Now Accepting applications for a new cohort starting September 2024. Applications due June 15, 2024.

The Department of Adult Education at StFX University is offering a part-time, online Master of Adult Education (MAdEd) program with a concentration in Adult Education and Health. This program is developed for those interested in teaching and learning in a wide variety of health settings (i.e, healthcare, higher education, community health etc.). Each course focuses on the links between theory and practice at the intersection of adult education and health, with health equity and critical social justice as key concerns.

This 30-credit Master of Adult Education program offers two options of study:

      • a course-based option (ten 3-credit courses)

      • a thesis-based option (six 3-credit courses plus a 12-credit thesis).

Students planning to pursue further studies should consider the thesis-based option.

Courses are delivered online via a combination of synchronous and asynchronous formats and timeframes (late afternoon, evening, and some weekends).

Students have a three-year candidacy period within which to complete all program requirements. There is no residency requirement for this online part-time program.

Faculty provide encouragement and timely feedback on student work, and aide in clarifying departmental and university expectations. For more than fifty years, participants have said that our faculty demonstrate exceptional "individual concern for students, and helpfulness" and have the capacity to "relate issues to the broader adult education field".   

For tuition information click here.

For more program information contact Dr. Maureen Coady at  @email

Student Experience Podcast

Course Descriptions 

ADED 535 ¬– Introduction to Educational Foundations. This course provides an introduction to the scope, foundations, and practicies of lifelong learning and adult education in Canada. Students will be able to identify and examine the uniquely critically oriented adult education traditions in Canada through conceptual definitions, education settings, historical moments, and social contexts. In addition to developing an understanding of the field, students will have the opportunity to explore their personal and professional relationships to adult education and lifelong learning and to consider these foundations and concepts in their health practice. Students will complete a detailed learning plan for the completion of the program. Three credits. Required Course.

ADED 540 – Adult Learning Theory and Practice.  The intention of this course is to introduce students to the main adult education theories that have dominated the literature of the field, and how these have come to shape our conceptual understandings and practices associated with adult education and learning. This course will introduce students to important theoretical developments in adult education, such as the concepts of andragogy, self-directed learning, perspective transformation, situated learning, experiential learning, and conscientization, as well as accompanying critiques from Indigenous, critical, and feminist perspectives—and their application in health practice and contexts. Three credits. Required Course.

ADED 531 – Critical Issues in Health and Adult Education.  This course explores the connections between adult education and health with a particular focus on the evolution of health education, health promotion, and health literacy. The relevance of understanding context and applying foundational concepts, theories, and frameworks in addressing health equity issues is covered. The nexus of adult learning and health is examined through the lens of critical reflective practice. An overview of associated pedagogical practices and system-wide approaches will be explored. Required for Concentration.

ADED 550 – Continuing Professional Education.  The intent of the course is to introduce students to key concepts and processes of lifelong continuing professional education (CPE). The history of CPE, emergent critical debates (professional identity and professionalism, issues of collaboration, authenticity, power, ethics, and leadership, etc.) and best practices in CPE (critically reflective practices, communities of practice, mentoring, etc.) will be examined. Future trends and emergent formats such as virtual technology and networking and their application in health practice contexts, will be explored.  Three credits. Required Course.

ADED 565 – Reading and Critiquing Research in Adult Education. Students will engage with academic research through a guided, purposeful approach so as to enhance both learner confidence and ability to understand peer-reviewed scholarship in the field of adult education. Students will develop techniques to analyze and critique published research that applies directly to professional practice. The course will guide the learner through the process of research with a “consumer’s” focus, preparing the student to discern and utilize research in their own health contexts. The completion of a critical analysis of research studies is a requirement of this course. Three credits. Required Course.

ADED 560  – Qualitative Research in Adult Education: The Practitioner Researcher. This course introduces students to the qualitative research paradigm, with a particular focus on the adult educator as researcher in health contexts. The majority of published research in adult education is qualitative. The course addresses the major paradigms (natural science-social science) debates and issues in qualitative research in adult education, as well as introduces students to the methodology and methods of qualitative research in health contexts. Students learn to develop practitioner research for adult education and health contexts. The completion of a research plan is a requirement of this course. Three credits. Required Course.

