Master in Community Development MA (Online)

Master in Community Development Policy and Practice (M.A.)

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The Summer term of the Master in Community Development program will occur online for 2021 (instead of in-person as it has been prior to 2020). As a result, students can earn this degree entirely online. Using Zoom software and other digital tools, the Carsey School has designed a collaborative, online cohort model that allows students to partake in cooperative learning and exercises while continuing to connect and build camaraderie with their colleagues and instructors. About the Program

Courses: 12/Credit Hours: 36   |    Program Length: 14 Months   |    Modality: 100% Online


Application Deadlines: Dec. 15 (Spring term) & July 15 (Fall term)

WHY GET A MASTER’S DEGREE IN COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT?

Geared toward working professionals, our M.A. in Community Development (MCD) will equip you for a myriad of careers and jobs while preparing you through real-world training and connecting you to community-based partners and practitioners. You’ll learn the basis of community engagement and establish a foundation in sustainable and effective community development practices, all while learning to apply these skill sets across different sectors, including housing, health, finance, business development and more.

WHY CHOOSE UNH’S GRADUATE PROGRAM IN COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT?

In our online community development degree program, you’ll learn from seasoned practitioners in economics, finance, organizational management, health and safety, and sustainable development. You’ll apply effective engagement and problem-solving techniques while working directly with a community on a four-term capstone project. You’ll also grow your professional network, connecting with respected experts across disciplines and continents. Designed for working professionals, this community development program enables you to earn your degree in just 14 months. No GRE is required for this program.

POTENTIAL CAREERS

  • Business development officer
  • Community development director
  • Community engagement coordinator
  • Economic development director
  • Fundraising coordinator
  • International development officer
  • Nonprofit manager
  • Policy analyst
  • Project manager
  • Program coordinator
  • Social impact analyst

Contact

Daniel Bromberg

Director of Academic Programs
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR
Phone: (603) 862-0798
Office: Political Science, Horton Social Science Center Rm 321, Durham, NH 03824

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Curriculum & Requirements

The MA in Community Development Policy and Practice program (MCD degree) prepares you for a career in community and economic development. While earning this community development degree, you will tackle real-world situations through a capstone project and engage with leading experts and academics in a program designed for working professionals just like you. Through coursework and experiential opportunities, you will learn from seasoned practitioners in subjects ranging from economics and community financing to community organizing and public health.

  • Gain effective community development skills and tools through an applied four-term capstone project in your community
  • Connect with respected field experts across disciplines, including faculty and peers
  • Start in the fall or spring and graduate in 14 to 16 months
  • No GRE required

Program Delivery & Location:  Core academic courses for the MCD degree are offered online with choices for taking optional elective courses online or in person on UNH campuses. Students are free to carry out their capstone projects in their chosen community.

Accelerated Masters Eligible: No

MCD SAMPLE DEGREE PLAN: Fall Start (Typical)

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
FallCredits
E-Term 1  
DPP 901 Integrative Approaches to Development Policy and Practice 3
DPP 980 Introduction to Community Development Projects 1 3
E-Term 2  
DPP 906 Organizational Management and Leadership 3
DPP 981 Project Design and Planning 1 3
 Credits12
Spring
E-Term 3  
DPP 902 Economic Analysis for Development 3
DPP 982 Project Implementation and Monitoring 1 3
E-Term 4  
DPP 905 Fiscal Management for Development Organizations 3
DPP 983 Project Evaluation 1 3
 Credits12
Summer
E-Term 5  
DPP 908 Policy Seminar 3
MCD Elective Course 2 3
 Credits6
Second Year
Fall
E-Term 1  
MCD Elective Course 2 3
MCD Elective Course 2 3
 Credits6
 Total Credits36

MCD SAMPLE DEGREE PLAN: Spring Start

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
SpringCredits
E-Term 3  
DPP 902 Economic Analysis for Development 3
E-Term 4  
DPP 905 Fiscal Management for Development Organizations 3
 Credits6
Summer
E-Term 5  
DPP 908 Policy Seminar 3
MCD Elective Course 2 3
 Credits6
Fall
E-Term 1  
DPP 901 Integrative Approaches to Development Policy and Practice 3
DPP 980 Introduction to Community Development Projects 1 3
E-Term 2  
DPP 906 Organizational Management and Leadership 3
DPP 981 Project Design and Planning 1 3
 Credits12
Second Year
Spring
E-Term 3  
DPP 982 Project Implementation and Monitoring 1 3
MCD Elective Course 2 3
E-Term 4  
DPP 983 Project Evaluation 1 3
MCD Elective Course 2 3
 Credits12
 Total Credits36

