Master of Arts in Community Engagement

— Graduate degree program


The Master of Arts in Community Engagement (MACE) is an interdisciplinary, thesis-based degree program that offers students an opportunity to develop an understanding of the field of community engagement and the practices and processes that inform it. 

In this program, you will undertake an in-depth examination of the conceptual and philosophical underpinnings of community engagement, as well as learn about research and engagement methodologies. You will also gain practical experience working with community, as you complete your own thesis research project with the support and guidance of academic experts.

Program at a Glance

Program structure

7 courses and a thesis.

Location & Format

Classes held in downtown Edmonton at Enterprise Square


Oct 1–Jan 15 for Fall intake.

Questions? Call 780-492-1538 for appointment with our advisor.


This thesis-based program is offered to full-time and part-time students interested in the study and practice of community engagement in a variety of settings.


I liked the freedom to decide what I wanted to do with my project for MACE and that I was able to take a course in Indigenous research methodologies out of the Faculty of Education. It allowed me to look at different research methods and different ways of doing research, which was encouraged. I also enjoyed that the conversations within the scholarship of engagement are focused around community, community members, and doing research outside of the academic institution. This aligned with the work I was and am still doing with the Métis settlements, so I was getting practical experience while also learning.”
Becca Shortt, graduate student, MACE
   Learning the art of community engagement  an interview with Becca Shortt

Graduate Activity Highlights

  • Feb. 2019 − MACE student examines the role of support networks in the lives of informal caregivers looking after people with dementia.

    Working with her Faculty of Extension supervisor, Kyle Whitfield, Lightfoot decided to examine what is the role of support networks in the lives of informal caregivers (often family members) who look after people with dementia. She asked informal caregivers how they view support and what factors influence the role of support networks.

    Full article

  • Feb. 2019 − MACE Student Receives Indigenous Graduate Award

    Congratulations to Lori Sokoluk, a current Master of Arts in Community Engagement student, on receiving an Indigenous Graduate Award. This award from the Government of Alberta is presented to Indigenous (First Nations, Métis and Inuit) Albertans who pursue graduate studies, and is based on academic achievement, academic potential and involvement in the Indigenous community.

    As an urban Indigenous and Métis person, Lori is familiar with the challenges facing Indigenous people. With over 20 years of experience she has spent her academic and professional career working to make a positive contribution to the urban Indigenous community. Her research interest is focused on exploring how community engagement and community development approaches can support self-determination within the urban Indigenous community.

  • Sept. 2018 − MACE students awarded Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council's graduate scholarships

    Three MACE students (2018 cohort) have been awarded Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council's graduate scholarships:

    – Devon is working with LGBTQ youth to develop an awareness and assessment tool for service providers.

    – Emma is examining the organizational structure and engagement processes of End Poverty Edmonton.

    – Ashley is working with the City in the development of a climate change adaptation and resiliency strategy. Ashley was also selected to be one of the City's sustainability scholars - positions offered to graduate students at the U of A in collaboration with the City.

Program Plan

The Master of Arts in Community Engagement (MACE) includes three core courses (MACE 501, MACE 502, and MACE 503), three graduate-level electives, a community experience practicum, and a written thesis based on the student’s original research project. 

Electives may be taken through any faculty; one of the electives must be a graduate-level course in research methods. Some potential electives are listed in our Student Handbook. For additional graduate level courses, consult the University of Alberta calendar, but discuss course selection with your advisor/supervisor prior to enrolment to be sure it aligns with your program. 

The practicum component of the program takes place through Community Service Learning Experience, a graduate-level course offered by the Faculty of Extension in partnership with UAlberta’s CSL.


3 core courses (MACE 501/502/503)
3 electives (any faculty)
Community experience practicum (MACE 560)
Research-based thesis

View course descriptions

Minimum admission requirements

  • Four-year degree from a recognized university.
  • Grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.0 (or equivalent) on a 4-point scale.
  • Where applicable, demonstrated English language proficiency (see details below).

English language proficiency

Where applicable, English language proficiency must be demonstrated through either of the following:

  • TOEFL: minimum score of 600 (paper-based) or total score of 100 with a score of at least 20 on each of the individual skill areas (internet-based).
  • MELAB: minimum score of 85.
  • IELTS (academic): minimum overall band score of 7.0, with at least 5.5 on each band.
  • CAEL: overall minimum score of 60, with at least 60 on each subtest.
  • PTE (academic): overall minimum score of 68.

