Master of Arts in Climate Action Leadership

The Master of Arts in Climate Action Leadership is an innovative graduate program that brings together students and professionals in an open learning environment to enhance their skills and capacities to lead climate change action efforts.

The program uses an open pedagogical approach that engages students in generating new ideas and solutions to address climate crises. Content and resources created by students are freely available online to be referenced and built upon in the future.


The Master of Arts in Climate Action Leadership provides the education, skills and experiences necessary for planning and enacting climate actions to support communities, organisations and businesses’ capacity to address the climate challenges they face. The program brings together students from all sectors and disciplines who are interested in contributing to individual and shared resilience now and in the future.


The Master of Arts in Climate Action Leadership is a two-year interdisciplinary program that focuses on climate leadership, critical thinking, innovation, climate adaptation, and resilience efforts. The two-year competency-informed program delivers dynamic social-learning experiences through online learning and face-to-face learning intensives.

Courses combine interactive forum discussions, and assignments. Students’ responsibilities are to meet assigned deadlines and contribute to their cohort’s forum and online discussions. 

The program begins and ends with learning intensives that introduce foundational concepts and mindsets of climate action leadership in the first year, and support students sharing publicly their learning and learning outputs in a conference open to the public at the end of the program. This supports students in developing relationships that are sustained throughout the cohort model. These learning intensives are rigorous and immersive, creating opportunities for students to develop relationships that are sustained throughout the cohort model and beyond in their careers and professional networks. Graduates often comment that these concentrated periods of intense collaboration and creative study are highlights of the program.

At the core of the program is the Climate Action Competency Framework (CACF), which was developed by the Resilience By Design Lab at Royal Roads. All climate action courses are aligned with the CACF, which is grounded on extensive research and consultation with climate adaptation experts, Indigenous peoples and other climate action leaders to establish a shared understanding of key climate adaptation competencies. 

The CACF is a tool to:

  • detail the core competencies required for climate adaptation with examples of associated behaviour;
  • offer a practical, systematic road map or tool for individuals, organisations, teams and others to guide capacity and capability development, and to support objective assessments of competency strengths and gaps in the workforce; 
  • enable individuals and businesses to facilitate professional development and training to develop climate adaptation capacity; 
  • support development of climate adaptation capacity through recruitment and hiring of qualified candidates; 
  • shape behaviours that strengthen the individual’s capability and therefore enhance performance outcomes relative to specific roles.

The second year provides options for students to customise  their learning: 

  1. a climate action major research (thesis) project that allows students to take a deep dive into an issue or question of interest and relevance to climate action;
  2. a portfolio learning option (scholar practitioner) that includes opportunities for:.
    1. a project-based internship to build professional networks and produce real-world outcomes for the internship partne
    2. a course-based track that includes options for
      • Taking climate-related electives at approved post-secondary institutions
      • experiential learning with mentors and subject matter experts
      • community-projects and initiatives
      • Graduate certificates, micro-credentials and other less formal learning experiences.


The Master of Arts in Climate Action Leadership program will: 

  • graduate climate action leaders with a shared understanding of climate adaptation competencies;
  • introduce the Climate Action Competency Framework, a climate adaptation roadmap or tool for individuals, organisations, teams and communities;
  • facilitate professional development and develop training agendas for individuals and businesses to increase their own capacity to adapt and plan for climate change;
  • support businesses and governments to develop climate change capacity by recruiting qualified candidates;
  • shape behaviours that strengthen the individual’s capability to adapt to climate change.