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Victoria, Canada - University of Victoria, Human and Social Development – Master of Arts in Community Development (MACD)

Program Focus

Today, our society is grappling with unprecedented challenges in the face of increasing income disparity, declining government support for essential services such as affordable housing, food security, arts and culture, environmental protection, and support for the most vulnerable in our communities. Increasingly, the social economy and civil society are on the front lines in the attempt to address these issues, and in the lead in the promotion for community-based models for social and economic justice. Social economy organizations of all kinds need strong and resourceful leaders like never before.

Designed with working professionals in mind, the Master of Arts in Community Development (MACD) will build and develop your capacity to become a successful leader in the civil society and social economy, whether you work or volunteer in non-profit, co-operative or community economic development organizations either locally or internationally. Throughout the program, you will apply new skills and knowledge to an ongoing research project for a client in the community development sector.

The program’s unique focus on the application of learning outcomes means that graduates:

* have a comprehensive and systematic understanding of the historical and political underpinnings, key concepts, and spheres of practice embedded in the social economy and civil society.

* are better equipped to lead transformative change efforts.

* build and manage effective projects, organizations, enterprises and networks.

* demonstrate initiative, leadership, and originality in identifying challenges and opportunities for their organizations and the broader social economy.

* understand key global trends, challenges, threats and opportunities communities face and strategies to address them.

* are able to engage a community-based approach to social change and social justice.

Program Overview

The MACD is a program designed for the practicing professional. It is based at the University of Victoria and delivered through a combination of online and residential courses. Each of the two residential workshops is held in the summer terms. The program starts in May and courses are offered year round.

The program has been developed in collaboration with practitioners from the community with experience in leading community-based organizations. It seeks to build skills and knowledge in three ways: developing perspective on the broad challenges and trends; understanding how organizations and communities work; and building personal leaderships skills to work with diverse teams, organizations and networks.

In taking the MACD program, you will:

Interact with a variety of students from various organizations within the community sectors as well as public and private ones;

Be facilitated by instructors drawn from the university and community-based organizations;

Engage in coursework with a mix of theory, models and methodologies;

Develop practical problem-solving skills and knowledge as they relate to leadership, management, and economic and social change;

Learn through a blended curriculum with face-to-face and online discussions and material; and

Address the strategic challenges in your organizations and communities by providing practical advice and solutions throughout the program.

In addition to course-based projects, you will also have the opportunity to apply new skills and knowledge to an ongoing significant research project involving current challenges facing a community-based organization. This Master’s Project involves a report and presentation to the client organization.

The MACD program addresses distinct approaches to community leadership and change. Each approach seeks to create social and economic change and relies on diverse resources and partnerships that are rooted in values of empowerment, cooperation and inclusion.

The program is delivered in collaboration with practitioners and scholars from across the University of Victoria, including the Faculties of Human and Social Development, Business, Social Sciences, Humanities, and Education, as well as research units such as the Office of Community-Based Research, and the Centre for Cooperative and Community Based Economy. It also values participation from the Canadian Centre for Community Renewal, the BC–Alberta Research Alliance on the Social Economy, British Columbia Co-operative Association and The Centre for Non Profit Management and other community based organizations.


Any questions or inquiries regarding entry into the Master of Arts in Community Development (MACD) should be addressed to the program’s Administrative Assistant.


Program Director:Evert Lindquist