Certificate in Economic Development

Program overview

This program is for professionals of all experience levels looking to gain a broad knowledge base in economic development. It consists of two courses, Year 1 and Year 2. Year 1 includes a 1-2 page reflection and Year 2 includes a 15 page research paper. 

The Certificate in Economic Development is jointly issued by the University of Waterloo and the Economic Developers Association of Canada (EDAC).

The completion of the Certificate earns participants 20 points (Year 1 = ten points, Year 2 = ten points) towards the 45 points required to sit the EDAC exam to qualify for the Ec.D. designation. For details on points and Ec.D. eligibility see the EDAC website.

Program details

Admission requirements

None. This program is appropriate for people of all backgrounds and experience levels.


  1. Fundamentals of Community Economic Development (Year 1)
  2. Advancing Economic Development Opportunities (Year 2)

Year 1 and Year 2 are each week-long courses that include lectures, workshops, role playing, and small group projects led by experts in their fields. Year 1 must be completed before Year 2.

Usual topics:

  • the roles of Economic Development Organizations (EDO)
  • Canadian and international models for community economic development
  • the Canadian economy
  • economic issues facing local economic development
  • labour and skills development
  • community marketing strategies
  • analytic techniques for local economic development
  • economic base analysis
  • planning techniques, tasks and concepts in local economic development
  • business development projects
  • performance evaluation
  • First Nations context, consultation and partnership
  • financial analysis for small business
  • tourism development strategies and projects
  • regional development strategies – politics of inclusion; entrepreneurship
  • green economy, energy and opportunities
  • project management
  • business retention and expansion strategies
  • knowledge economy and creative class trends.

Reflection and Research paper

To fulfil the requirements for Year 1, participants must write a 1-2 page reflection on the most valuable item learned during the course. Year 2 participants are required to complete a 15 page research paper on an approved topic within one year of the course. 

Advice on format and topic selection are offered during the course, afterward by request, and at writing workshops scheduled through the year.


Check our schedule to see when and where the next Year 1 and 2 courses are offered.

They're scheduled every spring in Waterloo, bi-annually in Edmonton (rotating between Year 1 and 2), and according to demand in other locations like Northern Ontario and Atlantic Canada.

Further education

After completing Year 1 and Year 2, the next step is Year 3. It is a course for senior economic development professionals who want to refine leadership, collaboration and strategy skills and learn the latest trends in the field.

*In exceptional circumstances, individuals may petition the University of Waterloo Economic Development Program’s director to complete one or both parts of the program over two sessions.