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Graduate Diploma in Community-Engaged Research and Evaluation

This Graduate Diploma offers students the opportunity to develop knowledge and skills in community-engaged research and evaluation, and to contribute to community and agency learning, effectiveness, and change. In this program students who have undergraduate degrees and experience working in social and community services will craft locally relevant research questions and/ or frame evaluation processes useful for both agency/ community and funder purposes, and build their capacities for conducting participatory, justice-focused research and evaluation.

G.Dip.Graduate Diploma in Community-Engaged Research and Evaluation

This Graduate Diploma offers students the opportunity to develop knowledge and skills in community-engaged research and evaluation, and to contribute to community and agency learning, effectiveness, and change. In this program students who have undergraduate degrees and experience working in social and community services will craft locally relevant research questions and/ or frame evaluation processes useful for both agency/ community and funder purposes, and build their capacities for conducting participatory, justice-focused research and evaluation.

McMaster School of Social Work graduate programs are designed in part to respond to contemporary trends in social services and community work. Research and evaluation are taking on increased importance in these sectors. Emphasis is placed on ‘evidence-based’ practice, clear definition of intended outcomes, and formal evaluation of program and policy initiatives (usually tied to funding). Yet in many cases, evidence is too narrowly defined to capture and document individual, group and community needs, aspirations and changes. Many agencies and groups also have their own questions about their communities, about the services they provide, and about ways of achieving their visions for a better world. They sometimes have mountains of unanalyzed data, and certainly have lots of untapped insight. Many appreciate, as well, the transformative potential of participatory research for communities, staff and service users.

The Graduate Diploma in Community-Engaged Research and Evaluation aims to foster critical and ethical practice in community-engaged research and evaluation. Students who complete the program will understand the historical, theoretical and ethical bases of community-based research (CBR) and be able to apply and communicate CBR principles; understand and be able to apply critical conceptual frameworks to evaluation practices in social services and communities, and identify justice-oriented alternatives or improvements; demonstrate a capacity to undertake a community-engaged research or evaluation project that reflects concepts and ethical frameworks highlighted in the program.

The Graduate Diploma: Community-Engaged Research and Evaluation curriculum is comprised of three (3) required courses. Students take two foundation half courses that focus on community-engaged research (SOCSCI 701), and evaluation practices (SOCWORK 743). One full course (SOCWORK 744) builds on the two half courses and is the application and reflection component of the program.

Required Courses:

Two half courses:

One full course (over two terms):

Eligibility

To be eligible for admission to the Graduate Diploma in Community-Engaged Research and Evaluation applicants are required to have:

  • Experience working in social services or communities/social services
  • A completed B.S.W. or B.A. degree with a minimum average of B+ on senior-level courses.

Students entering the Graduate Diploma are required to have an established partnership with a community organization or social service agency with whom they will complete their research or evaluation project as part of the Research Experience course (SOCWORK 744). If students do not have a strong partnership in place at the time of program admission they will be required to do so by the end of SOCSCI 701 (Critical Approaches to Community-Based Research) in April.

Application Materials

In order for your application to be considered complete, it must include the following items:

  • Online Application Form and Fee
  • Statement of Interest (applicant uploads pdf directly)
  • Resumé (applicant uploads pdf directly)
  • Referee Reports (referees complete online report directly using e-referencing system - due one week upon receipt of email request).
  • Transcripts (applicant uploads unofficial transcript directly). Original transcripts must be sent directly from issuing institution*.
  • *English proficiency requirements, if applicable (applicant uploads unofficial copy). Original document must be sent directly from issuing institution*.

*Note: Transcripts and English Proficiency documents must be sent directly from issuing institution(s) to:

Darlene Savoy, Director's/Graduate Administrative Assistant
School of Social Work, McMaster University
1280 Main Street West, Kenneth Taylor Hall, Room 319
Hamilton ON L8S 4M4
dsavoy@mcmaster.ca  

Timelines for Application

Deadline to Apply: November 1st

Review of applications will continue until all positions have been filled.  Transcripts and evidence of English language proficiency sent directly from the issuing institution will be accepted up to two weeks past the deadline. If you have an unofficial copy of your English Language Proficiency (if applicable) and transcript(s) available prior to the deadline date, please send by email to Darlene Savoy, Graduate Administrative Assistant so that we may expedite assessment of your qualifications.

Offers of admission and financial assistance are normally sent out late Fall.

Application Form and Fee

Applications forms must be completed online (portal is open for January 2020 admission). Please note the search criteria on our application portal for Degree Type is "Diploma", Academic Program is “Social Sciences Diploma”, the Program Description is "Community Engaged Research & Evaluation - Graduate Diploma" and be sure to choose the "Part-time" option as our program is not offered on a full-time basis. In the “Upload Documents” section, in addition to your CV & Statement of Interest, please also upload Unofficial Transcript(s) and TOEFL (if applicable). Please note that all documents must be uploaded before paying the application fee.

