Connecting people, communities and culture.

As a museum, heritage or cultural professional, you know that so much of your work is about making connections: connections across time, across diverse cultures, and—perhaps most importantly—connections with the communities and audiences you serve. Poor visitor experience planning and other engagement issues can cause these connections to break down.

The Professional Specialization Certificate in Visitor and Community Engagement brings focus and increased understanding to the skills and strategies needed to build and maintain relationships with diverse communities so organizations can better engage and serve their public⁠(s).

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Program description

The Professional Specialization Certificate in Visitor and Community Engagement (PSC in VCE) is the first of its kind in Western Canada with a focus on the public role of museums. Developing knowledge and skills in the areas of visitor experience, public programming and building community relationships, the PSC in VCE supports museum and cultural sector workers to effectively engage with Indigenous and culturally diverse communities, reach underserved audiences, and be responsive to the needs of their public(s).

Offered as a post-degree program, the PSC is a four-course credential that includes three core courses and one elective. The program can be completed fully online, or students have the option to complete their elective course on-campus as a six-day intensive course. Program participants will be part of a professional community of learners, drawing on the professional insights and experiences of not only their course instructors, but their fellow course participants as well.

Focused programming: Four courses: three core courses and one elective, which may be completed within a year Receive specialized training for new positions in the industry (such as Curator of Engagement or Director of Visitor Experience)
Flexibility: Can be completed entirely online; some face-to-face, short immersion elective course options also available Continue working while you expand on your knowledge in the area of public programming and audience engagement
Professional networking: Study with other professionals from across Canada and beyond; led by instructors who are experts in their field Learn from other real-world examples and build relationships with colleagues across the country
Professionally recognized credential: From a respected Canadian institution Earn a professional certificate that sets you apart in a growing area of need in the cultural sector

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Through the StrongerBC future skills grant, students may be eligible to receive funding for this program. View details and eligibility

Program partners

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Faculty of Fine Arts, Department of Art History and Visual Studies

As well as various community partners and organizations.

Program outcomes

Upon completion of this program, graduates should be able to:

  1. Understand the role of museum, heritage and cultural organizations in society;
  2. Analyze the philosophical and social trends that create expectations for democratic, inclusive practices in cultural organizations;
  3. Articulate why community engagement is a critical foundation for museums and cultural organizations;
  4. Describe the range of visitor engagement practices, including innovative and controversial approaches;
  5. Understand how to identify the needs, characteristics, motivations and learning styles of various audiences and visitors to cultural organizations;
  6. Include and balance diverse perspectives associated with effective community, cultural, and social development activities;
  7. Distinguish what community engagement is and is not, and differentiate between audience development and community engagement;
  8. Describe how community engagement has transformed a number of museums, beginning a journey towards relevance and sustainability.

Who is this program for?

This program is designed for professionals in the museum and cultural sector who want to enhance their knowledge and experience in the area of public programming, audience engagement and community relationship building.

Indigenous engagement

Cultural sector workers across Canada are focusing on diversity, equity, and inclusion, as they reach out to underserved audiences. Spurred on by the Calls to Action coming out of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, colleagues at museums, archives and heritage organizations are looking very critically at ways to decolonize our practice and determine how best to contribute to the process of reconciliation.

Career options

Some of our learners pursue careers in the following roles:
  • Curator of Engagement
  • Community Engagement Coordinator
  • Public Programmer
  • Gallery Educator
  • Director of Visitor Experience
  • Audience Engagement Specialist


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Courses and fees

To earn the professional specialization certificate you must successfully complete six units of academic credit (four courses) with online or on-campus course work chosen from the program curriculum. 

= Courses open for registration

Program planning

A different selection of courses are offered every term. To see upcoming offerings, please view the anticipated course schedule. Note that each course will have specific prerequisites/requirements. Please review the course descriptions to assist in your program planning and to be fully informed of any specific requirements for individual courses.

Estimated fees

Description Fee
Program application fee $100.00
Three required courses $2,351.22
One elective course $783.74
Estimated Total $3,234.96*
Fees listed in this section are an estimate. Total program fees may vary depending on delivery format, course selections, student fees, textbooks and taxes.


NEW Deposit/withdrawal fee policy for face-to-face courses only:

All requests to withdraw from a course should be sent in writing to Please include your name, your student number, and the course name or number.

  • Non-credit tuition fees will be fully refundable if you withdraw prior to the course Registration Deadline noted on your receipt. Any withdrawal following that date will be assessed a minimum $100.00 administrative fee.
  • Credit students are required to pay a deposit of $100 at the time of registration  to the Division of Continuing Studies. This deposit will be refunded following the second day of the face-to-face class, so long as the student has not withdrawn. In addition to this fee, regular UVic fee reduction deadlines listed in the University of Victoria Calendar apply. Full tuition and student fees for credit students continue to be payable to UVic Accounting.

Application information

Admission requirements

To be admissible to the PSC in VCE program, applicants must normally:

  • hold a bachelor's degree or its equivalent
  • be admissible (or already admitted) to UVic
  • have a minimum of two years of related professional experience in the sector

Students who are admitted to the PSC in VCE program are eligible to apply concurrently to the Diploma in Cultural Resource Management, and to incorporate the certificate courses as electives for the diploma. Concurrent program students can graduate with both credentials.

How to apply

Step 1: Apply to the program online by clicking the “Apply Online” button. There is a $100 application fee that will only be debited if you are accepted into the program.

  • We encourage you to upload your CV directly on the application form. Alternatively, you may email a copy to the program assistant, Irene Lo, at

Step 2: once you hear back from the office, you must also apply and be accepted as an undergraduate or returning student at the University of Victoria. If you haven’t already done so, please complete the My UVic online application. 

  • For Program of Study, from the drop-down menus, select: Faculty > Fine Arts and Degree Type > Certificate.
  • Select your entry term in the term you will be registering. Please be aware that if you do not register in a course during your entry term, your UVic application will be cancelled and you will need to re-apply.
  • Submit one copy of your official transcripts to the University Admissions office as well. If possible, please notify the program assistant when you have ordered the transcripts so we can alert the admissions staff.
  • Please be aware that you can register for courses before your application is approved. 

StrongerBC future skills grant

The StrongerBC future skills grant is now available in 2024 (January to March) for midstream learners. For more information and eligibility criteria, view the grant details.

Application dates

Starting in
September 2024
Accepting Applications
Apply by
July 1, 2024
Apply online Contact us for more info
Starting in
January 2025
Accepting Applications
Apply by
Nov. 1, 2024
Apply online Contact us for more info
Starting in
May 2025
Accepting Applications
Apply by
March 1, 2025
Apply online Contact us for more info

RELATED TOPICS: Museum and Heritage Studies