Social Performance Management in the Extractive Industries (SPMEI) is an online self-paced graduate diploma program that supports collaboration between communities and extractive industries.

Program Overview

Greater public awareness and evolving international conventions have led to a demand for improved, systematic, and verifiable, approaches to community and stakeholder engagement. From impact assessment and mitigation, culturally appropriate models of community support and assistance, methods for contribution to regional economic development, as well as dispute and conflict resolution, responsible resource companies require a unique set of knowledge and skills to fulfil this demand.

The program explores the fundamental relationships that underlie the extractive industries, namely the relationships between industry, (Indigenous) communities, government, and the environment itself.

Social performance management refers to the rigorous management of a company’s community relations activities, to better address evolving community needs, and industry constraints and provide accountability to all stakeholders. Community relations are a critical component of corporate social responsibility. It is especially important for companies associated with large industrial and infrastructure projects, including exploration, mining, oil and gas, where project scale has the potential to create environmental disturbance and social instability. Community relations professionals manage a company's engagement with affected communities to build constructive and mutually beneficial working and living relationships.

This program will prepare you to work in diverse contexts - from central Africa to the Andes to remote regions of Northern Canada- where Canadian extractive companies operate.


Program Structure

The SPMEI Graduate Diploma consists of four courses, delivered in an online and asynchronous format. The program may be completed over two or four 12-week terms.

The program has been developed in consultation with community relations and sustainability experts from industry, Indigenous advisors, as well as leading thinkers and practitioners. The program structure emphasizes the balance that must be sought between community development aspirations and business constraints.

Who is SPMEI for?

This program is not just for people in industry seeking to better listen to and understand community voices. People in communities who are negotiating with industry will benefit tremendously from a rich and nuanced understanding of the historical, legal, physical, and social considerations that constrain and inform industry practices. Government employees in ministries related to environment, natural resources or Indigenous affairs will also benefit from this program, as will consultants developing impact assessments. Students of politics and other social sciences may also be interested in exploring the intersection between community and industry from a policy perspective, and these credits can be applied as electives depending on your program of study and also laddered towards an MEng, MASc, and an MPA.

Admission and Application

  • A bachelor’s degree from a recognized university;
  • B- graduating average or higher (70% graduating average or a ranking in the top third of the graduating class where number grades are not available);
  • Under exceptional circumstances, consideration will be given to highly motivated individuals with relevant field experience who do not meet the B- requirement; and
  • A statement of interest in the program will be required in order to ensure alignment of the applicant’s academic background, work experience, and career aspirations with the objectives of the program.

Although an engineering degree is not required, relevant work experience in the area of mining or other extractive industries is essential.

Applicants whose native languages do not include English will be required to obtain satisfactory standing in an English Language Proficiency Test as part of the application process and before final acceptance is granted. See the School of Graduate Studies’ TOEFL minimum score requirements. Applicants must meet the minimum score requirement for each test and the minimum overall score requirement.

To begin your application or learn more about the process, please review the School of Graduate Studies Application Guide.

Key Dates

Application for Admission

Fall Term (September)

Application process opens: May 1
Application Deadline: August 15
Document Deadline: August 25

Winter Term (January)

Application process opens: September 1
Application Deadline: December 1
Document Deadline: December 15

Please note that the Document Deadline is the last day to submit required documents for all applicants.

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