The Community Development and Planning (CDP) program prepares current and future community development practitioners, activists, and scholars to take on the challenges and struggles facing urban areas in the United States. In the program, students learn alternative ways of thinking and transforming communities to achieve greater equity and social justice.
We believe that preparing graduate students to become effective community development practitioners requires three main forms of teaching, learning and training. First, students need to understand community development’s policy legacy and theoretical and conceptual debates in the field. Second, they need to acquire a diverse range of skills in areas such as theory application, community organizing, finance, geographic information systems, planning and zoning, and non-profit management,. Finally, students must engage in critical thinking about power, racial, and economic privilege.
CDP students receive a strong foundation based on theory, skill development, and practice. Building on that foundation, students can either design their own area of specialization, or focus their studies on one of the following areas:
- Community Planning
- Enterprise Management and Economic Development
- Community-Based Development and Social Change
Through the CDP program, students will:
understand social, economic, and political forces that shape places,
view communities in a regional and international context,
gain rigorous analytical training to explore and research complex social issues,
gain strong writing and public communication skills,
develop professional practices that trigger social change to improve quality of life, and
be prepared to be leaders in a diverse range of community development and planning arenas.
Sample courses include:
Community Development Finance
Negotiations in Community Development
Grant Writing for Community Developers
Planning and Zoning for Community Developers
Nonprofit and NGO Management Issues
Youth and Community Development
Program of Study
The master’s degree in Community Development and Planning requires a minimum of 12 graduate course units. These include five core courses in community development and two skills courses. CDP B.A./M.A. students are required to take two internship credits. The CDP program culminates in a final research paper or consultancy paper.
B.A./M.A. Timetable for Community Development & Planning
- In the senior year, students take two 200-level or 300-level courses approved by the Community Development and Planning Coordinator. These courses must be eligible for CDP graduate credit and will be credited as two of the 12 courses required for an M.A. degree. We recommend taking IDCE 344 - Going Local and IDCE 346 - Practicum.
- Two credits are earned for year-long internships or approved research projects (post-B.A.).
- In the graduate year, Accelerated Degree student take eight additional courses.
Also required are three electives, such as conflict negotiation, participatory research methods, qualitative research design and methods, community development finance, environmental and social impacts assessments; gender and development, or GIS.
CDP Required Core Courses (5)
UDSC 141 - Research Design and Methods in Geography -covers problem definition, research strategies, measurement, sampling, data collection, and proposal writing.
- explores traditional and emerging theories, debates, and strategies about development of urban communities. Local community development practitioners present a “field perspective.”
- builds skills in field research, applied qualitative and quantitative data analysis, negotiation, and professional report writing as students work as a team on a critical community development project.
- explores the financing roles of developers, community-based community development corporations, nonprofits, businesses, banks, and local governments in community development; addresses financial analysis, strategies to fill the gaps, and ways to sustain projects.
- covers decision options, multiple-criteria analysis, value prioritization, information collection and weighing of its quality and relevance.