Skip to main content

Join us at Laurier

Being a Golden Hawk means more than just cheering on our (really good) varsity teams – it means being a student who cares about your community, who works hard in the classroom, and who takes advantage of all the learning opportunities that can happen outside the classroom, too.


Community psychology is a critical and applied social science that pursues action-oriented social justice research from a perspective of understanding human behaviour in its social and historical contexts. Community psychologists recognize the communities they work with as experts on their own situations and as integral partners in designing and implementing culturally appropriate interventions that foster sustainable wellbeing. Community psychologists base their interventions on theory and evidence and use action-oriented research to promote positive change.

Community psychology takes a holistic approach to promoting social justice and wellbeing by focusing on the community, environment, and larger influencing factors that affect people’s daily lives (culture, society, politics, economics, etc.). It's characterized by an ecological approach to social problems that considers the conditions which give rise to them, such as experiences of poverty, oppression, marginalization and stigma. It links research and evaluation with direct action and service, and its practitioners partner with community members and social institutions to promote change.

Having a community psychology degree demonstrates that you have a professional commitment to lasting social change, an understanding of the origins of socially constructed problems, and the training to help others face those issues completely and successfully.

Program Overview

The Master of Arts in Psychology with a concentration in Community Psychology offers theory, research and skills development, as well as supervised real-world application of those skills through a 200-hour practicum (field work) placement in a community, organizational, and/or government setting.

You'll have the opportunity to learn about social issues and effective change strategies and to assist with undergraduate classes as a Teaching Assistant. You'll conduct applied, action-oriented research on a topic of your choice in the form of a thesis under the supervision of one of our faculty members.

This field is geared to prepare graduates for a variety of positions in governmental and non-governmental settings related to community development and engagement, community-based research and evaluation, and social change, as well as for further graduate work.

Required courses:

  • PS600: Advanced Behavioural Statistics I
  • PS606: Research in Community Settings
  • PS614: Community Psychology and Social Intervention I
  • PS615: Community Practicum I
  • PS619: Community Psychology and Social Intervention II
  • PS625: Community Practicum II
  • PS699: a thesis that is supervised by one of our faculty members

Community Practicum

The community practicum courses are a significant part of this program's curriculum requirements. You're required to complete 200 hours of supervised practicum work in an agency of your choice, where you'll gain valuable experience as a community consultant and transformative social and organizational change agent. The practicum experience is accompanied by a two-semester practicum course where you'll learn important practical skills and critically reflect on your practicum experience using an "Action, Theory and Research" (ART) model.

Examples of past practicum experiences include:

  • Assisting in program evaluations.
  • Comprehensive literature reviews.
  • Assistance in policy developments.
  • Conducting focus groups and need assessments.
  • Community education.
  • The creation of community gardens.
  • Implementing activities to raise community awareness of crime prevention issues.
  • Developing and introducing a multi-media presentation to present issues that exist for young women.

Faculty with Supervisory Status

There are currently six faculty members who are available to supervise Community Psychology graduate students:

They offer very diverse interests and areas of expertise, including:

  • Community-based participatory research and stakeholder engagement.
  • Indigenous rights and governance.
  • The social exclusion of LGBT individuals and communities.
  • Environmental justice and sustainability.
  • Social innovation and social change.
  • Youth engagement.
  • Health equity and policy.
  • Early childhood education and care.
  • Community and education.
  • Program development and evaluation.
  • Social determinants of HIV/AIDS.

If you're thinking of applying to the Community Psychology field, we encourage you to contact the faculty members whose interests align with your own.

Contact Us:

For more information about community psychology, as well as admissions-related inquiries, please email Rita Sharkey.

×

We see you are accessing our website on IE8. We recommend you view in Chrome, Safari, Firefox or IE9+ instead.

×