Adult Learning and Global Change

The University of British Columbia, in cooperation with participating universities in South Africa (University of the Western Cape), Sweden (Linköping University), and Australia (Australian Catholic University) offers an innovative online, coursework-only Master of Education (MEd) in Adult Learning and Global Change (ALGC).

The program is designed for individuals who wish to understand adult learning in the context of global change, and thereby improve their professional practice. This courses in the program will benefit those working with adults in formal and informal educational settings, including human resource development in business, industry and government, and activist organisations, international and/or community development, non-governmental organisations, healthcare, cultural, and professional organisations, to name a few.

Students proceed through the two-year, 30-credit program as a cohort drawn from the four participating institutions. Instructors are also drawn from these universities; students will benefit from a truly international staff.

After completing this program students will be able to:

  • Critically analyze dominant and alternative theories and discourses of “globalization.”
  • Identify the various ways context shapes adult learning and relevant public policy.
  • Discuss why and ways learners resist or embrace “education.”
  • Analyze relationships nested in successful attempts to foster change through learning.
  • Plan learning interventions that help adults increase their influence over the direction and pace of local and global change.

ALGC (Adult Learning and Global Change) - Globe and Computer Online



The curriculum covers adult learning found in different cultural contexts and the roles learning plays in understanding and responding to globalizing forces and their impacts.
The program encourages the development of a broad critical perspective on the relationship between adult learning and global change as experienced and understood throughout the world. Students enrolled thorough UBC will work on collaborative projects with students from other countries.

Download information for Prospective Students : Information for prospective ALGC Students (2017)

Stories from ALGC

Prospective applicants to the ALGC program often want to talk to students who are currently in the program, or are recent graduates. Unfortunately, privacy legislation, and UBC Bylaws do not permit us to post contact information for students. We have however, had some students provide us with a brief video describing why they enrolled in the program, and their perspective of the ALGC experience.

Video 1

Video 2

Video 3

Admissions Requirements for Graduate Study

All graduate program applicants in the Department of Educational Studies (EDST) must meet the minimum entry requirements established by the Faculty of Graduate Studies, which oversees graduate work at UBC. Applicants who do not meet the minimum requirements will be considered for admission only in exceptional circumstances.

The ALGC program is for those seeking a web-based master’s degree that provides multiple perspectives on the role adult learning plays as individuals and communities engage with globalization.

The program is also for those interested in international development work; cross-cultural education and training; the role of education in addressing various global health and environmental issues, promoting social justice in the face of economic globalization.

Applicants should be internally motivated learners who are sensitive to cultural differences in worldview, communication styles, learning preferences and instructional approaches. Online programs such as this require a high degree of self-direction, motivation and organization.

Students are admitted through one of the four cooperating universities and fulfill program requirements as set by the admitting institution. UBC invites applications from those residing in the Americas and Asia.

Please Note: this is a non-thesis master’s program. Although it is possible to complete a directed study project as an elective, applicants who intend to pursue doctoral study should consider applying for a thesis-based master’s program that places greater emphasis on research.

Students are expected to sign on to courses several times a week, and should be prepared to devote as much time as needed to assigned readings, discussion groups, interaction with learning partners, and assignments. Those students who need weekly class meetings to structure their learning should consider our on-campus master’s programs. Please read the information below before submitting your electronic application.

To be eligible for admission to a master’s degree program at UBC, applicants must hold a four-year bachelor’s degree (apart from applicants from Quebec) with a minimum overall average in the B+ range (at UBC 76%) in third- and fourth-year courses prescribed by the Department concerned as prerequisite to the master’s program.

Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies - Minimum Academic Requirements: Canadian or U.S. Credentials

Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies - Minimum Academic Requirements: International Credentials

English Requirements

English Proficiency Test Score: Applicants whose degrees are from a university outside Canada in which English is not the primary language of instruction must present evidence of competency to pursue studies in the English language prior to being extended an offer of admission. Acceptable English language proficiency tests for applicants to graduate studies are:

  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language): Minimum score of 600 (paper version), 250 (computer version), 92 with a minimum of 22 in each component (iTB) is required for admission to all programs in Educational Studies. Visit TOEFL’s website
  • IELTS (International English Language Testing Service): Minimum overall band score of 6.5 with no other component score less than 6.0.
  • MELAB (Michigan English Language Assessment Battery): Minimum overall score of 81.