Alternatively, students who have successfully completed the Faculty of Extension course EAP 550 will have met the minimum English language proficiency requirement for admission to graduate studies at the University of Alberta. More information about EAP 550.


  1. Prepare your supporting documents:
    • CV or resumé.
    • Sample of academic writing.
    • Transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended.
    • Three letters of reference (at least one from an academic referee).
    • A letter of intent in which you (a) specify how the completion of this program would support your professional and personal goals; (b) identify a provisional research topic; and (c) explain how your interests align with research being done by faculty members in the Faculty of Extension.
  2. Apply online:
    • Access the GSMS online admissions applications portal to complete the online application (between October 1 and January 15).
    • There is a $100 application fee assessed at the time your online application is submitted.

After you’ve completed your online application

If you receive an Official Admission Letter, you will be asked to request official transcripts (original document, front and back) and degree certificates (if applicable) to be sent from the relevant institution directly to the Faculty of Graduate Studies & Research.

Prior to review by the admission committee, you may be contacted by MACE staff to ensure that all required information has been included in your application. You may be asked to furnish other documentation, a new CV, or a revised letter of interest. These requests are made to help strengthen your application.

Tuition & fees

Information regarding tuition and fees can be found at University of Alberta > Graduate Studies > Thesis-based Program Fees.

Courses Offered


Registration for program courses is available through Bear Tracks – register at least two weeks prior to the course start date.

Classes are held at the University of Alberta’s Enterprise Square campus, downtown Edmonton, Alberta.

MACE 501
The Practice of Community-Engaged Scholarship

3-credit course, offered through the Faculty of Extension

An introduction to the conceptual foundations of the practice of community-engaged research and evaluation, with application across diverse disciplines and forms of engagement.

In fall 2016, MACE students worked in teams to produce short videos showcasing community engagement projects at the Faculty of Extension. Using a participatory approach, the students worked with faculty researchers and their community partners to create these videos. The goal of this assignment was to gain hands-on experience in working through different steps in community engagement, reflecting on the collaboration through course readings and discussion. Students screened final videos – video 1, video 2, video 3 – at the Faculty of Extension 2016 Research Showcase.

MACE 502
Theoretical Foundations of the Scholarship of Engagement

3-credit course, offered through the Faculty of Extension

This course is an examination of the social theories, social and intellectual movements, and historical and contemporary contexts that have shaped the study, principles and practices of community engagement. Students will explore this through the perspectives of different disciplines, as well as through case studies from the public, private and non-profit sectors.

MACE 503
Methods of Community-Based Research

3-credit course, offered through the Faculty of Extension

An introduction to research methodology, which broadly includes quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods. Research design, formulation of research questions, selecting appropriate methods, sampling, data analysis, and knowledge mobilization will be included. This course is designed as a seminar; while some classes will be structured, the intent is for participants to learn from each other’s experiences and research examples.

MACE 560
Graduate-level Community Service Learning experience/Course

3-credit course, offered through the Faculty of Extension in partnership with CSL

Students will gain practical, hands-on experience by contributing to a community-based project that draws on multiple facets of community engagement scholarship. The community experience will be supported by a seminar that explores critical, ethical, and reflective approaches to the everyday practice of community engagement.



MACE 597, Winter 2019
Engaging Communities in Social Entrepreneurship

Social entrepreneurship typically attempts to further broad social, cultural, and environmental goals often associated with the voluntary sector in areas such as poverty alleviation, health care and community development.

Course details

MACE 597, Winter 2019
Engagement and Public Policy

An important theme of the course will explore the degree to which citizen engagement contributes to policy and governance adaptation, particularly in response to calls for governance innovations in the face of complex and persistent policy challenges (for instance as relate to sustainability or social justice).

Course details

MACE 550, Winter 2019
Principles of Qualitative Inquiry

This course will be an introduction to qualitative inquiry. The goal of the course is to introduce students to main methods in qualitative inquiry, data collection strategies, qualitative data analysis, rigor, ethics, proposal preparation, and knowledge translation.

Course details

Agroecology in Cuba

Be part of a unique study-abroad course (May 10-31, 2018) and gain first-hand knowledge about the agro-ecological revolution taking place in Cuba! Through direct dialogue with farmers, cooperatives, research centres and NGOs, you will explore the policies, practices and social movement that have made Cuba a world leader in agroecology.


Talk to us for additional details: call 780-492-1538 or send us an email.