MA in Community Development

Astrid Perez Pinan gives a lecture in front of people seated at orientation
Astrid Perez Pinan describing one of the courses she teaches for the MACD program. Credit: UVic Photo Services

The Master of Arts in Community Development (MACD) is designed to strengthen and develop your capacity to become a successful leader in the civil society and social economy, whether you work or volunteer in the nonprofit sector either locally or internationally. Throughout the program, you will apply new skills and knowledge to an ongoing research project in the field of community development.

Program outcomes

The program's unique focus on the application of learning outcomes means that you will graduate:

  • with 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.
  • equipped to lead transformative change efforts.
  • able to build and manage effective projects, organizations, enterprises and networks.
  • able to demonstrate initiative, leadership, and originality in identifying challenges and opportunities for organizations and the broader social economy.
  • able to understand key global trends, challenges, threats and opportunities communities face and strategies to address them.
  • able to engage in a community-based approach to social change and social justice.

Program synopsis

The program is delivered through online courses with on campus residencies of 1-2 weeks in each of the first three years. The program starts in May and courses are offered year round. Each of the on campus residencies is held in the summer term, and the program can be completed in just over two years.

The program has been developed in collaboration with practitioners from the community with experience in leading community-based organizations. As a student in the program, you will build skills and knowledge by: 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 Thesis 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.

Degree Requirements

The program consists of 16.5 units of study, including 4.5 units for the Master's Project (CD 596/598) or 6.0 units for the Thesis (599). In addition to online course work, students are required to attend a summer residency workshop in the first term and a summer residency workshop in the fourth and seventh terms. The remaining courses are completed through online study only.

Given the cohort-based and cumulative nature of the MACD program students are strongly encouraged to complete each term successfully before proceeding further through the program.

  • Core Courses (6):
  • Elective Courses (2): two from (space permitting)
    • CD 506, 509, 518, 522590 
    • Courses from other School of Public Administration offerings:
      • ADMN 523 (with appropriate topic), 544, 547, 548, 577;
      • other ADMN graduate level courses (Note: first preference may be given to students in MPA programs)
      • or appropriate electives from other UVic graduate programs, with permission of the instructor of those courses and the SPA Graduate Adviser.
    • 400-level ADMN undergraduate courses (ADMN) offered by the School of Public Administration, including:
  • Final Requirement: Beginning during the third (spring) term, students will begin work on a Master's Project (CD 596/598) or Thesis (599) addressing a management, policy or program problem for a client in the community development sector.

Program requirements for students admitted up to and including May 2019 will remain as detailed in the calendar that was in effect at the time of their admission.

Degree awarded: Master of Arts

Academic year one

Term 1 (May to August) online and on campus

Term 2 (September to December) online

Term 3 (January to April) online

Academic year two

Term 4 (May to August) online and on campus

Term 5 (September to December) online

Term 6 (January to April) online

Final academic term

Term 7 (May to August) online and on campus

Students in the MACD program can also complete a Graduate Certificate in Evaluation program concurrently with their graduate degree! Students will be charged a one-time fee upon admission to the concurrent Graduate Certificate program and can count evaluation courses as their two electives in the MACD program. BEFORE applying, please contact

The current one-time Graduate Certificate fee for concurrent students is:
• $831.16 (domestic students)
• $1050.96 (international students)
Please note: Tuition Fees are updated annually. If students do not complete concurrent program requirements according to the recommended schedule, this may result in additional fees.


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Course delivery is both online and on campus.

  • Next entry: May 2024
  • Next application due: November 15, 2023
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