Master of Management: Co-operatives and Credit Unions

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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 an international program at the Sobey School of Business at Saint Mary's University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.[1] The program is designed for students entering business management and degree applicants come from diverse academic disciplines.

The MMCCU degree is designed to improve students' understanding of management within the context of the co-operative economic model.[2] 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 and hosts international symposia.[3]

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 a field trip in the second year and finally for Convocation upon completion.[4]


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), a federation of over 50 cooperatives. This co-operative consists of co-operatives, individuals, as well as educational and support institutions.[5][6] Members donated nearly $1 million to fund the program and the curriculum was approved by the Maritime Provinces' Higher Education Commission.[7] The program was founded by Saint Mary's University Professor John Chamard[2] and took its first students in 2003. The first cohort graduated in 2007.[8] 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.[9] The Sobey School of Business, the home of the MMCCU, has accreditation through the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).[10]

Method of delivery

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.[11] Students move through the program as a cohort, so once a student starts they must commit to the entire program or drop-out.

Program content

The Cooperative Principles are central to MMCCU curriculum.[12]

First year

In the first semester, students complete the following:

  • Philosophical 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.
  • The Emerging Global Economy and Society from a Co-operative Perspective I provides an overview of globalization and its effect on the world economy. In addition, students examine examples of global co-operation.
  • 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.

Second year

  • The Emerging Global Economy and Society from a Co-operative Perspective II.
  • Field Research: Study Visits to Exemplars of Excellent Co-operative Business Practice. Students learn about the region of the visit and the co-operative society prior to their visit. The remainder of the course examines the lessons learned during the trip and how it might relate to their co-operatives.
  • Comparative Co-operative Practice II: Co-operative Innovations and Best Practice considers different co-operatives on an individual level in order to understand how different co-operators solve similar problems.
  • Technology, Communication and Co-operation examines the role of technology in society and how co-operatives might use it to succeed.

Field trip

The field trip currently alternates between two locations. The first is the Mondragon Co-operative in northern Spain.[13] 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.[13] Students tour and study the worker co-operatives and co-operative federations of the region.

Third year

  • Marketing the Co-operative Advantage: Co-operative Education, Member Relations and Marketing. This course examines basic marketing strategies and the co-operative identity.
  • Co-operative Financial Analysis and Management II, focuses on the role of equity in a co-operative. Students learn about equity development and how it interacts in a co-operative.
  • The Co-operative Management Approach I: Governance, Planning and Strategic Analysis. Students learn about these three important areas of management through a co-operative lens.
  • The Co-operative Management Approach II: Leadership, Personnel and Management Style, examines the role of human resources in a co-operative.

Master's project

The last year of the master's program has been dedicated to the project. Students are expected to develop a change in their co-operative based on the lessons learned through their program.

Financial aid options

The Sid Pobihushchy scholarship is available for students pursuing an MMCCU.[14] Other means of financial aid will depend upon competitive grants and scholarships such as the Lemaire Scholarship provided by the Canadian Association for Study in Co-operatives,[15] a special loan program through the Cooperative Development Institute, private grants and the specific awards available in one's home country.


A survey of co-operative managers who completed the degree found that while they were satisfied with the program, only 40% of respondents were able to implement ideas they learned in their workplaces.[9]


^ CooperationWorks! trains cooperative developers in the United States. The University of Toronto offers an undergraduate program in co-operatives, the University of Wisconsin offers a survey course on co-operatives, and the University of Massachusetts offers an undergraduate certificate in applied economic research on cooperatives.


  1. Livingston, Jane. Co-op Management Master’s Degree Program: Lessons Learned. Cooperative Grocer. #124 May - June 2006.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Anderson, Mark (September 29, 2009). "Consider your options". National Post. Archived from the original on October 15, 2010. 
  3. Crowell, Erbin. A New Era for Labor and Co-op Movements? Cooperative Business Journal. November/December 2009.
  4. McLeod, Andrew. (2010). Co-op Studies Go Global: The Master in Management - Cooperatives and Credit Unions. Grassroots Economic Organizing (GEO) Newsletter. Volume II, Issue 5.
  5. A Cooperative Approach to Management Education. Cooperative Grocer. #148 May - June 2010.
  6. Come Together, Right Now. Cooperative Management Advantage. Volume 4, Issue 2. January 2010.
  7. Novkovic, Sonja; Holm, Wendy (October 2012). "Co-operative networks as a source of organizational innovation". International Journal of Co-operative Management 6 (1): 55. 
  8. 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.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Ratner, Carl (2013). Cooperation, Community, and Co-ops in a Global Era. New York, NY: Springer. p. 156. ISBN 1-4614-5825-0. 
  10. List of Accredited Schools by Country Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
  11. Livingston, Jane (March 2006). "Mastering Co-op Management". Rural Cooperatives 73 (2): 23–25, 34. 
  12. 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. University of Helsinki. p. 366. ISBN 978-952-10-6514-9. 
  13. 13.0 13.1 Parnell, Edgar. Masters of Management - Co-ops and Credit Unions. ICA Digest. Issue 38. March 7, 2005.
  14. Awards for 2010-2011. Fredericton Co-op website.
  15. Lemaire Co-operative Studies Awards. Centre for the Study of Co-operatives.

External links

Template:Academic degrees Template:Co-operatives