Graduate Certificate in Social Economy and Co-operatives

The Graduate ­­­­­Certificate in the Social Economy and Co-operatives is designed for working professionals and graduate students who are looking to deepen and refine their understanding of the vital roles played by co-operatives, non-profits, and social enterprises in today’s economy.

Alongside the public and private sectors, there is a rich diversity of social economy organizations—co-operatives, credit unions, non-profits, charities, community associations, social enterprises, and more—working to provide goods and services to individuals and communities. Some of these organizations have operated for decades, such as retail co-ops and credit unions, while others are relatively new initiatives in areas ranging from renewable energy to car shares to platform co-ops, aiming to change how regular business is done. All of these organizations share a common characteristic, which is to prioritize social objectives over the accumulation of profit. Through engagement in seminar courses and independent research, participants in the certificate program will explore a number of broad issues, including: 

  • What is the role of co-operatives and social enterprises in today’s economy?
  • How do ethical leadership and decision-making affect an organization’s performance?
  • Why is governance so important and how is it different across the range of social economy organizations?
  • What policy conditions support the health of the various sectors comprising the social economy?

Offered in partnership with the Canadian Centre for the Study of Co-operatives, this certificate program is comprised of three graduate-level classes that can be completed entirely online or through a combination of in-person and online courses.

Learning Objectives

As a student in the Social Economy and Co-operatives certificate program, you will gain an understanding of the historical and current conditions leading to the creation of co-operatives and social economy organizations. You will also learn how to:

  • Evaluate the role of co-operatives and social economy organizations in delivering goods and services
  • Appraise the governance structures and practices of co-ops, non-profits, foundations, and other social economy organizations
  • Reflect on a range of leadership and decision-making practices
  • Apply concepts learned in the program to specific co-operative and social economy organizations using real-life case studies.


JSGS 846 Course Trailer

All students must complete the following course (3 credit units):

All students must complete one of either (3 credit units):

Students must complete one course (3 credit units) from the following (note: courses can only be taken once):

Additional course required by the College of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies at the University of Saskatchewan:

  • GPS 960 - Introduction to Ethics and Integrity - This is a non-credit, online course required by the College of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies and is at no cost to the student. Students are required to complete the course in their first term of study.


  • The JSGS certificate programs at the University of Saskatchewan schedules an academic break during the Summer term, which runs July through August. There are no course offerings available during this time.

Admission Requirements

Applicants interested in entering the certificate program must have completed a four-year undergraduate degree with a minimum overall GPA of 70 per cent.

* JSGS does not recommend graduate certificate programs to international students for the following reasons:

  • The certificates are only 3 courses (9 credit units) in length, and to be considered a full-time student, you must register in 6 credit units (2 courses) per term.
    • For example, if a graduate certificate student wants to maintain full-time status, the maximum time in the graduate certificate program would be 6 months if starting in January (encompasses Winter and Spring terms), or 8 months if starting in May (encompasses Spring and Fall terms) or September (encompasses Fall and Winter terms), and a student would need to take a fourth course and pay additional tuition to have full-time status in each term.
  • JSGS cannot guarantee that courses required for our graduate certificate programs will be available each term.
  • If a required course is unavailable, it can affect the opportunity for full-time studies.

Laddering Option

Students may transfer to the Master of Public Administration (MPA) program, while still registered in the certificate program. Space may be limited, so the ability to transfer is not guaranteed. In these cases, only the MPA degree will be awarded upon completion of the program. To transfer, students must formally apply to the MPA program.


Please note, tuition and fees are subject to change. Should there be a discrepancy between the information posted on the institution's website and information posted on the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy website, the University of Saskatchewan website should be viewed as accurate. 

The tuition rate for the master’s certificate program at the University of Saskatchewan campus is  $1,422.25 (per 3-credit unit course) for the 2021/22 academic year (September 1, 2021, to August 31, 2022)Students must also pay a mandatory graduate student fees and an international surcharge (if applicable, $1,227.75 per term). A total of three courses (9-credit units) are required to complete the Graduate Certificate program.

Contact Us

For more information on the Social Economy and Co-operatives certificate, please contact: