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. Students learn alternative ways of thinking and transforming communities to achieve greater equity and social justice.
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.
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 of community planning, enterprise management and economic development, or community-based development and social change.
Departmental Eligibility Requirements
This program is open to all majors and concentrations in the social and natural sciences, and humanities, especially Urban Development and Social Change, Geography, Environmental Science, Management/Business, Economics, Sociology, Political Science, and Community, Youth, and Education Studies (CYES).
Students are required to meet with the Community Development and Planning Accelerated Degree Program advisor as a formal part of the admissions process. This meeting is intended to assist prospective students in assessing the appropriateness of the degree to their professional aspirations. The student applies to the MA program by completing the Online Application no later than May 1 of the junior year. Please note that application deadlines differ for students who are graduating off cycle (either a semester early or late) or who have advanced standing; such students should contact Graduate Admissions for alternative dates.
Program of Study
The master’s degree in Community Development and Planning requires 12 graduate course units. Students in the CDP BA/MA program are required to take two internship units. The CDP program culminates with a capstone. All ADP students must take the CDP Research Seminar (IDCE 390 - CDP Research Seminar/half unit) either during Spring Semester of their Senior year or during the Fall Semester of their 5th year. In the CDP Research seminar students prepare the working proposal for their capstone.
Prior to Senior Year:
Students must demonstrate before their senior year an interest in community development by taking four courses that are central to the CDP Program. One of these courses should be at the 100-level and three at the 200-level.
Up to three 300-level courses approved by the Community Development and Planning Coordinator. Recommend courses:IDCE 344 - Going Local: Community Development and Planning,
IDCE 346 - Practicum in Community Development and Planning , or IDCE 30240 - Community Development Planning Studio (spring semester)
During the fifth year of study, the remaining required course work is completed, including internships equal to two units.
Students also must complete one Final Project (I unit); there are several options for the Final Project:
- Thesis (after approval of a proposal, with two Faculty Readers) - Typically for those considering a doctoral path or professional research path.
- Research Paper (one Reader) - Typically based on secondary data analysis.
- Practitioner Paper (one Reader) - A deliverable based on the student’s professional experience (e.g. consultancy).
- Collaborative Final Project- (led by faculty) - Tackling larger problems and issues, and providing students with team-based experience that reflects the professional setting.
- A 3rd Methods/Skills focus via extra one Unit/Course and related to the student’s concentration or self-designed course of study/
Students in this program may take longer than the fifth year to complete the culminating requirement. Students must register as a non-resident if they do not complete the requirements in time for August degree conferral. Students have up to one year of non-residency status (fall and spring) to complete all requirements for the master’s degree.
Students will pay a one-time program fee of $1,000 in the first semester of graduate study. Students also pay a $15 graduate activity fee and a $25 IDCE student activity fee in the fall and spring semesters as well as a one-time enrollment fee of $100. Students are responsible for paying for housing, food, books, and other personal items.
Students in the Accelerated Degree Program are allowed two semesters of non-residency status (fall and spring) after the fifth year presumably to complete research and the practitioners report or master’s paper. Please note there is a $200 fee (per semester) associated with the non-residency status registration.
Students are required to meet with the designated program adviser and have them sign the Accelerated Degree Program Adviser Form. The signed form confirms the student and program adviser have discussed the requirements of the program. This form is also available on the Graduate Admissions website.
The designated program advisor is:
Professor Laurie Ross
Your academic advisor will be the faculty person with whom you are conducting your research.
Any students considering applying to the Accelerated Degree Program should read and understand the Accelerated Degree Program Policies and Procedures.