The applicants must have an official report of their score on one of these tests sent directly from the testing service to the Graduate Program Assistant, Department of Educational Studies at the address below by the application deadline. Score reports more than two years old will not be accepted.

More Information:

ALGC Program Requirements

Required Courses

Required courses in the program are sequenced so that all requirements can be completed in 24 months. The nine credits of electives may be taken at any time and are usually selected from on-campus courses (for those who reside in the Vancouver area), from various distance-mode courses available at UBC, and from directed studies courses tailored to your interests.

Several exchange agreements also permit UBC students to take graduate courses at various Canadian universities.

The first course in the program begins in mid-August. All the requirements of the program can be completed online; there is no requirement that students attend any meetings or courses on the UBC campus

Year One Required Courses
EDST 540, Locating Oneself in Global Learning I (3 credits taught by UBC)
EDST 541, Adult Learning: Contexts and Perspectives (3 credits taught by Linköping)
EDST 575, Work and Learning (3 credits taught by UBC)
EDST 542, Fostering Learning in Practice (3 credits taught by ACU)
Year Two Required Courses
EDST 544, Global/Local Learning (3 credits taught by UWC)
EDST 543, Understanding Research (3 credits—teaching rotated among the four universities)
EDST 540, Locating Oneself in Global Learning II (3 credits taught by UBC)

Equipment and Web Access

Regular internet access is essential in this program. Applicants should have ready access to a computer capable of running a modern operating system and software, as well as capability to view online video and engage in online collaborative and videoconferencing technologies. The student will also need ready access to a printer.

Software required includes the following:

  • a word processor
  • an email program like Outlook Express, Outlook, Eudora, Gmail, Thunderbird etc.
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader (free to download from
  • a recent version of a browser: Firefox (, Chrome (, or Internet Explorer (
  • a good virus checker

Web access should be via a broadband/network connection. Applicants should have experience using Windows or another operating system to produce text documents; to cut, paste and save text material; and to access and download materials from the web. The courses in this program are delivered using the Lisam web platform. The first course in the program will orient students to Lisam and provide experience using its features.

Apply Online:

The number of graduate students who can be accommodated is limited and only the best qualified applicants can hope to secure places. To ensure that all applicants are treated equitably, your application will go through several stages before a decision is made on acceptance or rejection. Once your transcripts have been reviewed to determine if you are eligible for admission to graduate study at UBC, several faculty members in scholarly areas related to your area of interest will read your application and individually assess your suitability for admission.

As well as evaluating all components of your application, we must be convinced by the statement of intent that your academic interests are congruent with those of the department and the ALE program, that your background is adequate for graduate work in your area of interest, and that the department and university possess the necessary resources for you to complete the degree.

You will be informed of the department’s decision by April 21st. The department must recommend other applicants to the Faculty of Graduate Studies for admission. If you are admitted conditionally, subject to completing a degree in progress or courses, these conditions will be included in the offer of admission. Successful applicants are asked to inform the department by May 12th whether they are accepting a place in the Department of Educational Studies.

