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 780-492-1501 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

  • Apr. 2019 − MACE student Ashley Roszko selected to attend prestigious design residency

    DIALOG, a design company that practices all across Canada and the U.S., funds an annual design residency program, in honour of Tom Sutherland, which provides an opportunity for students from across Canada to collaborate and look at the use of design to improve the well-being of our communities and our environment.

    MACE student Ashley Roszko was one of two students nominated to represent the University of Alberta and was the final student selected to attend the DIALOG Design Residency in Toronto during Reading Week of February 2019. A total of 9 students from across Canada were selected, coming from a wide range of disciplines including landscape architecture, architecture, community engagement, civil engineering, urban planning and design, and health policy.

    “I had such an amazing experience collaborating on a project with people from such diverse backgrounds, and I was able to use my experience from school and research to think critically about a real-world situation in another city,” said Ashley.

    Given the declining demand for golf facilities, and increasing urban development pressures in Toronto, the students were tasked with looking at how Dentonia Park Golf Course could be “re- purposed to provide a broader range of recreational opportunities and address pressing needs related to housing affordability, newcomer/refugee settlement, community well-being, and climate change resilience.”

    The students learned about Dentonia Golf Course and the issues/challenges related to repurposing this type of site. They also got to know each other through team building exercises and worked together to develop a proposed framework for tackling the issue. On the last day of the residency, they presented the framework that they all came up with together to a group of DIALOG employees, and their presentations were also livestreamed to other DIALOG offices. Their ideas could potentially help the City of Toronto create a plan for Dentonia Golf Course and other golf courses seeing a decline in feasibility.

    Ashley hopes others will consider this unique opportunity. “This is a residency that will likely continue every year, so other students could participate in the future.”

  • 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.

  • Oct. 2019 – MACE student Emma Wallace's research work featured in folio

    Ending poverty will take greater focus on people living with it, U of A researcher finds

    Well-intentioned efforts may fail because they aren’t based on meaningful engagement with the people they affect most, study shows.

    Read the article »

  • 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

Exams Effective as of Fall 2020 
Requirement for Admissions prior to Fall 2020
Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) * Total score of 100 with a score of at least 21 on each of the individual skill areas (internet-based) or equivalent Total score of 100 with a score of at least 21 on each of the individual skill areas (internet-based) or equivalent
Michigan English Language Assessment Battery(MELAB) 85 with a minimum band score of 80 and a minimum score of 3 on the speaking component A score of 85
Academic International English Language Testing System (IELTS) 6.5, with at least 5.5 on each test band An overall band score of 6.5, with a score of at least 5.5 on each test band (Academic)
Canadian Academic English Language Assessment (CAEL) Overall 70 with at least 60 on each subtest A score of 60 with at least 60 on each subtest
Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic) 61 with a minimum band score of 60 A score of 59


  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

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

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

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
Community Engagement Practicum

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, Spring 2020 (1-5 June)
Evaluation in the Community Context

Introduction to the basics of evaluation, including the foundations, approaches, steps, strategies, and ethical considerations of evaluation, with an application across diverse disciplines (e.g., health care, community development, government, not-for-profit).

Course details

MACE 597, Spring 2020 (online)
Community Engagement, Health and Development

This course uses an ecological framework to explore three major theoretical and also very practice-focused concepts: community engagement, health and development. In the course we examine and critically assess their interconnectedness but also the disconnections and separateness of each. Key areas that we examine in this critical analysis are: community engagement as a model for health; citizenship and social citizenship; civic engagement, and social development in a global context. Inquiry-based teaching is used as a teaching and learning method.

This is an on-line course held during Spring term (6 weeks).

Course details

MACE 597, Fall 2020
Indigenous Arts-Based Research and Practice

This course is an exploration of the relationship between art, research, Indigenous knowledge, and the self. Arts-based research exists as a creative, critical and community practice of social inquiry. Using the circle process, seminars, and creative thinking, students will develop critical thinking skills, interpret visual narrative, and build capacity for aesthetic approaches to research. Focusing on Indigenous paradigms and Indigenous creative processes and practices, students will develop new insights and understandings of arts-based inquiry and practice.

Course details

MACE 597, Winter 2021
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 2021
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 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.

MACE 597, Winter 2021
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


Talk to us for additional details: call 780-492-1501 or send us an email.