Concordia University

Human Systems Intervention MA

Admission Requirements

Candidates must have the following:

  1. At least two years of full-time work experience. Preference will be shown toward applicants who have work experience that is directly related to their learning goals in the program.

  2. Completion of a bachelor's degree with a minimum B average or a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.00.

  3. Successful completion of a one week residential Basic Human Interaction Laboratory and have written documentation from laboratory staff that they have competency in interpersonal interaction and facilitation.

  4. A clearly delineated career intention concerning the development of intervention expertise for a particular domain of professional practice.

  5. Be capable of undertaking all core courses of the first year in the scheduled sequence of the program.

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. 

The Graduate Program Director may require a demonstration of English language competencies for international students or students educated abroad.

Requirements for the Degree

  1. Credits. A fully-qualified candidate is required to complete a minimum of 45 credits. 42 credits will be in required coursework, including 15 credits of project work. The remaining 3 credits are to be completed within or outside the department. Courses that are taken to complete entrance requirements to the program may not be counted toward the program's 45 credits. In exceptional cases, students who produce evidence of successful performance (B grade or better) in compatible coursework at other institutions may be permitted transfer credit. A maximum of 9 credits in transfer courses will be permitted.

  2. Coursework. The program is divided into two sections of coursework, with Year I establishing the prerequisites for Year II. In addition, students will have a minimum of 3 credits of elective coursework to complete their degree requirements.

    Year I provides students with fundamental understanding and frames of reference regarding learning and change processes of persons and groups, steps in the intervention process, ethical principles, and research methods. These fundamental understandings are then deepened through application in practice-based courses of Year II. The Master's Project is intended to promote an integration of concepts and practical experience.

    Year I constitutes the first phase of the program. Year II and the Elective Coursework is more individually-tailored, and constitutes the second and subsequent years, when necessary.

    YEAR I: Total of Required Credits: Year I =18 credits.
    YEAR II: Total of Required Credits: Year II = 24 credits.

    Elective Coursework: Required credits from Years I and II comprise 42 of the 45 credits in this MA program. Students must complete an additional 3 credits of coursework to satisfy degree requirements. These three credits of coursework may be taken in Year I or Year II.

  3. Course substitution. Students may be exempted from certain courses on the basis of course work completed prior to entry into the program. A maximum of 9 credits of transfer credits will be permitted. These credits will be counted toward the required 45 credits in the program.

  4. Residential Laboratories. Students will be required to participate in two week-long residential laboratories for which expenses for accommodation, meals and program related fees will be the responsibility of the students.

Academic Regulations

  1. Course Load for Full-Time Students. The normal course load for full-time students will be a minimum of 18 credits per year. A student may not register for more than 27 credits per year without permission from the AHSC Graduate Program Director.

  2. Course Load for Part-Time Students. Students will only be admitted to the program on a full-time status for the first year. With explicit permission of the AHSC Graduate Committee, a student may continue on a part-time basis following the first year of study. Part-time status is defined as enroling in less than 8 credits per semester.

  3. Academic Standing. Please refer to the Academic Standing section of the Calendar for a detailed review of the Academic Regulations.  
    Program Specific Requirements. A minimum grade of B is required in each course.

  4. Residence. The minimum residence is one year (3 terms) of full-time study.

  5. Time Limit. Please refer to the Academic Regulation page for further details regarding the Time Limit requirements.

  6. Graduation Requirement. In order to graduate, students must have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.70.


Core Courses

AHSC 610 Group Process Intervention (3 credits)
This course is oriented to the theory and practice of intervention in small groups. The course involves participation in a small group laboratory through which students’ experiences are integrated with conceptual frameworks, including theories of group development and leadership. Ethical issues in group processes will be considered.

AHSC 620 Learning and Individual Change Processes (3 credits)
This course will examine research and theory of individual learning and change which involves cognitive, affective and behavioural components. Intervention with an emphasis on a normative re-educative approach to facilitating learning and change will be emphasized. Illustrative intervention cases will be examined to identify essential qualities, underlying assumptions about learning and change in the context of human systems, and implications for the role of the intervener.

AHSC 631 Research Methods (3 credits)
This course examines research methods involved in action research and other applied field perspectives. Methods applicable at all stages of the research process include the literature review, defining the purpose of study, design of quantitative and qualitative research tools, data gathering, qualitative and quantitative data analysis, and reporting and communicating research results and recommendations.
Note: Students who have received credit for AHSC 630 may not take this course for credit.

