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Community Development Certificate

The Certificate offerings span a variety of sub-specialties in Community Development, 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 practices through classroom and field-based experiences. Any Certificate can also be applied to the Bachelor's degree as a track in the form of a minor or specialization.

Program Description

This introductory certificate is designed for people who are seeking to develop or strengthen their core skills and knowledge of the field. Coursework focuses on the integration between public policy and community-based practice, with an emphasis on preservation and development of affordable housing, managing community-based organizations, programs, and projects and the core theories and principles that guide community development practitioners in their day-to-day work.

Certificate offerings in Community Development include:

  • Housing Development
  • Arts & Creative Placemaking
  • Urban Education
  • Community Wealth Building

The program was designed in partnership with the Housing Network of Rhode Island. Students are expected to satisfy the requirements of an internship with the Housing Network or an affiliated community development organization. This requirement may be satisfied through the documentation of community development employment experience or through learning experiences acquired by placement.



Required courses (5 courses)

CD 220 Elements & Issues in Community Development
CD 350 Housing and Development Skills
CD 351 Sustainable Economic & Community Development
CD 352 Non-Profit Management 

Three (3) Electives chosen by the student and his/her academic liaison, from the areas of leadership and no-profit management; housing, planning and development skills; and community economic and social development.

Course Descriptions

CD 220 – Elements and Issues in Community Development
Overview of the concepts, theories, and applications in the field of community development. This is the foundation course for the Community Development program, but it is appropriate for all students interested in a comprehensive look at the elements required to understand what makes for successful communities, from housing to education, to social services and infrastructure. (3 credits) Fall, Summer

CD 351 – Sustainable Economic and Community Development 
Explores key subject areas related to sustainable economic development, including business creation and retention, microenterprises, co-ops, job creation, asset development, sector analysis, the connection between economic development and social health. Examines the role that community development professionals can and should play in ensuring that economic development occurs in a sustainable manner. (3 credits)

CD 350 – Housing and Development
Skills blends the academic framework of theory and analysis of housing policy with skills-oriented instruction. Using readings, class discussions, guest speakers, lecturers, and class journals, the course explores key subject areas related to housing and development, including housing theory, planning, data analysis, assessment of housing needs, community participation, stakeholders, roles, negotiation, codes, construction procurement, homelessness, financing, foreclosures, tenant and management issues, sustainable design, regionalism and other issues. (3 credits)


CD 352/MGMT 352 – Non-Profit Management
Cross-listed as MGMT 352 The course provides students with an overview of the role of the nonprofit sector in the United States, as well as comprehensive exposure to the various elements of managing a non-profit organization. Governance, personnel, finance, planning and service delivery will be examined and best practices located. Students emerge from this course better able to face the challenges of working in and managing a non-profit organization. (3 credits) Spring