Community Economic and Social Development (CESD)

Our Program

Algoma University’s four-year Bachelor of Arts in Community Economic and Social Development, or CESD, is a unique program, different from any other program found in Canada. In fact, Algoma U’s program is the only undergraduate program of its kind in the country!

Community economic and social development provides students with the tools and knowledge to make meaningful change within their community and the world around them. In high school, more students are becoming actively involved in community and humanitarian efforts in their hometown and around the world, or are enrolling in world issues studies, which seek to bring about change. The CESD program allows students to continue their pursuit of change and provides students with the skills needed to make a difference and an impact in the world.

A distinctive interdisciplinary program, CESD integrates several disciplines including CESD, social work, sociology, political science, geography, economics, and business administration. Due to the broad-based structure of the program, students will develop a holistic perspective of the world around them and develop the knowledge and understanding to work to advocate for positive change, fight for economic and social equality, and defend human rights, with a specific focus on smaller urban, rural, northern, and First Nations communities. Students can also minor in environmental sustainability and social justice and globalization.

In students’ third-year of study, they will complete a 150-hour work placement, while in their fourth-year, they will be required to complete a 300-hour placement and a major paper or project. Students have been placed in organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, the Children’s Aid Society, Batchawana First Nations, Garden River First Nations, NORDIK Institute, United Way, Ontario Trillium Foundation, and more. These placements will allow students to apply concepts, theories, and methods from their coursework in the community, advocate for change, and implement new analytical strategies, making the degree action-packed and very hands-on.

Graduates will be eligible for certification by the Economic Developers’ Association of Canada (EDAC) and the Council for the Advancement of Native Development Offices (CANDO). Graduates from the CESD program have gone on to work in the local, provincial, and federal government, not-for-profit and cooperative agencies, youth development agencies, rural and urban economic development associations, have worked as researchers, advocates, and more graduates have also been accepted into prestigious graduate programs in geography, education, sociology, sustainable development, and community economic development.