Community Development Policy and Practice M.A.

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Community Development Policy and Practice M.A.

Gain The Skills To Make A Difference In Your Community, Today.

The Community Development Policy and Practice program prepares you to tackle complex community development issues by engaging with leading experts and academics in a program designed for working professionals like you. You will learn from seasoned practitioners in subjects ranging from economics and finance to organizational management and environmental factors in development.

  • Gain hands-on learning through an applied yearlong capstone project in your community
  • Connect with respected field experts across disciplines, including faculty and peers
  • Graduate in 14 months (full time) or 24 months (part time), whichever works best for your schedule

Program Delivery & Location:  Academic courses are offered in person on the UNH Durham campus over two brief summer terms and online fall through spring, allowing students to carry out their capstone projects at the location of their chosen community.

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Curriculum & Requirements

Students enrolled in the Carsey School's Community Development Policy and Practice program are required to complete a thirty-nine (39) credit program, consisting of:

  • Seven (7) CORE Curriculum Courses
  • Three (3) ELECTIVE Courses

These provide the foundational analytic, strategic, and practical skills for a successful career in community development, all levels of government, nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations, foundations, businesses, and research institutes. This program will examine each of the core disciplinary areas within the cross-cutting lenses of theory, policy, data collection and analysis as students directly apply what they learn through a yearlong, capstone project in their communities.  Further opportunities for depth and specialization are provided through a variety of elective courses which vary each year.

CORE Required Courses (7 Courses)
DPP 901Integrative Approaches to Development Policy and Practice3
DPP 902Economic Analysis for Development3
DPP 905Fiscal Management for Development Organizations3
DPP 906Organizational Management and Leadership3
DPP 908Policy Seminar3
DPP 910Leadership and Development2
DPP 911Environmental Factors in Development Practice1
DPP 980Project Design3
DPP 981Project Implementation3
DPP 982Project Management3
DPP 983Project Monitoring and Evaluation3
ELECTIVE Courses: Choose Three (3) Courses 29
Total Credits39


Applications must be completed by the following deadlines in order to be reviewed for admission:

  • Fall: March 15 (for Carsey School Scholarship); July 1 (preferred); Aug. 15 (final)
  • Spring: Dec. 15
  • Summer: April 15
  • Special: N/A

Application fee: $65

Campus: Durham

New England Regional: Not Needed

Accelerated Masters Eligible: No

New Hampshire Residents

Students claiming in-state residency must also submit a Proof of Residence form. This form is not required to complete your application, but you will need to submit it after you are offered admission or you will not be able to register for classes.


If you attended UNH after September 1, 1991, and have indicated so on your online application, we will retrieve your transcript internally; this includes UNH-Durham, UNH-Manchester and UNH Non-Degree work. 

If you did not attend UNH, or attended prior to September 1, 1991, then you must request one official transcript be sent directly to our office from the Registrar's Office of each college/university attended. International transcripts must be translated into English. We accept transcripts both electronically and in hard copy:

  • Electronic Transcripts: Please have your institution send the transcript directly to Please note that we can only accept copies sent directly from the institution.
  • Paper Transcripts: Please send hard copies of transcripts to: UNH Graduate School, Thompson Hall- 105 Main Street, Durham, NH 03824. You may request transcripts be sent to us directly from the institution or you may send them yourself as long as they remain sealed in the original university envelope.

Letters of recommendation: 3 required

Recommendation letters submitted by relatives or friends, as well as letters older than one year, will not be accepted.

Letters should include academic and professional references.

Personal Statement/Essay Questions:

Please note that when applying to the Public Policy and Analytics Dual Degree program you will need to provide a combined personal statement - one that addresses the Public Policy program and one that focuses on the Analytics program. This one is for Public Policy. This should be a clear, concise statement of the applicant’s relevant past experiences, including academics, research, and/or work experience. The statement should also include an expression of interests and an explanation of the student’s goals in pursuing a master's degree.

Statements must be included with your submitted application.


Resume is optional but recommended.

Important Notes

All applicants are encouraged to contact programs directly to discuss program specific application questions.

This master's program is a hybrid of online and in person courses. Fall through spring terms are online and summer terms are in person.

International Applicants

Prospective international students are strongly encouraged to complete our international pre-application process and are required to submit TOEFL, IELTS, or equivalent examination scores. Please note that English Language Exams may be waived if English is your first language. If you wish to request a waiver, then please visit our Test Scores webpage for more information.

Program Details

Electives are available in many substantive areas. Topics and courses are added on a continuing basis. In addition, independent studies with leading experts can be arranged to match specialized student interests. 

Students may propose additional electives if those electives make sense in terms of the student’s interests and academic plan. Discussion with an academic advisor should inform this choice.

