designed to give students the tools they need to succeed in today's fast-paced, innovation-driven marketplace. The minor is open to all McMaster University students.

Why the Innovation Minor?

  • The only program to offer the minor as a collaborative venture between Business and Engineering.
  • Direct partnership with The Forge - McMaster and Hamilton's start-up incubator.
  • Ability to work directly with entrepreneurs and start-up companies, and develop your own start-up venture by working with The Forge.
  • Open to all students at McMaster University, regardless if you have any prior business or engineering course experience.
  • Course options are varied, and wide ranging, to help students develop a broad range of marketable skills.
  • Students have the ability to customize their program to their interests.


Developed between the Faculty of Engineering, the DeGroote School of Business, and the Forge Startup Incubator, the Minor in Innovation encourages creative problem solving, leadership, and an entrepreneurial mindset.  

The Innovation Minor is available to all students at McMaster University; it is not limited to students in the Faculty of Engineering or the Degroote School of Business.

The Innovation Minor is a new program, launched in the fall of 2018, and rolled out over the course of 3 academic years. Courses will be available as students progress through the minor. Visit the Academic Calendar for a full list of available courses.

INNOVATE 2Z03 - Sprint Methodologies

Rapid prototyping, testing and iteration of ideas with customers using design sprint methodologies. Students will also learn about agile development and pathways from idea to market.

INNOVATE 3X03 - Persuasion, Pitching Skills and Marketing

In both individual and group settings, students will explore the theoretical and practical aspects of how to persuasively market and sell their ideas, their vision and their products to target audiences.

INNOVATE 3Z03 - From Founder to CEO

Students will learn how a start-up founder transitions into becoming a CEO to properly manage and grow the company, effectively manage Human Resources and work with a Board of Directors.

INNOVATE 3ZZ3 - Imagining and Navigating the Future

This ambitious interdisciplinary course provides a platform for students to develop the strategic foresight, planning and leadership skills needed to imagine and shape the future. Students will analyze the systems, trends and uncertainties driving the future of such business and social domains as workplaces, healthcare systems, climate change, and financial markets. Students will also develop the skills needed to mobilize people and resources towards desired outcomes. In addition to team experiential learning projects, students will explore future directions on issues of personal interest.

INNOVATE 3EX3 - Experiential Learning in Innovation

This course will provide students an opportunity to gain direct experience working at an existing start-up company. Course credit will be evaluated based on the maintenance of a comprehensive learning portfolio.

INNOVATE 4EX6 A/B - Founders Startup

Working with The Forge, McMasters startup accelerator, students will form teams to develop a new startup venture. Through the application of lean startup and design sprint methodologies, students will rapidly test and iterate product-market fit with customers and refine their business models. Admission to the course will be based on a written application (one application per team) and a successful panel interview. At the end of the course, students will pitch their validated business models and evidence for product-market fit to a panel of Forge entrepreneurs, advisers, and mentors for possible entry into The Forges Stage II program.

Steps to a Minor in Innovation

24 units are required to earn the Minor in Innovation. Students must complete all 6 units (2 courses) from INNOVATE 1X03 and INNOVATE 2X03; in addition to choosing 6-9 units (2-3 courses) from INNOVATE 2Z03, INNOVATE 3X03, and INNOVATE 3Z03; finally, students must complete 12 units (4 courses) from the approved list of entrepreneurial electives available under the Innovation Minor in the Academic Calendar.

Information about prerequisites, antirequisites, or other requirements to register for the innovation courses can be found in the Academic Calendar


McMaster Innovators

Stephen Elop

Stephen Elop

Tech Giant and Former CEO of Telstra

Computer Engineering & Management '86

Stephen Elop has contributed to innovative companies in senior management positions for decades; notably contributing to the advances made by Microsoft, Telstra, and Nokia through upper management positions.

Matthew Sheridan

Matthew Sheridan

CEO & Founder of Nix

Mechatronics Engineering & Management '12

Matthew Sheridan founded Nix to allow anyone to become a colour expert.  The patent-pending device reads real world colours and connects them to the exact colour on a user's phone.

Melissa Houghton

Melissa Houghton

CEO & Founder of Lumago Inc.

Walter G. Booth School for Engineering Entrepreneurship & Innovation '17

Lumago provides a customizable, expandable, and fully automated system which bridges the gap between current agricultural practices and emerging aquaponics technologies.  Lumago helps to ensure that North American vegetable growers can remain competitive against international competition.

Chris Buttenham

Chris Buttenham

CEO & Founder of

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Sociology '13

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