woman presenting

Certificate in Patient and Community Engagement Research


Offered through the University of Calgary’s Continuing Education and supported by the Alberta SPOR SUPPORT Unit Patient Engagement Team, the PaCER program is a certificate based, three-course program. Learner in the program work together as part of a sponsored team. Teams can be sponsored by academic and clinician researchers, patient and community organizations and provincial and jurisdictional health organizations.

160 Hours Required

Delivery Options: Online

Duration: 10 - 12 months

Intakes:  January and September each year

Program learning outcomes

  • Apply participatory research methodologies
  • Co-design and conduct a qualitative health research project
  • Apply a health equity lens to research
  • Write a formal research report
  • Demonstrate collaborative team-working skills


PaCER timeline chart


Theoretical Foundations in Patient and Community Engagement Research

CPE 221 | 40 Hours | Online

The first course teaches theoretical foundations in theories related to salutogenesis — a health research theory that focuses on factors that support human health and well-being, rather than disease. The course also focuses on the patient narrative and patient engagement research.

Practicum in Research and Consultation Skills In Patient And Community Engagement Research

CPE 219 | 40 Hours | Online

The second course teaches co-design and qualitative research methods. Participants will apply their learning by submitting a research ethics protocol based on their proposed research project and co-design work.

Internship in Conducting Patient and Community Engagement Research

CPE 220 | 80 Hours | Online and field work

The final course requires participants answer a specific research question by conducting a research project with a group of patients.

Graduating from the program

This is an institutionally recognized program and graduates receive a University of Calgary Continuing Education Certificate. After completing the program, PaCER graduates become connected to a large network of professionals who work on research projects and programs related to patient and community engaged research.


  • Learner enrolment in the PaCER Program depends upon the availability of openings within sponsored teams.
  • Individual registration for the PaCER Program is not offered at this time.

Transformation in health care will only happen with the engagement and involvement of patients in the planning and decision making

Sylvia Teare

trained Patient and Community Engagement Researcher

Focus group discussion

Become a PaCER graduate

To express interest in joining a future sponsored team, please contact the PaCER Operational team.