Applications should be submitted online at All of the following components of an application must be received by the department’s Graduate Program Assistant before the file can be reviewed by the ALGC admissions committee.

a. Online UBC application form. When you submit an online application at, the completed form is automatically forwarded to the Graduate Program Assistant. A non-refundable processing fee, payable to UBC.

b. TWO original, official copies of transcripts from each college or university you have attended, or are currently attending. These must be sent directly from the issuing institution to the Graduate Program Assistant in the Department of Educational Studies. Photocopies are not acceptable. All transcripts from non-English-speaking countries must be accompanied by official certified English translations. Applicants sending transcripts from an institution in the People’s Republic of China must also send an official degree certificate in both Chinese and English. For information on submitting international transcripts please go to Without complete documentation, the application review process cannot begin.

c. Three references – The purpose of the references is detail your relevant background and capacity to complete the degree. At least one, but preferably two of the references should be from course instructors or other persons who are able to assess your academic ability. Other suitable referees include a supervisor, an employer, or other person to whom you are, or have been, accountable in employment or as a volunteer. The reference letters must be in English. If the original letter is in another language, the letter must be accompanied by a certified English translation. There are three possible formats for references:

  • Electronic references: In the online application system, applicants are asked to provide an email address for each referee. (Please note that we are unable to accept emails from Hotmail, Yahoo, GMail, MSN or other free email accounts for referees.) Once the online application has been submitted, a unique link will be emailed to each referee, allowing her or him to log in to a secure site and submit an online reference or upload a reference document as an attachment.
  • Paper letters of reference: Your referee may wish to send a paper letter. Paper letters of reference should be on referee’s official letterhead and must be mailed directly to the Graduate Program Assistant (see address below) in a sealed and endorsed envelope by the referee.
  • Paper reference forms: UBC provides a general reference form. Your referee may fill out this form and mail it directly to the relevant program in a sealed and endorsed envelope.

d. Letter of intent. You must describe in one to two pages your specific reasons for participating in the ALGC program, and precisely why you are applying. This statement should highlight:

  • why you are applying to the ALGC program
  • information on your background and experience in adult education (both employment and volunteer work). Please submit a copy of your CV or Resume
  • how you see your life experience contributing to the program
  • what you hope to gain from the program

e. Writing Sample

You must provide a writing sample that will serve as evidence of your potential to write at the graduate level. The Admissions Committee must be able to judge your ability to think critically and write clearly. Writing samples typically take the form of academic or scholarly papers from previous studies (normally 10–15 pages in length). They can, however, take various forms, such as profes­sional documents, reports, workshop materials, or journalistic pieces. If you have questions about your writing sample, please contact the ALGC Coordinator. Please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope if you wish to have your submission returned.

Applicants from outside Canada should be aware of additional requirements that may apply. Please read the following to determine which of these requirements may apply to you.

International Credentials Equivalency

Please see the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website:

Documents not in English

If any transcripts or diplomas/certificates or letters of reference submitted with an application are not in English, then official documents (not photocopies) must be submitted along with certified translations in English.

All documents are to be sent directly to the department you are applying to from the issuing institution.

All components of the application for the ALGC program should be submitted to the department’s Graduate Program Assistant at the following address:

Graduate Program Assistant
Faculty of Education - Department of Educational Studies
Education Centre at Ponderosa Commons
6445 University Boulevard
Vancouver, British Columbia
V6T 1Z2

Tel: 604.822.6647
Fax: 604.822.4244

ALGC Program Fees

For the most current information about Master's Programs fees, please visit UBC Calendar.

Please see Section III: Fees, Financial Assistance and Scholarships, Master of Education, ALGC.
(Note: the university reserves the right to adjust tuition and fees at any time.)

Annual tuition is paid in three installments (September, January and May).
(Note: additional student fees are required by the University and can be found in the online University Calendar, Student Fees.)

If students must interrupt their program for family, medical, or other reasons, a reduced on-leave fee will apply. Telecommunication access and time charges are the student’s responsibility as are costs for textbooks or other required instructional materials not accessible on the web.

Deadlines for applications

Deadlines for the EDST ALGC program can be found on the EDST website.

Contact Us

For more information about this program, the department and admission procedures can be found at

or contact:

Sandra Abah, Graduate Program Assistant

Tel: 604.822.6647
Fax: 604.822.4244

Department of Educational Studies
Faculty of Education
The University of British Columbia
6445 University Boulevard, Vancouver, BC  V6T 1Z2


Dr. Garnet Grosjean, Program Coordinator
Tel:  604.822.4553