NOTES:

Students enrolled in the Carsey School's MA in Community Development Policy and Practice program (MCD degree) are required to complete a 36 credit program, consisting of 12 courses and a four-term capstone project:

  • Five (5) CORE Curriculum Courses
  • Four (4) EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING Courses
  • Three (3) ELECTIVE Courses

These provide the applied foundational community and economic development skills in strategy, practice, and analysis for a successful career in community development. In this program, students will examine each of the core interdisciplinary areas within the cross-cutting lenses of public policy, data collection, and analysis as students directly apply what they learn in the classroom through a capstone project centered on community engagement for sustainable development. Further opportunities for depth and specialization are provided through a variety of elective courses which vary each year as well as the opportunity to conduct independent studies to delve deeper into a specific aspect of a student's community or capstone project.

CORE Required Courses (5 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
EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING Courses (4 Courses) 1
DPP 980Introduction to Community Development Projects3
DPP 981Project Design and Planning3
DPP 982Project Implementation and Monitoring3
DPP 983Project Evaluation3
ELECTIVE Courses: Choose Three (3) 3-Credit Courses 29
DPP #903
Global Health
DPP #904
Environmental Sustainability and Development
DPP 911
Environmental Factors in Development Practice
DPP 951
Nuts and Bolts of Microfinance
DPP 953
Community Medicine and Epidemiology
DPP #954
Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems
DPP 956
Housing Development
DPP #958
Financing Development
DPP 960
Social Enterprise
DPP 961
Community Development Finance
DPP 962
Public Safety and Community Development
DPP 990
Independent Study
Total Credits36
  • Develop interdisciplinary knowledge and skills to integrate theory, policy, data collection, and analysis.

  • Acquire an understanding of complex development issues and problems.

  • Apply learning to real-world situations.

  • Effectively communicate findings to various audiences both verbally and in writing.

Deadlines

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

  • Fall:  July 15 (preferred July 1)
  • Spring: December 15 (preferred December 1)
  • Summer: April 15 (preferred April 1)
  • 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.

Transcripts

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 grad.school@unh.edu. 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.

Transcripts are required for any school you earned a degree from, attended for at least one year, or attended for 2 or more semesters. Exceptions to this rule may be approved at the discretion of the program you are applying to and the UNH Graduate School Admission’s office.

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

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 contact Carsey Admissions prior to starting their application and to apply as early as possible to insure visa’s and other necessary paperwork are received in a timely manner. All international applicants 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.

After acceptance of admission into the program, international students will receive an email from the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS). This email will ask you to complete a form online and upload necessary documents such as a passport, proof of financial support and other pertinent information. International students will also be required to purchase Travel Health Insurance if medical coverage for travel within the United States is not provided by your organization (must include: medical evacuation and repatriation). For information on additional international student requirements and documents that may be needed, please consult the UNH International Students website.

Note: international applicants are not required to complete a preapplication for this program.

Explore Program Details

The Master in Community Development for Working Professionals – Application Process & Financial Aid

Michael Swack, Director of the Master in Community Development (MCD) program at the Carsey School of Public Policy, and Robin Husslage, Program Coordinator, discuss the MCD program, in particular applying to the degree and securing financial aid.

Application

When can I start the Masters in Community Development 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); July 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 to the Master of Community Development?

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 Sanjeev.Sharma@unh.edu 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 Master of Community Development 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.

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 webpage. Students 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

Meet Alena Klimas, Master in Community Development Student

Alena Klimas of West Virginia focuses on serving rural communities in and around the Appalachia region by connecting small-town nonprofits and community organizations to large national and regional funders and foundations. Her capstone project within the Master in Community Development (MCD) program maintains a similar focus.

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 Management 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 Sanjeev.Sharma@unh.edu promptly to provide details of your situation so that he can advise you on the best way to proceed.

Education Awards

The Carsey School is proud to partner with public service organizations nationwide, enabling students to build upon their valued experiences by furthering their public service education and expanding their impact. These graduate school partners offer funding to employees, members, and alumni of their own credentialing programs. Education awards are also available for specific groups. Learn more