ADED 530 – Transformative Learning Theory and Practice. This course will focus on the student’s personal and professional learning, using the theory of transformative learning, which is a key theoretical framework for understanding and interpreting learning in adults. As a conceptual lens, it allows educators to challenge the taken-for-granted dictums of society, education, and learning. Students will examine the theory, from its beginnings in the late 1970s and continuing to the present, and its particular application in health contexts. Particular attention is given to the social transformation possibilities of the theory. The intention is to guide students to discover the theory and to connect it to their educational practices in health contexts. Three credits. Elective Course. Required for Concentration.

ADED 570 – Critically Reflective Practice and Adults. This course explores the ways in which adult education and critical pedagogies inform the values, approaches, and methods of critically reflective practices. Through a combination of critical pedagogies and social justice movements from individual and social perspectives, students will gain familiarity with reflective practices across various contexts, including health. Narrative construction, reflection on action, critical incidents, and emerging applications will be investigated in order to generate critical perspectives that shape reflective practice and allow students to evaluate their lifelong learning. Three credits. Elective Course. Required for Concentration.

ADED 575 – Community Development and Adult Education. Exploring collective learning for social and economic progress, this course identifies historical and contemporary examples of adult education and community development. Students in this course examine pedagogical theories and development practice; and assets, barriers, and strategies for inclusive and culturally responsive collective learning for health development practice and movements. Critical perspectives illuminate historical and contemporary ways that citizens, popular education, digital technologies, and equity function, intersect and evolve in learning for and in community development. Three credits. Elective course. Elective Course.

ADED 580 – Global Issues in Adult Education. This course will focus on historic and current trends in adult education and health from a global perspective. With a view to developing a comparative understanding of adult education policy and conceptualizations of adult health learning internationally, this course will introduce students to various issues related to adult education in diverse global health contexts. Three credits. Elective Course.

ADED 545 – Critical Pedagogies. The literature on critical pedagogies connects knowledge to power and fosters empowering adult learning through the development of critical consciousness and praxis. Critical pedagogies invite students’ experiences as material for reflection and include civil rights and anti-oppression; racial, cultural, gender, and sexualities diversity; Indigenous rights; disability rights; and labour and class. Students will review the research on critical pedagogies and listen and learn from a diversity of discourses in order to respond to a complex world and promote social, political, and ecological justice. Completion of a critical literature review on a topic of interest is required. Three credits. Elective Course.

ADED 555 – Work, Learning and Society. This course examines the intersection of adult education/ learning practices and human resources development in employment settings. Health programs and strategies such as competency-based learning, digital platforms, assessment frameworks, portfolios, etc. will be investigated, as will forms of learning and the social, political, economic, and global factors shaping professional practice and today’s workplaces. Drawing on their own experiences, students will explore workplace learning approaches and applications, and consider the impacts of these on individuals, organizations, sectors, and society. Three credits. Elective Course.

ADED 585 –  Planning Programs for Adults. This course focuses on a core area of adult education, program planning theory and practice. The same social, cultural, political, and economic factors that influence other human social endeavours are found in program planning in health contexts; complex planning processes both influence and are influenced by various contexts, behaviours, locations, and purposes. Health promotion program planning and evaluation includes everything from assessing needs, setting goals and objectives, planning activities, implementation, and measuring outcomes. Students will engage with program planning’s main theorists and practitioners and will be encouraged to apply theoretical understandings to their health practice and in working in diverse health contexts and learning communities. Three credits. Elective Course.

ADED 590 – Arts-Based Pedagogies in Adult Education. Arts-based methodologies/pedagogies provide communicative practices that allow the inclusion of diversity for a vibrant pluralistic democracy. Their application in health contexts is recognized to foster critical thinking, offer means for expression, provide opportunities for citizens to listen and reflect on various perspectives, and promote better health and community health engagement. The arts provide avenues for exposing problems and outlining possibilities, releasing the imagination, expanding vision, acting as bridges between differences, and supporting resilience. Arts-based methodologies pedagogies are used in teaching and research (data collection and representation of findings). Three credits. Possible Elective course.

ADED 538 – Emerging Issues in Community Colleges and Student Experience. This course connects adult education with teaching and learning in a community college context. Through a lifelong learning lens emphasizing self-direction and solution-based approaches, course content addresses concepts, theoretical orientations, and frameworks crucial for diverse and informed understanding about teaching and learning in Canadian community colleges and universities. Critical perspectives illuminate historical and contemporary ways that student populations, non-formal/experiential education, global digital technologies, professional development, and social justice functions, and equity intersect and evolve in community college and university settings. Cross-listed as EDUC 528. Three credits. Possible Elective course.