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International & Community Development


This certificate is offered fully online.

Online courses consist of a mix of real time classes at set times and learning that can be done on your own schedule.

Internet access

You'll require regular access to an internet connection, and you'll need a camera and microphone.

A high speed internet connection is recommended, but not required.

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8 months

You'll begin your Certificate studies in the fall semester (September), and the total completion time is eight months.

You'll follow the UCalgary academic calendar and be given specific assignment deadlines.

Advance your knowledge and skills related to Community Development

Using a social work lens you'll examine and engage with policies, practices and ethical approaches to working with diverse populations. You'll explore strategies to accompany and to facilitate collaborative community efforts to address contemporary social, economic and ecological issues in local, regional, & national settings.

You'll also develop practice skills that you can employ in the contexts of community, organizations, and policy work.

Certificates provide graduate education and formal credentials. If you plan on applying to our MSW, you'll need this certificate and one in Advanced Social Work Practice.

Community Development: Courses

Contexts of Community Practice

We'll examine the historical, cultural, social, political, economic and ecological forces that have shaped community life and influenced community practice in Canada and across the globe. With an emphasis on how power affects people and communities, you'll analyze the conditions that lead to the different models, policies, and programs of social development. You'll develop critical reflexivity and assert your own perspectives in relation to the current research debates about contemporary community issues, community practice and social development.

Theoretical and Practical Foundations

You'll gain foundational knowledge about the theories of community, guiding values and principles in community practice, and approaches to community practice (development, organizing, social planning and social change). You'll develop critical thinking and practical skills that are required in the various phases of community practice, including: engagement, assessment, planning, implementation and evaluation. The importance of rooting community practice in professional social work ethics and social justice, including the ethical requirements of self-care, will be addressed.

Critical Perspectives in Community Practice

With explicit attention to unique histories and experiences of communities, you'll be intentional in selecting and integrating the various critical perspectives into community practice. Building upon the integration of theoretical and practical foundations, you'll further examine and apply theories of decolonization, anti-racist theory, queer theory, critical disability theory, feminist theories and other critical schools of thought. You'll explore empowering processes and strategies in working with communities. You will utilize the knowledge and practice skills you gained in the course to design, plan and develop your funding proposals for a community development project.

Advanced Integration of Community Practice

You'll immerse yourself in local communities to apply your theoretical knowledge and practical skills. You'll analyze the contexts of community practice, select and use the relevant theoretical framework(s), and apply practical skills as related to your specific areas of passion. You'll consider social work ethics and values when working with communities.

Admission Requirements

  1. A Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) from an accredited/recognized institution.
  2. A minimum of 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 point system, over the past two years of full-time study (a minimum of 60 units) of the undergraduate degree.
  3. The equivalent of two years of full-time paid work or a minimum of 3,000 hours of paid and/or volunteer work in the human services field by the application deadline.
    What is relevant social work and human service experience? 
  4. English Language Proficiency

    Offers of admission are valid for the term to which you apply.


Degree Award

Your degree must be awarded prior to the start of the program. We cannot accept a letter of completion as a replacement for degree award. Your final transcript noting your degree must be received by June 30.

Earned your BSW abroad?

If you completed an undergraduate degree in Social Work or equivalent in another country (outside Canada/USA), you must have your degree assessed by the Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW) as equivalent to a Canadian BSW, prior to applying to the MSW program.

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