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Community Development

The Community Development (CD) program provides current and prospective community development practitioners with a foundation based on theory, skill development, and practice to address the challenges of today’s urban and rural neighborhoods and communities. Students learn and understand how Community Development is the intersection of public health, public safety, education, government, economic development, environment, transportation and housing, and how they all work in concert through course work, field work, and intern/externships.

The CD program provides students with the understanding of how theory connects (or disconnects) to practice and also how policy drives systems change. With faculty who are not only content experts but also respected field practitioners, students learn to critically examine the roles and effectiveness of informal community groups, financial institutions, private developers, local nonprofits, and government agencies in community development. Community Development graduates gain the expertise and ability to become agents of change to positively impact the community development profession.

CD program provides a lens by which graduates can apply coursework and academic experiences to a variety of fields for employment (and/or for continuing their studies) in nonprofit organizations, public health, finance and banking, law and law enforcement, real estate and housing development, city and state government, policy research, environmental justice and education. 

In addition, Community Development students participate in field research and intern/externships that allow them to learn directly from community members, municipalities and public and private partners about their needs, resources, and priorities and how best to mobilize local action to improve neighborhood quality of life and sustainable communities.

Offerings in Community Development include the following:

  • Certificates in Community Development – The Certificate offerings span a variety of sub-specialties, any of which consist of 5-courses/15-credits and are a snapshot into a specific sub-field of study that examines theory, skills, and practice through classroom and field-based experiences. The Certificate can also be applied to the Bachelor's degree in the form of a minor or specialization.
  • Bachelor's of Science in Community Development – The BS degree in Community Development takes a deeper dive into the field by requiring 36 Major credits (12 courses) with expanded opportunities for field-based practice and studying theory and skills development on a deeper level.
  • Graduate Certificate in Sustainable & Economic Development – The post-baccalaureate Certificate in Sustainable & Economic Development provides a snapshot into the graduate-level experience of Community Development by examining high-level systems and intersections in the field which include intense discussions, projects and research to address modern-day issues in local and national communities.