Master of Management: Co-operatives and Credit Unions

The Master of Management: Co-operatives and Credit Unions (MMCCU) is a master's degree in co-operative and credit union administration. The degree is currently offered solely through the International Centre for Co-operative Management at the Sobey School of Business at Saint Mary's University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

The MMCCU degree is tailored to working co-operative and credit union professionals. Students study online and part-time and use their co-operative or credit union as a living lab for their final research project. This program is designed to improve students' understanding of management within the context of the co-operative economic model.[1] Similar to the more traditional MBA, students are introduced to economics, accounting, human resources, marketing, technology, best practices and equity management. The MMCCU also teaches the history and philosophy of the co-operative management model.[2]

While the coursework is delivered exclusively on-line, participants proceed as cohorts and meet in person three times during the process: once for Orientation Week in Halifax, once for an international study tour to learn about co-operative economics in Emilia-Romagna, Italy or Mandragón, Spain in the second year and finally for Convocation upon completion. The program is part-time and three years in duration.[2]

Other degree optionsEdit

In response to the needs of the co-operative sector to create a shorter and a less intensive program, the International Centre for Co-operative Management developed a Graduate Diploma in Co-operative Management (20 months) and a Certificate in Co-operative Management (10 months). These courses are part-time and online.

The Graduate Diploma in Co-operative Managementgives students the chance to take foundational courses in all management disciplines and complete a final research paper catered to your interests. Attend the face-to-face orientation and join a combined cohort with our Master's students. The courses completed in the Diploma can be applied to the master's degree if the students choose to continue their studies.

The Certificate in Co-operative Managementwill enhance student's practical knowledge of the relevance and impact of the co-operative business model. Students will acquire an expanded toolbox of co-operative and credit union specific management tools and best practices related to strategy, financial sustainability, and innovation. Upon successful completion of this program, students receive an executive professional development Certificate in Co-operative Management. The courses completed in the Certificate can be applied to the Diploma or master's degree if the student chooses to continue their studies.[2]


The MMCCU degree program was created in 2002 by a partnership between Saint Mary's University and the Co-operative Management Education Co-operative (CMEC), now a federation of over 60 cooperatives from seven countries. This co-operative consists of co-operatives, individuals, as well as educational and support institutions which contribute expertise, advice and funding to support the co-operative management education programs including MMCCU.[3] Members donated nearly $1 million to fund the program and the curriculum was approved by the Maritime Provinces' Higher Education Commission.[4] The program was founded by Saint Mary's University Professor John Chamard[1] and took its first students in 2003. The first cohort graduated in 2007.[5] While other methods of training in co-operatives exist,1 the MMCCU is the only English-language master's degree in co-operative management by a business school that is internationally accredited.[6] The Sobey School of Business, the home of the MMCCU, has accreditation through the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).[7]

Method of deliveryEdit

The MMCCU is an on-line only program using the Blackboard Learning System virtual environment. With the exception of the orientation and field trip, the classes only meet on-line.[8] Students move through the program as a cohort, so once a student starts they must commit to the entire program or drop-out.

Program contentEdit

The Cooperative Principles are central to MMCCU curriculum.[9]

First yearEdit

In the first year, students complete the following:

  • Philosophical Origins and Historical Evolution of Co-operative Governance and Business Practice offers a survey of the historical development of co-operation from the dawn of the Industrial Age and market capitalism to the present day. Students learn about and practice creating social audits.
  • Global Economy and Society examines economic theory and the development of global institutions. The role of growth for economic development is explored, with a reflection on the co-operative model and its transformative potential.
  • Comparative Co-operative Practice I: Variety and Range of Co-operative Business: This course builds off of the history of the first semester. Students learn about the different sectors of co-operation: consumer, producer, housing, financial and worker and multi-stakeholder co-operatives.
  • Co-operative Financial Analysis and Management I provides students with a basic understanding of managerial accounting and financial accounting. Students learn the basic of an income statement, balance statement, cash flow analysis and equity statement. Students also learn to conduct a financial analysis.
  • Marketing I: Students examine the prevailing economic theory and the development of global institutions. The role of growth for economic development is explored, with a reflection on the co-operative model and its transformative potential.
  • Innovations: Students enhance their understanding of innovation, learn to leverage the co-operative difference to enhance innovations, and analyze examples of innovative management practice.
  • IT and Communications: Students examine communications technology, the Web, the Internet and impact and barriers to e-business including privacy, security and payment systems.

