Canada Economic Development Masters Programs & Degrees

For students who want to enact local, national, or global economic development to help people and communities thrive, economic development masters programs might prove a wonderful option. These Masters in Economic Development programs help students learn how to use economic development—a “policy intervention endeavor” encompasses a range of processes and policies—to affect social, political, and economic change.[i]

At the master’s level of education, economic development degree programs typically involve an inter-disciplinary curriculum and interactive, hands-on classroom. Students commonly study subjects such as economics, political science, sociology, history, business, and others through a combination of lectures, case-studies, and workshops. Through their studies, they may gain extensive knowledge of economic development’s historical contexts (and its roots as modernization, westernization, and industrialization, for example)[ii], present-day applications, and future goals. The goal of many programs is not only to instill in students’ minds the core theories and principles of various types of economic development, but also to teach students how to apply theory to practice. Students may emerge from their programs with an economic development acumen key to causing progress in the field.

What Types of Masters in Economic Development Degrees Are Available?

Because economic development is a diverse and expansive field, numerous master’s in economic development degree programs exist. Here are some examples:

  • The Master of Art or Science in Community Development
  • The Master of Art or Science in Global Development
  • The Master of Art or Science in Political Economy
  • The Master of Art or Science in Urban Studies
  • The Master of Business Administration with an emphasis in Economic Development

Students may opt to pursue one of these master’s degrees in economic development or numerous others. Or they might pursue a Master of Art or Master of Science directly in Economic Development.

What Might I Learn in My Economic Development Master’s Degree Program?

You’ll likely approach the interdisciplinary curriculum of an economic development degree program through a combination of core and elective coursework. Your core coursework will typically provide an overview of economic development and a framework for thinking about the field, and your elective coursework will typically help you concentrate your knowledge.

Depending on your program, your core coursework might cover topics such as:  

  • Economics (micro, macro, and economic theories and applications)
  • Economic development (theories, principles, and practices of the field as a whole)
  • Development policies (policies and processes at various levels of government) 
  • Governance and economic development
  • Community development (including community structures, processes, building, and more)
  • Leadership in economic development
  • Research methodologies, applications, and ethics
  • Statistics and econometrics

Your elective coursework may delve into subjects such as:   

  • Local, regional, national, or international economic development
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Commerce
  • Community resilience
  • Urban or rural economic development
  • Community ventures, nonprofits, and organizations
  • Financial recording and management (including grant-writing and fundraising)  
  • Sustainability
  • Land use
  • Law and ethics

These are just some of the many core and elective subjects you might study in your master’s in economic development degree program. As you browse through our sponsored listings below, take note of each program’s curriculum, options for specialization, and objectives. Some programs give you numerous options for concentration, and others are designed to cover one or two specific components of economic development. Economic development is an incredibly expansive field, so you’ll likely find a variety of options.

In many cases, students complete their core and elective coursework through two years of fulltime study, although program lengths vary by school. To conclude their programs, they commonly complete a capstone project (usually a community project or thesis), take a comprehensive exam, and, in some programs, participate in an internship. The point of many economic development master’s degree programs is to teach students how to apply economic development theory to practice, so developing hands-on, interactive experience may be emphasized. You may pursue your master’s in economic development degree through on-campus, online, or hybrid formats.

What Knowledge or Skills Might I Develop in My Economic Development Degree Master’s Program?

In your economic development master’s degree program, you’ll likely have an opportunity to develop many skills, especially quantitative and qualitative ones. Here are some examples to give you a sense:

Quantitative skills: you may develop your quantitative skills through your studies of economics, public policy, research methodologies, and other topics conducive to data collection, analysis, and interpretation. You will likely learn numerous research methodologies (designing surveys, etc.) and discover how to analyze and assess results. You may also learn how to use economics, mathematics, and conceptual tools to measure results.

Qualitative skills: you may develop your qualitative skills through your studies of sociology, history, political science, and other subjects conducive to more flexible ideas, theories, and interpretations. You’ll likely learn about social, economic, and political factors and discover how think critically about their possible implications. You may also discover how to balance qualitative evidence and experience with quantitative analysis and research.

Depending on your program, you may also develop your capacities to read, write, and conduct research. Through doing your coursework and assignments, you may learn how to analyze and think critically about what you read, communicate effectively orally and through writing, and comprehend research conclusions and methodologies. You may also learn how to conduct and share your own research in the field of economic development.

These are just some of the knowledge and skills you may develop in your master’s in economic development program. 

How May I Find a Perfect Economic Development Degree Program?

You may begin your search here. If you look below, you’ll find listings of various master’s degree programs in economic development. You may click on the orange hyperlink to read more about the particular program, or you may “request information” directly from the school. Amongst the list of Masters in Economic Development sponsored programs, you’ll find a blend of online, on campus, and hybrid programs. If you’d like to refine your search, you may use our search tool to your left to browse programs by program format (online, on campus, or hybrid) or location (city, state, or country). Don’t hesitate to peruse our extensive listings to discover which programs might provide a perfect fit. Good luck!


Sources: [i] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_development | [ii] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_development

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