Concordia University

Community Economic Development (CED) Graduate Diploma

Admission Requirements

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.

Requirements for the Diploma

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).

Academic Regulations

  1. Academic Standing. Please refer to the Academic Standing section of the Calendar for a detailed review of the Academic Regulations.

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

  3. Graduation Requirement. To graduate, students must have completed all course requirements with a cumulative GPA of at least 2.70.

Language of Courses

Students are required to have an excellent knowledge of written and spoken English or French. This program alternates annually between English (years 2010, 2012...) and French (years 2011, 2013...). Students must be able to express themselves in the language in which courses are offered. They can submit written work in either language.


Required Core Courses

SCPA 501 Introduction to Community Economic Development (3 credits)
This course provides an overview of CED. It traces the historical and intellectual roots of CED as well as critically situates CED in the context of theories of community, local and regional development. Students are provided with basic tools of macro-economic analysis and policy evaluation as it relates to the practice of CED. This course focuses on the institutional environment in which CED initiatives operate to identify the potential and the limitations of local, community-based development strategies. Special focus is given to the perspectives of CED arising out of the feminist movement, cultural communities, Aboriginal communities, the popular sector and other social change movements.

SCPA 502 Comparative Approaches and Models in CED (3 credits)
This course focuses on the objectives of CED by examining the various strategies and diversity of models of CED practices in Quebec, as well as many found elsewhere in Canada, the United States, in Europe and in southern hemispheric countries. The differences in organizational structures and empowerment processes, as well as their social, cultural and economic context is studied and evaluated, mainly through case studies of selected communities.

SCPA 503 Fundamental Skills for CED Practice (3 credits)
This course focuses on helping students acquire a working knowledge of the practical skills required for building community economic capacity. This includes developing tools to map the material, environmental and human resources within communities. This course assists students in designing socio-economic indicators and a framework for evaluation of CED initiatives and strategic planning. Students are encouraged to identify, as soon as possible, how the use of such skills can be incorporated into either a CED project or an internship within a CED initiative.

SCPA 504 Community Organizing and CED (3 credits)
This course focuses on helping students acquire a working knowledge of the practical skills required in community organizing and capacity building for individual and community empowerment within a CED context. The course explores the role of popular education in community mobilization and collective action, and delves into the strategies, tactics and techniques of community intervention.

SCPA 505 Social Enterprise Development and Social Entrepreneurship (3 credits)
This course provides a framework for business development within a CED perspective. Basic tools for enterprise development, including comprehensive business planning, data evaluation, financial analysis, and forecasting are to be integrated into a social and ethical framework to maintain the democratic objectives of CED. Students develop skills in evaluating a successful commercial venture within the context of these larger objectives.


SCPA 510 CED Field Project - Part I (3 credits)
SCPA 510 structures the Field Project. It introduces students to tools that can be used to design and implement their projects. During this course, students begin to implement their plan with the host organization. Assignments are based on the integration of the tools with the work undertaken in the field project.
Note: This course is part of the requirement that students complete a two-semester field project in some aspect of community economic development. This project is selected and negotiated by the student with a community organization and addresses a particular challenge raised within this setting.

SCPA 511 CED Field Project - Part II (3 credits)
Prerequisite: SCPA 510.
Students continue their field project for a second term within the framework of this course. They build on the practice of the previous term and advance it to reach the objectives established with their host organization. This course aims to strengthen the student’s skills in the critical evaluation of practice. Students examine their practice and the reasons for its success, as well as examine strategies for overcoming the barriers they faced. This course offers a framework for the final written report required of students, to be both shared with their host organizations and submitted for the course.

Areas of Concentration: Elective Courses

Areas of concentration are identified according to CED practices in order to help students choose elective courses relevant to their fields of professional specialization or of personal interest. Students will have indicated their priority areas of concentration on their application for admission form.

Up to five areas of concentration are offered, resources permitting, in a given year. The areas are: financing CED initiatives; housing, land use, and urban planning from a CED perspective; communications, technology and CED; international development and CED; Aboriginal CED.
Courses corresponding to these areas of concentration are the following:

SCPA 508 Financing CED Initiatives: Part I (3 credits)
This course examines the roles which can be played by both traditional (banks) and non-traditional (community loan funds) financial institutions in supporting CED initiatives. Special emphasis is placed on exploring alternative financial CED structures. Skills are developed to understand and generate financial planning, as well as investment decisions in traditional and non-traditional enterprises.

SCPA 509 Financing CED Initiatives: Part II (3 credits)
Prerequisite: SCPA 508.
This course uses a case study approach to critically examine and evaluate existing alternative CED initiatives in Canada and the US. This may include on site visits, interviews and occasional guest lecturers.

SCPA 515 Housing and Land Use from a CED Perspective: Part I (3 credits)
This course examines the institutional, economic, political, and environmental factors which affect land policy, and the development of affordable housing. It identifies public and private financial sources and various forms of ownership models including community land trusts and housing cooperatives, among others. Among the skills developed are those related to market analysis and housing needs assessment, site selection and control, and preparing housing projects.

SCPA 516 Housing and Land Use from a CED Perspective: Part II (3 credits)
Prerequisite: SCPA 515.
This course uses a case study approach to critically examine and evaluate existing housing projects, affordable housing and land policy based on a selection of experiences in the U.S. and in Canada. This may include on site visits, interviews and occasional guest lecturers.

SCPA 522 Communications, Technology and CED: Part I (3 credits)
This course explores issues related to information management, analysis and dissemination using different vehicles available including mass media, the Internet, and other new technologies as they emerge. Basic computer literacy is required.

SCPA 523 Communications, Technology and CED: Part II (3 credits)
Prerequisite: SCPA 522.
This course equips practitioners with skills required to share and diffuse CED practices across communities that work in isolation and helps to develop the skills required for communities to use the new technologies and resources necessary for development purposes.

SCPA 529 International Development and CED: Part I (3 credits)
This course explores community-based economic development approaches in countries of the South within their socio-political and historical context. Many economic initiatives in the North have borrowed from these experiences. The course explores the advantages and disadvantages of importing and exporting development models and practices and equips the students with the skills to evaluate the appropriateness of CED models and how to adapt the models, wherever required.

SCPA 530 International Development and CED: Part II (3 credits)
Prerequisite: SCPA 529.
This course explores existing North/South networking and collaboration by identifying non-governmental organizations, community groups and social movements which are working together to develop CED strategies in their respective countries. Discussion is encouraged through class seminars and occasional guest lectures.

SCPA 536 Aboriginal CED: Part I (3 credits)
This course assists participants in exploring specific issues related to Aboriginal community economic development in particular settings (on reserve, urban, rural and northern communities), and addresses challenges common to Aboriginal CED. The course assists participants in exploring historical and contemporary relationships between Aboriginal communities and the predominant cultural and economic forces, and compares traditional Aboriginal organizing and economic practices with the new approaches being proposed by CED.

SCPA 537 Aboriginal CED: Part II (3 credits)
Prerequisite: SCPA 536.
This course uses a case study approach to evaluate one or more community economic development strategies applied within an Aboriginal community. A historical overview of this experience outlines the cultural and political context which has shaped these strategies as well as their results. CED approaches are examined in the context of this individual experience. This course may include on site visits and guest lecturers.

Open Sessions

SCPA 543 A-Z Open Sessions (1 credit each)
The themes and content of the various open sessions are determined at the beginning of each academic year. Three open sessions are offered every year (1 credit each for a total of 3 credits). Possible topics may include: feminist approaches to CED, lobbying decision-making bodies, consensus management, coalition-building, and using the internet for community development purposes - as well as topics related to current events.

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