Community Economic Development (GrDip)

Concordia University
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Why pursue a Graduate Diploma in Community Economic Development?

The need to develop effective social policies, programs and communities with the power to confront complex challenges has never been more urgent. As we continue to witness large-scale climate change, as well as political and economic crises worldwide, we require scholars and community sector professionals to reflect on how they can contribute to progressive change and lead projects that inspire civic engagement.

The Graduate Diploma in Community Economic Development provides you with an environment to investigate Quebec and Canada’s social and solidarity economy in a broader context. Our faculty members are actively involved in the community and social economy sector, allowing you to benefit from their scholarship and practical knowledge as you explore the evolution of community economic development, community organizing and different theories of economic change. In today’s context this includes the new and growing interest in social innovation as it generates uncharted paths for community based social and economic transformation.

Our diverse student body is comprised of community sector professionals and students with volunteer experience in a variety of organizations. Many courses in our curriculum are participatory and enriched by the collective experiences of our cohort.  Montreal’s own history of community-based activism and economic development will serve as a backdrop as you participate in a field project with a community organization.

Program Details

To be admitted into the program, applicants will generally be expected to have completed an undergraduate degree with a GPA of 2.70 and must be able to read, write, and express themselves in either English or French.

Each applicant's background, practical experience and learning goals will be fully considered. Applicants are required to submit a two-to-four page personal statement in which they outline their particular field(s) of interest, their strengths and weaknesses, what they expect or hope from their studies, how these expectations tie into their personal or professional goals, and what they expect to contribute to a better understanding of CED.

Proficiency in English. Applicants whose primary language is not English must demonstrate that their knowledge of English is sufficient to pursue graduate studies in their chosen field. Please refer to the Graduate Admission page for further information on the Language Proficiency requirements and exemptions.

To obtain the Graduate Diploma in CED, students will have to obtain a minimum of 30 course credits and a minimum GPA of 2.70. Courses offered by the program are divided between required core courses, open sessions, a project, as well as elective courses. A typical progression through the program takes one year (three semesters):

  • Fall Semester: three required courses (9 credits) and one open session (1 credit);
  • Winter Semester: two required courses (6 credits), first four months of the student’s project course (3 credits), and one open session (1 credit);
  • Summer Semester: two elective courses from the areas of concentration (6 credits)*, the last four months of the student’s project course (3 credits), and one open session (1 credit).

* Students may take either two courses (Part I and Part II) in a single area of concentration, or one course (Part I) in two areas of concentration, subject to available resources. (All Part II courses require successful completion of Part I in the same area of concentration).

  • Application form and Fee
  • Students applying without an undergraduate degree: Three Confidential Letters of Reference and Academic Assessment forms
  • Statement of Purpose should outline (2 to 4 pages):
  • your particular field(s) of interest
  • what you expect or hope from your studies within the program
  • how your expectations or hopes tie into your professional or personal goals
  • your strengths and weaknesses
  • Transcripts for all post-secondary institutions attended

Please apply online. Read the how-to guide for application procedures.

  • Introduction to Community Economic Development
  • Comparative Approaches and Models in CED
  • Fundamental Skills for CED Practice
  • Community Organizing and CED
  • Social Enterprise Development and Social Entrepreneurship

Specialisation courses (3 credits) are offered as well (decided by the student cohort). The following courses have been offered in the past:

  • Financing CED Initiatives
  • Communications, Technology and CED
  • Feminist approaches to CED
  • Using the social media for community development purposes

Courses are dynamic, and include a variety of teaching methods: site visits, guest speakers, workshops, films, discussion of texts, group work, etc.

You will dedicate between 80 to 120 hours to a field project that addresses an aspect of community development. This field project can be based within your present work, new paid work or in a new or current volunteer context.

The project is an opportunity for you to address a specific challenge you are passionate about and which is also seen as important by the collaborating organization. You are responsible for defining, finding and negotiating your field project, with the support and assistance of our program. You will critically analyze your project and submit a written report that summarizes and evaluates your experience.

Examples of recent past field projects include students collaborating with groups on issues related to immigration, housing, urban agriculture, youth etc. Students are responsible for negotiating the tasks within the field placement with the organization based on organizational needs and student learning interests. Running a conference, providing training, facilitating workshops, supporting inter-organizational collaborations, doing research are examples of tasks that students have taken on as part of their field placement.

The Graduate Diploma in Community Economic Development is structured to enable practitioners to continue work while studying.

  • Offers all courses during one extended weekend a month (all day Friday, all day Saturday and all day Sunday once a month, as well as a Thursday afternoon every once per term)
  • Includes a practical project related to a participant’s work or volunteer activity
  • Alternates annually between English (starting in fall of even years) and French (starting in fall of odd years)
  • On a full-time basis, takes one year to complete over three consecutive semesters: Fall, Winter and Summer. As the functional language of courses will be different in the following year, a strong motivation usually exists to complete the Program within its framework of three consecutive terms
  • On a half-time basis, takes two years to complete: two consecutive years if a participant can take courses in both English and French or two non-consecutive years if a participant can take courses in only one language

A Graduate Diploma in Community Economic Development prepares you for careers in various community organizations, including anti-poverty, urban and housing development, women’s rights, and immigration. Many of our alumni have started their own social enterprises, like alternative daycares, laundromats, consumer cooperatives, cafés, as well as the importation and sale of equitable fruits to major distributors. Other career opportunities are available in government and local community economic development agencies, health clinics, education, and unions.

Important information about admissions

Please be advised that Concordia University does not process admissions or fee payments through third parties for our degree programs. All applicants are advised to ensure that they are communicating directly with the university for admissions and fee payments.

Key resources

Related ProgramsMontreal, Quebec, CanadaMontreal, Quebec, Canada

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Montréal , Canada