AHSC 632 Planning Human Systems Intervention (3 credits)
This course examines the design and implementation of intervention programs from a systems perspective based on organizational theories, needs assessment, theories of learning and change, and group processes. It builds on basic concepts of organizational dynamics and effective human systems. Emphasis is on understanding organizational and group processes, development of planning skills, and making strategic choices. Interventions are framed in the context of collaborative action research with participant involvement at all stages including problem analysis and definition, generating and selection intervention strategies, action planning, implementation, and project evaluation.
Note: Students who have received credit for AHSC 630 may not take this course for credit.

AHSC 660 Philosophy and Ethics of Intervention (3 credits)
This course will review the philosophical underpinnings of intervention in human systems with an emphasis on a normative re-educative approach. It will address core values and ethics imbedded in change efforts, as well as examining the philosophical roots of different traditions of change methodology. It will consider the philosophical implications of change agents functioning as consultants rather than experts and as process rather than content specialists. It will consider ethical and philosophical aspects of power, strategy, and conflict, among other issues associated with intervention.

AHSC 670 Consultation Methods (3 credits)
The course will examine current models of consultation. It will enable students to establish effective client-consultant relationships based on collaborative approaches to entry, diagnosis, planning, and implementation. Ethical concerns for consultation will be integrated with discussions of methodology. Through observation and analysis of student-designed interventions, the course will provide experience-based learning and feedback. Special attention will be given to considerations of power, conflict, decision-making, negotiation, problem-solving, planning, and strategy.

AHSC 680 Facilitating Individual and Group Learning Processes (6 credits)
Prerequisite: Completion of Year I coursework (AHSC 610, 620, 631, 632, 660, 670).
This course will focus on interventions at the individual and group levels. Client-centred models of working in groups to achieve learning and task objectives will be reviewed. Issues of design, planning, and implementation of learning programs for individuals and groups, including attention to power, problem-solving, decision-making and conflict management will be examined in a laboratory setting where students will plan and conduct a group learning program under supervision.

AHSC 685 Coaching Interventions and Processes (3 credits)
This course develops professional understanding of theories and methodologies relevant to individual coaching processes in the functioning of groups, organizations and communities. Emphasis is placed on the development of competencies in executive, managerial and employee coaching. Course content encompasses phases of the coaching process, communication methodologies, obstacles and barriers to change, individual change models, strategic individual interventions, dealing with resistance, philosophy and ethics of coaching, and coaching structures. Practical components are integrated into the course.

Elective Courses

AHSC 675 Introduction to Open Systems Theory (3 credits)
This course introduces the socio-ecological version of open systems theory (OST) and practice with a particular focus on the Search Conference, the Participative Design Workshop, and Unique Designs. OST was developed to promote and create change toward a world that is consciously designed by people, and for people, living harmoniously within their ecological systems, both physical and social. Students learn how to design and implement interventions in organizations, communities and larger social systems.
Note: Students who have received credit for this course under an AHSC 681 number may not take this course for credit.

AHSC 681 Special Topics (3 credits)
Topical seminars will be offered to provide perspectives about current intervention themes. These may complement students’ programs, but will not constitute part of the required curriculum. Examples include: emerging trends in organizational development; strategic planning models; the use of self as an instrument of change; intercultural issues in intervention; appreciative inquiry; complexity theory.

AHSC 682 Special Topics (6 credits)
Same as AHSC 681 when a second special topic is offered in the same term.

AHSC 695 Independent Study I (3 credits)
Students may pursue studies in areas of specialized professional interest related to the graduate program or as a means of strengthening understanding of the core areas of the graduate program.

AHSC 696 Independent Study II (3 credits)
Students may pursue a second area of specialized professional interest related to the graduate program or further develop understanding in the core areas of the graduate program.


AHSC 698 Master’s Project (15 credits)
Prerequisite: Completion of AHSC 680.
Students must demonstrate their ability to conduct a complete intervention to effect change in a human system as the principal consultant in a collaborative relationship with a client representing that system. The project includes contracting with the client, gathering and analyzing data, implementing relevant intervention activities, and evaluating the intervention as well as their role.

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