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Preparing Agents of Change

Community Development

As the only Community Development program in the state, we prepare you to mobilize action to improve neighborhood quality of life and build sustainable communities.

How You’ll Do It

Our program provides hands-on coursework and fieldwork, where you take on real projects to make impacts in real communities. You’ll discover how Community Development is the intersection of public health, public safety, education, government, economic development, environment, transportation and housing.

Our faculty are not only content experts, but respected field practitioners. From their experience and real-world knowledge you’ll learn to critically examine the roles and effectiveness of stakeholder groups and gain the skills to address the challenges of today’s urban and rural neighborhoods and communities.


A Providence community

Improving Real Communities

You won't learn how to improve communities from a textbook. You need to be actively doing it as part of your coursework. It's why you will learn directly from community members, municipalities and public and private partners about their needs, resources, and priorities and take on projects to make a positive impact. For example:

  • Last year, students earning certificates in our program, for example, started a weekend food pantry as part of one of their courses after identifying student hunger it as a problem they could help address in their community.
  • Recently, students worked with the Central Falls City Council and Mayor's Office to improve communications between the two offices.
  • In an Introduction to Project Design, implementation & Evaluation course, students surveyed the Mount Hope Neighborhood in Providence to help a local organization determine the most effective role it could play for residents in the neighborhood.

Our students have resume building experience as part of their courses, because they need to be able to hit the ground running when they complete their degree.

Program Descriptions:

  • 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.