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.

At UC, you can.

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.

image of buildings in downtown Providence. As the only Community Development degree program in Rhode Island, we prepare you to mobilize, take action to improve neighborhood quality of life and build sustainable communities. Earn your community development bachelor degree or certificate in community development.

 

How You'll Do It

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.

Program Options

Associate of Science in Community Development

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Associate of Science degrees are eligible to students enrolled in a baccalaureate degree program within University College.

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Bachelor of Science in Community Development

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The Community Development 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 and field work. The Community Development program provides students with the understanding of how theory connects (or disconnects) to practice and also how policy drives systems change. Community Development graduates gain the expertise and ability to become agents of change to positively impact the community development profession. At least half of major courses must be completed at RWU.

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Undergraduate Certificate in Community Development

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This professional certificate in Community Development 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. 

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Master of Arts in Community Development

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The Masters of Arts in Community Development prepares students for careers in various urban and rural community-based settings as field experts and leaders. Students will have the opportunity to develop key skills and knowledge that includes project design, planning, implementation, management and evaluation for work in nonprofit organizations, planning, community reinvestment, policy-making and government regulatory agencies, among others.

The M.A. degree requires four (4) three-credit Community Development content courses, four (4) three-credit research and thesis development courses and two (2) three-credit thesis development courses. Final thesis presentations are delivered to the Community Development Advisory Board for successful program completion. 

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Graduate Certificate in Sustainable & Economic Development

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The graduate certificate provides specialized skills at a graduate level. Students will have the opportunity to develop key skills and knowledge that includes project design, planning, implementation, management, and evaluation for work in nonprofit organizations, planning, community reinvestment, policy-making and government regulatory agencies, among others.

The Certificate requires five (5) three-credit courses within the Community Development concentration. These include four required courses and one elective. 

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