Partnership-based awards

Students who have successfully completed the Semester in the City program through the College For Social Innovation are eligible to receive a $5,000 education award towards their degree at Carsey. Apply towards the MPA, MPP, or MCD degrees.
City Year corps members and alumni are eligible to receive up to $7,000 in tuition through Carsey's City Year Alumni University Partnership program. Apply towards the MPA, MPP, or MCD degrees.
AmeriCorps Alumni are eligible to receive one full-time Segal AmeriCorps Education Award match – which when combined with the Segal Award can amount up to 50% in tuition to the Carsey School. Apply towards the MPA, MPP, or MCD degrees.
Eligible employees and board members of OFN and OFN Member CDFIs may receive a $2,500 education award toward their Carsey degree. Apply toward the Master in Community Development program only.
Employees and board members of NeighborWorks® and NeighborWorks® member organizations may be eligible for up to $2,500, and students who have earned a NeighborWorks® Professional Certificate may be eligible to receive up to 6 graduate-level credits (2 courses), toward the MCD program only.
Students who have achieved a Professional Certification from the National Development Council can receive up to 6 graduate-level credits (2 courses) toward their degree when enrolled at Carsey. Apply toward the Master in Community Development program only.
Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) employees may receive up to$5,000 in education awards, as well as a $3,500 in tuition reimbursement per calendar year from LISC while enrolled at Carsey. Apply toward the Master in Community Development program only.
Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) who enroll via the Coverdell Fellows program are eligible to receive an $8,000 education award. Apply towards the MPA, MPP, or MCD degrees.
City of Concord employees may be eligible for up to $5,000 in education awards in a matching scholarship available between the Carsey School and the City of Concord. Apply towards the MPA, MPP, or MCD degrees.

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.


Partnership Programs

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

MCD Faculty

  • Community and Economic Development Program Leader
    "I am inspired by selfless leadership by individuals who do not covet attention, but simply want to make positive change."       ~Charlie French
    Community and Economic Development Program Leader
    "I am inspired by selfless leadership by individuals who do not covet attention, but simply want to make positive change."       ~Charlie French
  • "Genuine, empathetic and passionate people inspire my work."       ~Jolan Rivera
    "Genuine, empathetic and passionate people inspire my work."       ~Jolan Rivera
  • Senior Research Fellow
    "I am lucky enough to work with inspirational leaders in community development every day."       ~Eric Hangen
    Senior Research Fellow
    "I am lucky enough to work with inspirational leaders in community development every day."       ~Eric Hangen
  • MCD Director Wins Lifetime Award
    "Over the whole of his career, Michael has been a critical influence on practitioners and students of community development. We honor his trailblazing accomplishments and his lasting legacy with this award."
    MCD Director Wins Lifetime Award
    "Over the whole of his career, Michael has been a critical influence on practitioners and students of community development. We honor his trailblazing accomplishments and his lasting legacy with this award."

Meet Our Students

  • With MCD Student Lindsey Hajduk
    "The MCD Program will give me tools and strategies to create a safe, connected community where everyone has a place to call home."       ~(MCD) Student Lindsey Hajduk — Anchorage, AK
    With MCD Student Lindsey Hajduk
    "The MCD Program will give me tools and strategies to create a safe, connected community where everyone has a place to call home."       ~(MCD) Student Lindsey Hajduk — Anchorage, AK
  • With MCD Student Matthew Parker
    "I am pursuing the Masters in Community Development to build out the tools I believe necessary to lead the Union of Minority Neighborhoods and to be an example to my children."       ~(MCD) Student Matthew Parker — Boston, MA
    With MCD Student Matthew Parker
    "I am pursuing the Masters in Community Development to build out the tools I believe necessary to lead the Union of Minority Neighborhoods and to be an example to my children."       ~(MCD) Student Matthew Parker — Boston, MA
  • With MCD Student Jessica Martin
    "I have a passion for housing issues, regional economic development, supporting under-served populations and transit related issues."       ~(MCD) Student Jessica Martin — Manchester, NH
    With MCD Student Jessica Martin
    "I have a passion for housing issues, regional economic development, supporting under-served populations and transit related issues."       ~(MCD) Student Jessica Martin — Manchester, NH
  • With MCD Student Leo'el Jackson
    "Since graduating from college, my main focus has been on keeping people in their homes and creating housing opportunities for people who do not have a home."       ~(MCD) Student Leo'el Jackson — Rochester, NY
    With MCD Student Leo'el Jackson
    "Since graduating from college, my main focus has been on keeping people in their homes and creating housing opportunities for people who do not have a home."       ~(MCD) Student Leo'el Jackson — Rochester, NY
  • With MCD Student Jacqueline Walker
    "I'm looking forward to learning more about how to make lasting and sustainable change for a world that is more equitable for all."       ~(MCD) Student Jacqueline Walker — Dover, NH
    With MCD Student Jacqueline Walker
    "I'm looking forward to learning more about how to make lasting and sustainable change for a world that is more equitable for all."       ~(MCD) Student Jacqueline Walker — Dover, NH