The study of public affairs and community development takes place at the intersection of increasingly complex economic, political, legal, and social systems. Our rigorous interdisciplinary program, brings together scholarship and applied research from the fields of public policy, public administration, law, business, and the social sciences to prepare graduates both for further doctoral study or to assume leadership positions in the non-profit sector and government.

Your coursework affords you the opportunity to work closely with first rate research faculty and peers in the doctoral program as you explore the economic, political, social and global dimensions of community development. Click here for a list of course descriptions.

You can also download the M.S. curriculum worksheet (PDF) and the current Ph.D./M.S. Handbook.

*Students may transfer up to 6 credits (2 courses) from another graduate program.

CORE CURRICULUM (7 courses/ 21 credits)

Introductory and Overview Courses (3 courses/ 9 credits)

  • 824:701 Theory and History of Community Development
  • 824:703 Logic of Social Inquiry
  • 824:710 Planning, Markets and Community Development

Methods Courses (4 courses/ 12 credits)

  • 824:702 Quantitative Methods I
  • 824:714 Qualitative Research Methods
  • Students must complete two additional methods courses offered under the 824 Program.  For those planning on applying to the Ph.D. program, we strongly advise taking 824:709 Quantitative Methods II as one of these two courses. 

ELECTIVE COURSES (2 courses/ 6 credits)                               

All elective classes for the Ph.D. curriculum are open to M.S. students.  Masters students, however, are strongly encouraged to include 824:704 Alternative Development Strategies for Distressed Cities and one internationally-focused course as their electives.

PRACTICAL EXPERIENCE (1 course/ 3 credits)

824:706 Practicum/Capstone

This course is required of all M.S. students as a capstone.  It is usually offered in the spring semester through the Senator Walter Rand Institute (WRI) as studio under the supervision of the WRI Executive Director.  It engages students in applied work on one of the Institute’s grants or contracts supporting public or non-profit clients.


* With prior approval of the Ph.D./M.S. Program in Public Affairs Graduate Director, students may transfer up to two courses (6 credits) of relevant graduate level coursework.