Program Description

The Master of Arts in Climate Action Leadership (MACAL) is a graduate program for change-makers with an interest in bettering our planet through leading actions in policy, practice and scholarship. This competency-based program is focused at the nexus of climate science, social science, justice, and change leadership.

The 36-credit, the blended-delivery degree offers a built-in 18-credit graduate diploma and uses a learner-centered, open learning curriculum that challenges students to reach beyond the walls of the classroom to respond to real-world problems and generate real-world solutions.

The transdisciplinary curriculum is designed to address the rapidly growing demand—both in the public and private sectors—for climate adaptation professionals with a background that combines social and applied sciences, the braiding of Western and Indigenous knowledge systems, and a creative and solution-based orientation to addressing complex challenges. Learn more about Admission Requirements for this program.

Webinar Recording

Delivery Model 

Learning Intensives

The program includes two on-campus learning intensives. The first year includes a ten-day learning-intensive on our beautiful grounds in Victoria, giving you the opportunity to engage with your peers, faculty, and other subject-matter experts in experiential and land-based learning and design thinking. The second-year culminates in a second, shorter learning-intensive designed to bring together students, faculty, subject-matter experts, and community members in conference-style dialogue and presentations.

Online & Learning

The majority of this program is completed through online learning, using WordPress, Royal Roads University’s cutting-edge platform, Moodle, and other open-learning tools. The online component expands upon the foundations provided during your residency and incorporates a blend of open-learning methods and tools in which students use, reuse, remix, and generate open educational resources to support their digital participation as both consumers and creators of knowledge.

Completion Options

During the first year of study [infographic], all students will take the same set of courses. During the second year of study [infographic], students can select from two different options.

Scholar-Practitioner Track

Students taking the scholar-practitioner track will produce an individualized applied research project in their second year.

Practitioner-Scholar Track

Students taking the practitioner-scholar track will co-design a personalized learning portfolio that is tailored to their specific interests and competency focus and may include additional credit and not-for-credit training opportunities, internships, directed studies and a range of open-learning options (e.g., MOOCs). 

Learning Outcomes

Royal Roads University works with a competency- and outcomes-based learning model. Learning outcomes are clear, plain-language descriptors tied to evidence-informed competencies in climate adaptation that students must demonstrate in order to successfully complete the program.

In the MACAL program, there are six key competency domains:

  1. Climate Adaptation & Resilience Science
  2. Systems Thinking
  3. Research
  4. Adaptive Leadership
  5. Climate Communication
  6. Innovative Change Making

Competencies include knowledge, skills, abilities and behaviors that lead to the effective performance of individuals’ activities in the distributed field of adaptation. Competencies inform the learning outcomes, which focus learning and assessment activities and helps employers understand the benefits of the program. Read more about learning outcomes.

Who It’s For

Do you want to lead in the design, development and implementation of innovative climate-adaptation strategies, policies and practices? This degree is for you!

Answering to widespread demand across industries—from environmental science, engineering, psychology, business, and communications to government and finance—you can be a part of the growing demand for qualified professionals who understand and can collaborate across and within sectors to address the complex challenges associated with climate change.

The program is designed to appeal to students coming from both the physical and social sciences and who are looking to advance and contribute in areas such as regional/national/international policy, strategic planning and management, climate-change communications, natural resource management, disaster-risk reduction, and community health. Learn more about the Application Requirements for this program.

Climate Action Leadership: Lessons from COVID-19

As part of the "Leading in Extraordinary Times" Webinar Series, MACAL program head, Robin Cox hosted a session, "Climate Action Leadership: Lessons from COVID-19" with Nigel Deans and Antonia Paquin from the ResiliencebyDesign (RbD) Lab. View the recording of the May 15, 2020 session.

The above graphic mural was produced by Sam Bradd, Drawing Change