North American Mobility in Higher Education

Cape Breton University
Located on Canada’s east coast, CBU ( makes its home in Sydney, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia.  With a population of 110,000, the municipality offers the amenities of a big city, with a welcoming atmosphere of a small town. The campus is only minutes from great entertainment and shopping.  Cape Breton University is a public accredited university with programs in arts, business, science, technology, education, and tourism, and has over 3,400 students.  CBU has three Canada Research Chairs and it is developing research capacity in sustainability, with a new multi-million Centre for Sustainability in Energy & the Environment (CSEE).  CBU is a community in itself, with a relaxing campus environment,  modern student residences, many active clubs and societies,  and a diverse population from over 50 countries. 

Cape Breton has a heritage of community-based  economic development since the early 1900s and CBU’s Master of Business Administration program is the only MBA program in the world that  includes Community in its core.  The MBA in Community Economic Development is a program of the Shannon School of Business and it is known for interactive small classes, for attracting learners with varied and interesting backgrounds, and for supportive faculty. Course content is delivered in the context of the community and the world and the program resonates with people who wish to make a difference in their organizations and their communities.

Cape Breton is known for its natural beauty,  pace of life, history, and friendly people.  The folks at Travel + Leisure magazine  World's Best Awards 2009, pretty much summed it up for us naming Cape Breton Islandthe number one, ‘must-see’ island to visit in North America and number three on its top islands of the world list. It is also named as the #2 Sustainable Tourism Destination by National Geographic Traveler magazine. Home to the world renowned Cabot Trail, Cape Breton Island's breathtaking scenery leaves an imprint on all visitors. 

The climate is moderate and warmer than most other places in Canada because of the Gulf Stream that runs off our shore. The average annual temperature is close to 6 degrees Celsius (43°F). Summers are pleasant with temperatures that are warm, but rarely too hot, from 18ºC (65°F) to 25ºC (77°F).

Click here to watch videos about Cape Breton University

Flexible course schedule
The program offers three entry points:  courses are offered in the fall semester, winter semester, and in the July intense session.  CBU is able to accommodate students in the North America Mobility in Higher Education program at any of these three times: students can arrive in early September or January and take their courses over a regular 12-week semester; or arrive in the summer and take their classes over 4-weeks in July, and volunteer with a community organization during or after that period.  Students attending classes in July have three months to send in their assignments.

CBU will facilitate placement of students in volunteer positions with organizations in the community. 

There are class social events throughout the year, with the largest free event the MBA Surf and Turf party in mid-July: featuring ample quantities of lobster, roast beef, and great music. 

For those seeking inspiration on campus, there are speakers, art exhibits,  and theatrical productions. The Shannon Speaker Series, for example,  offers speeches by well-known Canadians such as Gwynne Dyer and Harry Rosen. 

The MBA in Community Economic Development program hosts an international conference on Community Business every two years; next conference is on July 14-16, 2011 and will include speakers such as Dr. Ray Hudson (Durham, UK) and Dr. Inazio Irizar (Mondragon, Spain).  

Course Selection
The following graduate courses in the MBA in Community Economic Development will be of particular interest to the North America Mobility in Higher Education participants.  At least three of the courses are offered in each term (Fall, Winter, July):

MBAD 500   Business and Community Development I
Provides the theoretical and philosophical foundations of community economic development, identifying business as a way of achieving an enhanced quality of community life. Students are introduced to the language and concept of “Third Sector” structures such as community development corporations, worker owned ventures, and similar initiatives.

MBAD 504  Fundamentals of Marketing, with community development applications
The purpose of this course is to present the marketing dimensions as they apply to community economic development. It includes social marketing:  marketing ideas and changing behaviours.  It deals with both the strategic and tactical approaches to influencing behavior in a wide range of key publics, such as clients, policy makers, volunteers, the media and the organization’s own staff. The major course deliverable is an organizational marketing plan.

MBAD 600  Business and Community Development II
This practical course will explore the relationship of business with the community, and the challenges and issues surrounding community-based business institutions.  This topic will be explored through the assigned readings, case studies and class discussion. The course will seek to draw from theories of CED and the social economy and compare them to examples of how community business and CED gets implemented.

MBAD 608  Comparative Development
This course employs a comparative approach in the assessment of alternative development philosophies in both the North and South, especially those which attempt to define a sustainable community. It examines the influence of  natural resources and governance on development,  it synthesizes concepts of development, and it examines strategies used to formulate action plans to achieve sustainability in communities.  Learners will become skilled on thinking globally and acting locally, and on using qualitative and quantitative indicators of sustainability.

MBAD 612  Economic Geography
Introduces students to the analytic tools that economic geographers use to measure and compare spatial variations in economic growth. The course describes the dominant economic mechanisms and processes of uneven development that produce global cities, peripheral regions and regional economies. Students will employ this background to study the attributes of a community and to assess its potential for economic development.

MBAD 613 Social Entrepreneurship
Social entrepreneurship refers to initiatives by citizens and community groups to respond to social needs. Social enterprises are blurring the lines between the sectors, taking for-profit, non-profit, and hybrid forms of organization. The objective of this course is to introduce students to the concepts, practices, and challenges of social entrepreneurship. Students will learn from examples of regional experiences and from case studies that illustrate the application of business skills in the social sector. The course discusses the use of the balanced-scorecard approaches to strengthen the management of the enterprise. (This course will be delivered in July 2011 by Dr. Inazio Irizar, of Mondragon U. and Mondragon Cooperativa, Spain)


The next upcoming exchange opportunity will be our July intense session and applications are due by April 30.  Applications for the fall semester (start in 2nd week of September) are due by May 31 and applications for the winter semester (start in 2nd week of January) are due by  October 31.

Exchange students should use the general CBU application form and send it directly to the MBA in CED program office, as listed a the bottom of this page.  The application fee is waived for students in the North America Mobility in Higher Education program.

English Language proficiency
Students whose first language is not English, or whose university education was not delivered in English, must provide proof of English proficiency, such as a TOEFL score report, with their application.  A TOEFL score of  550 (paper based) or 213 (computer based) will be sufficient .

Health Insurance Plan
All international students and exchange students must be covered by health insurance while studying in Canada.  International students must either purchase the health insurance plan available from CBU upon arrival or to present a valid comprehensive health insurance card of their own. 

Mexican students are required to obtain a visa to come to Canada. For further information please visit

Generally students who come to Canada for 6 months of study or less are not required to obtain a Study Permit unless otherwise stipulated by the Government of Canada. ( )  

Housing/ Meal Plan

A recommended option is to live in residence and be close to class and all the activities. CBU has built a few student residences in recent years and one can readily secure a room. 

Single Room - $2,410.00/ term

Double Room - $1,780.00/ term

Apartment Style- $2,460.00/ term

Super Single - $2,575.00/ term


Meal Plan
5 day/week meal plan for dormitory students - $1,775.00/ term

7 day/week meal plan for dormitory students - $1,850.00/ term

Apartment residence - $150.00/ term

Detailed information on on-campus Student Residences is available by clicking here

Another option is renting a room in the community (approximately $400-$600 and may or may not include utilities, ie. electricity, telephone) and use the bus system to commute.

Contact Information:

George Karaphillis  ( or 
Anne Michele Chiasson (

MBA in Community Economic Development program
Shannon School of Business
Cape Breton University
1250 Grand Lake Rd., Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada  B1P 6L2
Tel:    (902) 563-1467  or (902) 563-1664
Fax:    (902) 562-0075

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