A non-refundable $100 (CAN) application fee is applied to all applications. The fee can be paid on-line by Mastercard.  If you choose to pay by cheque or money order please send it to the School of Graduate Studies address noted below. There is a handling fee of $15 (CAN) for cheque or money order, making the total amount due $115 (CAN).


School of Graduate Studies
McMaster University
Gilmour Hall, Room 212
1280 Main Street West
Hamilton ON Canada L8S 4L8

Transcripts

Applicants must provide one official transcript of university academic work completed to date, sent directly from the issuing institution to the School of Social Work (address above).

Statement of Interest

All applicants must provide a Statement of Interest, maximum of 5 typed double-spaced pages, expanding on your resumé, covering the following areas:

  1. Discuss your work experience in social services or communities. Your statement should elaborate on the sector and/or community organization with which you have an established relationship and where you intend to complete your research or evaluation project for the Research Experience course (SOCWORK 744). If you do not yet have an established partnership for your project, your statement should outline what steps you will take to ensure you have a partnership in place by April based on your knowledge, experience, and previous work.
  2. Describe a challenge or question facing a community or organization with which you are familiar. Outline the significance of this challenge/ question in the context of the community or organization. Describe in a preliminary way how you might undertake a community-engaged research or evaluation project relevant to the challenge/question. Your statement should include information about the scope and feasibility of completing your research or evaluation project about the stated challenge/question based on your established relationship(s) with social services or communities. 
  3. Indicate why you are interested in this particular diploma program and how you expect it to help you in pursuing your career and personal development. Your statement should include information about how you foresee this diploma program contributing to your established relationship(s) with specific sector(s) and/or community organization(s) and advancing community-engaged and justice-oriented outcomes, practices, and /or programs.

The supplementary statement is assessed based on comprehensiveness, clarity of presentation, capacity for critical and innovative thinking, capacity for critical reflection, and your demonstrable experience and established partnership(s). The declaration of your career goals and your ability to connect these with the specific focus of this program is important.

Letters of Reference

A complete application includes two confidential letters of recommendation - one academic, and one from a work colleague. Because students entering the Graduate Diploma are required to have an established partnership with a community organization or social service agency to complete their research or evaluation project, one letter should be from a representative of the community or agency with whom students will focus on / partner for their projects. 

Referees will be asked to describe work you have been involved in that they have direct knowledge of, and comment on a) your understanding and analysis of the organizational, community or activist contexts in which you work, and b) your capacities and potential for participatory and justice-oriented research and evaluation. Referees should specifically comment on the applicant’s established relationship(s)/partnership(s) with social service agencies/community organizations/communities to demonstrate their capacity to feasibly and effectively conduct a research or evaluation project.

McMaster University uses the Electronic Referencing System. You must enter the email addresses of your referees as part of the on-line application form. The system will automatically send an e-Reference request on your behalf to the referees once you submit your application. Referees have one week from receipt of email request to submit the e-Reference.

English Proficiency Requirements

If applicable, an official copy of your TOEFL score, or other evidence of competency in English is required. A minimum TOEFL score of 580 (or 237 on the computer-based TOEFL test) is needed.

Additional Information

Please complete our Pre-Application form so that we can verify your academic qualifications before you send a full application.

The School of Graduate Studies policy with regard to students with disabilities can be found in section 6.6 of the School of Graduate Studies Calendar. The full policy and further information may be obtained from the School of Graduate Studies or the Student Success Centre 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail studentsuccess@mcmaster.ca.  For further information, consult McMaster University’s Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Apply Now 

Future Degree Studies


Students who successfully graduate from the Community-Engaged Research & Evaluation Graduate Diploma program, and who wish to pursue degree studies at McMaster University, may be eligible to receive academic credit towards the degree. Depending on the policies of the MA or MSW (if the student holds a BSW) program students may be considered for up to 50% of the academic credits of the new degree as determined by the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies. The student must be accepted into the program before this advanced standing is considered.

Darlene Savoy, Director's/Graduate Administrative Assistant
School of Social Work, McMaster University
1280 Main Street West, Kenneth Taylor Hall, Room 319
Hamilton ON L8S 4M4
dsavoy@mcmaster.ca  

Program Brochure Apply Now
For more information:
School of Social Work
KTH 319
905-525-9140 ext. 24596
dsavoy@mcmaster.ca
Length:
16 months
Required Credential:
BSW or BA degree
Program Type:
Course Based
Program Options:
Part-time
Typical Entry:
January
Current Deadline:
December 2