Elective Courses are offered in many Substantive Areas, including:

  • Balancing Resource Management, Land Use and Development
  • Community Development Finance
  • Community Medicine and Epidemiology
  • Current Issues in Microfinance and Microenterprise Development
  • Environmental Sciences and Infrastructure for Sustainable Communities and Development
  • Environmental Sustainability and Development
  • Financing Development
  • Global Health
  • Housing Development
  • Independent Study
  • Negotiation Strategies
  • Nuts and Bolts of Microfinance
  • Public Safety and Community Development
  • Sexuality and HIV/SIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Social Enterprise
  • Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems
  • Sustainable Engineering for Development Practice
  • Workforce Development

Departments throughout UNH offer Elective Courses, including: 

  • Analytics
  • Business Administration
  • Education
  • Health Policy and Management
  • History
  • Human Development and Family Studies
  • Natural Resources
  • Political Science
  • Sociology
  • UNH School of Law


The Carsey School is proud to partner with like-minded organizations with similar missions and visions to offer education awards to individuals who have served their communities, allowing them to further their education and expand their impact, both domestically and overseas. 

Learn More. 


When can I start the program and what are the application deadlines?

Applicants can apply to start in the summer, fall, or spring terms, by the following deadlines:

Summer Term Start:      March 15th (for Carsey School Scholarship); April 15th (final)
Fall Term Start:               July 1st (preferred); August 15th (final)
Spring Term Start:         December 15th

International students are strongly encouraged to apply as early as possible to ensure visas and other necessary paperwork are obtained in a timely manner. Please contact Sanjeev Sharma, Admissions and Academic Advising, with any questions or to discuss your academic plan.

How do I apply?

All applications are submitted online through the University of New Hampshire Graduate School. Instructions, link to the online application, and list of required documents can be found on the Graduate School’s Application site. If you are unable to apply online, contact or 603-862-1871.

I am an International applicant. How do I apply to the program and attend the on campus summer term? 

All information about the application process for international students, including visas, is available on the UNH Graduate School International Student site.  Because of the short duration of the on campus summer term, a pre-application is not required.

What do you look for in an applicant?

The program looks for applicants who have the proven academic ability to complete a rigorous course of study and ideally one or more years of relevant experience. We evaluate all candidates based on the following criteria: the personal statement, résumé/curriculum vitae, transcripts of prior college and/or graduate schoolwork, and letters of recommendation.

The personal statement is the single most important part of the application. In it you should clearly demonstrate your interest in the program and how it fits into your specific career goals. It should be a clear, concise statement of your relevant past experiences, including academics, research, and/or work experience. The statement should also include an expression of interests and an explanation of your goals in pursuing a master’s degree.

Do you accept applicants directly from undergraduate school? 

Individuals with very strong academic records who have also had significant internship and/or study abroad experience may be accepted.

What is your GRE policy?

The GRE is not required but can be submitted, if desired.

Do I have to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)? 

An international student must submit proof of competency in English. Applicants currently attending an English-speaking graduate school are not exempt. Competency in English can be demonstrated by the following methods:

  • Taking the TOEFL and receiving a minimum score of 550 on the paper test or 213 on the computer-based test or 80 on the iBT. For more information, visit the ETS web page.
  • Taking and submitting results from the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) with a score no less than 6.5. For more information, visit the IELTS website.

Tuition and Payment

I have a sponsor who will be covering the tuition of my program. How should they make payments? 

Please view tuition costs on our Funding Your Education webpageStudents receiving sponsorship by government agencies, companies, or other third parties should forward notices, bill authorizations, or other evidence of the sponsorships on official letterhead to: 

UNH Business Services 
Attention: Third-Party Billing 
11 Garrison Avenue 
Durham, NH 03824 

Full details and instructions can be found on the UNH Business Services Payment Methods webpage

Financial Aid

Does this program offer any scholarships? 

The Carsey School of Public Policy offers a limited number of needs-based partial tuition scholarships to students who have submitted the online application to the Master in Community Development Policy and Practice program. In order to be considered for a Carsey School Scholarship, please complete and submit your Online Scholarship Application Form by March 15. Applicants will be notified if they qualify for an award within two to three weeks after submitting a completed application. We also encourage students who are awarded a scholarship to leverage their award by seeking additional funding opportunities from other sources.

What happens to my Carsey Scholarship award if I need to defer? 

Carsey Scholarships based on financial need are considered and awarded to individuals for the program year of application. If an admitted student who has been awarded a Carsey Scholarship needs to defer his/her start date due to financial reasons, their scholarship application will also be deferred and given priority reconsideration for the new program start date.

What alternative funding opportunities are available? 

We strongly encourage you to look into other outside scholarship opportunities from organizations such as the World Bank, Fulbright, the Ford Foundation, or the American Association of University Women (among others).  Domestic students are eligible for both private and federal loans. More detailed information can be found on the UNH Grad School’s Financial Aid webpage or at Tuition Managmetn Systems.

What if I am waiting to hear about an outside scholarship and cannot submit all the requirements? 

If you are unable to submit all of the documentation necessary to hold your space in the class, please contact promptly to provide details of your situation so that he can advise you on the best way to proceed.

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Capstone Project: Cornerstone to Development

Capstone Project: Cornerstone to Development

Carsey School student determined to help alleviate New Hampshire’s housing shortage...


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April 15 

sUmmer Semester
Deadline to Apply


89 Capstone Projects

In 25 Countries on 5 Continents



Student-to-Faculty Ratio
Capstone Project Courses

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