Community Development or Global Conflict & Human Security—What's the Difference?

Discover Which Program Is Right For You

Thursday, October 26, 2023


Bailey Schott

The Carsey School has expanded its program offerings, adding a fourth degree, Global Conflict & Human Security (GCHS). This addition allows students to explore their public service passions in a global context. While the GCHS program is a unique online program, it bears foundational similarities to the Master in Community Development (MCD) program. Understanding how they differ is important to making an informed decision regarding your education and career planning. These similarities and differences are outlined below.

Master in Global Conflict & Human Security (GCHS)

The Global Conflict program focuses on skills to analyze societal problems and design policies that break cycles of violence and promote sustainable development. Program Coordinator Melinda Negron-Gonzales describes GCHS as "a program for people who are interested in the humanitarian, and development, and peace-building efforts that are ongoing throughout the world, but especially in conflict-affected societies."

GCHS curriculum often brings in concepts of humanitarian needs, sustainable development, and conflict drivers. A combination of theoretical and practical applications of these focus areas helps students to become positive agents of change for social harmony and security.

Master in Community Development (MCD)

The Master in Community Development program focuses on promoting positive change in the economic, social, and political lives of community members. The MCD program is designed to "enrich your understanding of the history and foundations of community development, and enhance your skills in facilitating effective and efficient change in communities," as described by Program Coordinator, Jolan Rivera.

The program combines project development, social research, and financial management to drive equity across the community. The curriculum balances theory and practice to build foundational skills and knowledge.

Which Program Is For You?

graphic outlining the difference in focus, objective and content between the community development and global conflict programs

While both focus on societal problems, each has distinct program features.

APPROACH | While GCHS and MCD are both fully online academic programs, the former is fully asynchronous and the latter is a mix of synchronous and asynchronous learning.

CONTENT | Courses taken in the GCHS program include conflict and human security, global governance, international development and human security, peace and human security in the post-atrocity state, and more. MCD courses include project design and planning, economic analysis for development, organizational management and leadership, and more.

FOCUS | GCHS focuses on the acquisition of theories, policies and practices in good governance to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals throughout the world, but especially in conflict-affected societies. MCD emphasizes the importance of understanding and applying principles, strategies, and approaches to equitable and locally driven projects such as wealth creation, asset accumulation, institution building, and more.

To summarize, GCHS focuses on peace and sustainable development in challenging environments, while MCD focuses on improving and sustaining community-level initiatives. However, while they have distinct objectives and content, they do share structural similarities.

graphic outlining the similarities between the community development and global conflict programs

ONLINE FORMAT | Both programs are offered online, allowing for remote work and a flexible schedule. This format is perfect for working professionals and practitioners.

SKILL DEVELOPMENT | Each program focuses on developing practical skills, from development to implementation and analysis.

MONITORING & EVALUATION | GCHS and MCD both place emphasis on Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E). GCHS focuses on M&E of international development, while MCD students M&E community projects.

AGENT OF CHANGE | Like all of our programs, students in the GCHS and MCD programs are encouraged to become agents of positive and lasting change in their respective fields.

The Carsey Way

These programs carry out distinct objectives and content, but both share a commitment to empowering students with practical skills, emphasizing monitoring and evaluation, and nurturing their roles as agents of positive change. As you navigate the nuances of these programs, Carsey's overarching goal can be seen throughout—to equip students to make a meaningful impact, whether at the local, national, or international level—underlining the value of practical skills and foundational knowledge.

Maximize your abilities as a change-maker. Explore all of our programs