Second yearEdit

  • Strategic Analysis: Students are introduced to a co-operative equilibrium model based on the dual nature and structure of this distinct organization. It presents the identity crisis most co-operatives are facing due to isomorphism. Strategies to avoid such crises are explored.
  • Leading and Managing People: Students analyze leading models of people management in the context of co-operative identity. The personnel functional cycle is reviewed (needs, planning, recruitment, selection, motivation, appraisal, compensation, development, discipline, conflict resolution, industrial relations and change management).
  • Governance and Participation: Students examine the nature and potential of stakeholder co-operatives, various models of board-management relations, and theories of member participation within co-operatives.
  • Financial Management II: Students examine the nature of co-operative capital with an emphasis on equity, bylaw requirements, sources of equity, alternative measurements of effectiveness (e.g. balanced scorecard and social audit) and approaches for measuring the cost of equity.
  • Marketing II:Students explore a range of marketing principles and theories, and apply them in the context of co-operatives. This strategic approach emphasizes the internal communication challenges of developing and benchmarking. MOCA competencies and culture based on co-operative values.
  • Global Economy and Society II: Students explore the impact of globalization on the generation of goods and services to meet human need, the ecology of the planet, the distribution of wealth and the role of the state and the location and nature of decision making in the global economy. The potential of co-operatives to play a constructive role is examined.

Field study tourEdit

  • This course includes an intensive study tour to a co-operative or credit union network that demonstrates excellence in management and performance and will expose you to the possibilities for integrated, co-operative networks. The study tour currently alternates between two locations. The first is the Mondragon Co-operative in northern Spain.[10] Students spend 10 days studying the Mondragon Co-operative and learning about the culture of the region. The second location involves the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy.[10] Students tour and study the worker co-operatives and co-operative federations of the region.

Third yearEdit

  • Co-operative Developments: Students explore specific organizational issues at different stages of the co-operative lifecycle – from inception through growth and maturity, to reinvention. Risk and factors leading to demutualization are analysed through case studies.
  • Leading and Managing People II: Students analyze leadership/followership models, styles, formation and applications in the contexts of understanding globalization and environmental crisis. Students examine the challenges posed for co-operative leadership and vision, relating to stakeholder engagement, governance and change management.
  • Strategic Analysis II: Student are introduced to the new co-operative paradigm and its application through shared surplus, patronage dividend and loyalty programs as a source of competitive advantage for co-operatives.
  • Research Methods: The course prepares students for their final research paper.

Master's projectEdit

The last semester of the master's program is dedicated to a final research project. Students are expected to propose changes in their co-operative based on the lessons learned through their program with the goal on enhancing their co-operative's value. Completion of all other required Master program courses.

Financial aid optionsEdit

The International Centre for Co-operative Management has bursary funds to support MMCCU and Graduate Diploma students, curtesy of support from the co-operative sector, Sisters of Saint Martha and individual donors. Other means of financial aid will depend upon competitive grants and scholarships, private grants and the specific awards available in one's home country [11]


98% of respondents to our graduate survey say the program provided knowledge and tools to improve the social, economic, and environmental performance of their co-operative organizations.[12]


  1. ^ a b Anderson, Mark (September 29, 2009). "Consider your options". National Post. Archived from the original on October 15, 2010.
  2. ^ a b c The International Centre for Co-operative Management (2019). Program Options. Retrieved from:
  3. ^ The International Centre for Co-operative Management. (2019). Co-operative Management Education Co-operative (CMEC). Retrieved from:
  4. ^ Novkovic, Sonja; Holm, Wendy (October 2012). "Co-operative networks as a source of organizational innovation" (PDF). International Journal of Co-operative Management. 6 (1): 55.
  5. ^ Chamard, John. "The Saint Mary's Master of Management: Co-operatives and Credit Unions Programme." Journal of Co-operative Studies. Volume 40, Number 2. August 2007.
  6. ^ Ratner, Carl (2013). Cooperation, Community, and Co-ops in a Global Era. New York, NY: Springer. p. 156. ISBN 978-1-4614-5825-8.
  7. ^ List of Accredited Schools by Country Archived 2018-06-12 at the Wayback Machine Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
  8. ^ Livingston, Jane (March 2006). "Mastering Co-op Management" (PDF). Rural Cooperatives. 73 (2): 23–25, 34.
  9. ^ MacPherson, Ian (2012). "Finding Traction on a Slippery Path: Teaching about Co-operatives, the Co-operative Movement, and Co-operation in Canada". New Opportunities for Co-operatives: New Opportunities for People (PDF). University of Helsinki. p. 366. ISBN 978-952-10-6514-9.
  10. ^ a b Parnell, Edgar. Masters of Management - Co-ops and Credit Unions. Archived 2010-12-31 at the Wayback Machine ICA Digest. Issue 38. March 7, 2005.
  11. ^ The International Centre for Co-operative Management. (2019). Financial Aid and Scholarships. Retrieved from:
  12. ^ Saint Mary's University & Sobey School of Business. (October, 2018). Education for values-based business: The co-operative difference - An Impact Report. Retrieved from:

External linksEdit