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Department of Leadership, Higher and Adult Education

Adult Education and Community Development Program

Master of Arts (MA) - Adult Education and Community Development

Are you interested in bringing about positive social change where you live or work? Are you committed to social justice and activism? This leading graduate program may be the place for you.

The MA in Adult Education and Community Development (AECD) is a research-based thesis degree program that focuses on the learning that happens individually and collectively among adults in communities, workplaces, social movements, the virtual world – any place where people come together to create social change. 

It is ideal for those who seek to develop skills for education, community, and organizational roles in a wide range of settings in public, private, and voluntary sectors. Our graduates work with newcomers, youth, women’s groups, LGBTQ agencies, organized labour, racialized people, and disenfranchised communities.

During their program of study, students are expected to have exposure to both qualitative and quantitative approaches to research.

We welcome applicants with diverse but relevant backgrounds. Indigenous, Marxist, feminist, anti-racist, environmentalist, anarchist, arts-based, and other critical perspectives are welcome and encouraged. 

Study options: Full-time or part-time
Components: Coursework and thesis
Length: Minimum full-time program length is 2 years

For detailed information about the program, please consult the School of Graduate Studies Calendar and the OISE Bulletin

Check the application tips.



1. Coursework: Students are required to complete 4.0 full-course equivalents (FCEs), including:

  • Introduction to Adult Education (LHA1100H, 0.5 FCE)
    Designed to develop students' understanding of and an identity with the field of adult education. Major philosophical, historical, and conceptual bases are examined, as well as contemporary agencies and programs, issues, and trends in the practice of adult education.


    Community Development: Innovative Models (LHA1102H, 0.5 FCE)
    This course attempts to come to grips with the meaning of community development in a highly networked, increasingly information-dependent society. The course looks at such issues as the relationships between community organizing and community development and the role of social capital in community economic development.  
  • Master's Thesis Seminar (LHA1183H, 0.5 FCE)
    Designed to support students in the process of writing a thesis or a substantial research paper. 

  • 0.5 FCE in research methods
  • Additional coursework is taken mainly at the 1000 level or 5000 Special Topics level, of which at least 2.0 FCEs must be from the Adult Education and Community Development program. Additional courses may be required of some students.

2. Thesis: Based on original research, which may lay the groundwork for doctoral research.

Browse courses


Collaborative specializations

Collaborative specializations provide graduate students enrolled in participating degree programs with an additional multidisciplinary experience as they complete their home degree program. 

Learn more about the collaborative specializations offered to MA students in the AECD program:


Faculty in the AECD program have multi-disciplinary teaching and research expertise in a wide range of fields. To learn more about our faculty, check out our program's faculty listing for profiles.

Our faculty's expertise includes, but is not limited to: 

  • Community organizing and development
  • Workplace and organizational learning for social change
  • Social movement learning and the social economy
  • Comparative international education and development
  • Popular education
  • Indigenous education
  • Education for sustainability
  • Community healing and peacebuilding
  • Adult literacy
  • Feminism, anti-racism and migration


Career paths

Our graduates are leaders, making an impact in communities and organizations everywhere. Here's what some of them are up to. 

Associate Professor,
Faculty of Health,
York University
World Bank
Unifor Sam Gindin Chair in Social Justice and Democracy,
Ryerson University


Funding and tuition


We are pleased to offer OISE Graduate Funding Packages to full-time MA students in year 1.



The following are  annual tuition fees for 2021-2022. These figures include all non-tuition related fees. 

  • Domestic full-time students: $7,979.99
  • Domestic part-time students: $2,799.74
  • International full-time students: $28,735.99
  • Please note: Master's programs at OISE have minimum degree fees.

For detailed and up-to-date information about tuition fees, funding, and financial support, visit Tuition and Financial Support 

Admissions and application information

General information

Please visit the OISE Admissions website for detailed information about the application process, including general minimum admission requirements and supporting documents. 

Program-specific information

Minimum admission requirements

  • An appropriate bachelor's degree in a relevant discipline or professional program from a recognized university, with a grade equivalent to a University of Toronto mid-B or better in the final year. 

  • At least a year of relevant work, community or volunteer experience is highly desirable. 

  • Applications are assessed based on: the clarity of written answers to the faculty admissions questions, strength of letters of reference; grades; work, community or volunteer experience; and fit with the program offerings.

Required supporting documents

All applicants must submit: 

  • Transcript(s) from each post-secondary institution attended.
  • Two letters of reference (one academic and one professional).
  • Résumé that provides clear and complete information about the applicant's work or field exeprience related to their proposed studies.


The main application deadline is November 15, 2021. Tguarantee consideration for admission and a base funding package (if applicable), applicants should submit their application and supporting documents by this date. 

After November 15, admission to some programs may remain open. For the most up-to-date information on application deadlines, please visit OISE Admissions



Questions about applying? Please contact the OISE admissions office at 416-978-4300 or