Program Details

The CED Certificate Program is an eight-month certificate in CED planning and practice that immerses students in a peer supported learning environment.  We place great emphasis on using a cohort approach to the program since the majority of our students are already mature professionals. Peer-support encourages mutual sharing of personal cases studies and learnings, builds confidence among participants as they become “experts” in their field, and enables networking opportunities that contribute to long-term success in both their daily work and their career advancement.

Program Adjustments

Covid-19 has dramatically changed the way higher education is being delivered across Canada and, although this time has been challenging for everyone, it is also more important than ever that we focus on learning and capacity building. The economy that emerges out of the pandemic will need to pivot to incorporate more social, environmental, and culturally-inclusive values. This is a very important moment for us as a society, and SFU CED will contribute as best we can by continuing to train and support our economic leaders across Western Canada.

So for the time being we will be altering the way we deliver the program. All the curriculum and primary instructors will remain the same, but the following changes will be made to ensure that students can learn and complete the certificate program:

  1. All classes will be held online. Usually we have two one-week intensives in Vancouver. However, this year we will be moving all courses on line. This is a very difficult decision to make since we believe in the face-to-face cohort model, we also believe that this will allow students to join the program who have previously found travel to be a barrier.
  2. Most courses will consist of video learning, at your own pace. In an effort to make courses more flexible for students who are balancing work and home life, we will be transitioning many of our online courses to recorded modules that students can review at their own pace. We will still be connecting students to each other and instructors through real-time class sessions, but these will be fewer in number across the certificate term.
  3. CED projects will still be the primary practice method of the program, but with some tweaks. Generally students work on a community-based project over the program year and present it at the final intensive to receive their certificate. However, during the pandemic we have found that it is very difficult to do community engagement when you can’t meet with people in your community! Students will still be required to do CED projects to complete the program, but we will accept a broader array of project types, including those that may be research-based rather than community-based. If there is the possibility to meet during the program offering times, we may host a mini-intensive in Vancouver to celebrate and do project presentations, but this will be optional only and students who can’t attend will be able to present online.

Thank you to all the students, alumni, and instructors who continue to support and believe in our program! We are looking forward to welcoming a new cohort this spring, and are striving to make it the best we can. 

The program has two components: course work and the CED project planning design lab. 



Courses are provided over the course of 8 months through two one-week intensives at SFU Harbour Centre, with the rest of the courses online.

The curriculum focuses on multiple areas of CED theory and practice, including:

  • Economic reconciliation and Indigenous worldviews
  • Ecosystem sustainability and resource-based economic development
  • Circular and localist economies
  • Social entrepreneurship and the social economy
  • Community organizing and engagement for systemic change
  • Economic resilience and recovery from disruption
  • Tools and strategies for daily CED practice in the field
  • Personal and professional development as a CED leader

Usually a rotating selection of 11 courses are offered each year, with an additional three (3) course units for the Design Lab (e.g. CED 301/302 and CED 307) being mandatory for program completion. A full list of course descriptions can be found here, including what courses are offered for the 2019-2020 program. 

CED Project Planning Design Lab

The SFU CED Design Labs are core components of the certificate program and often serve as capstones for the certificate experience. We recognize two realities for students in the program: the need to convert their learnings into something tangible they can do in their home communities, and the need to provide home organizations or stakeholders (who have often funded our students) with a strategy or plan that can be considered for implementation. The Design Lab therefore gives students a “safe-to-fail” experience where they can experiment with the tools and concepts of CED in a live planning process, while receiving mentorship and peer-support along the way. If they choose to take this project back to their communities following the program they are free to do so, however, it is not required since the goal is to apply the program learnings in a safe space. If the project idea goes sideways, that’s ok! We won’t tell anyone.

The Design Lab is composed of three course units that are embedded across the full 8-months of the program (one unit in the first intensive, one unit across the online course, and one unit in the second intensive). SFU CED’s "CED Project Canvas" is used to structure the development of the Design Lab project. The CED Project Canvas is derived from the popular Business Model and Lean canvases used in entrepreneurship training, but is adapted to meet the needs of CED practitioners in vetting and developing their project ideas.

Tuition & Fees

  • Program tuition is $4,995. This includes all course fees and books for the program (we'll send you the books upon acceptance).
  • $100 non-refundable application fees

For additional questions, please review our FAQs page or contact for more information.