Community Development, BA

Graduates of the Community Development, BA program will have the technical and interpersonal skills for careers in economic development, community health, and education.


  • This program moves from the College of Public and Community Service to the School for the Environment effective September 1, 2016.

The Community Development, BA prepares students for entry and mid-level positions in community development, such as project development managers, property managers, and economic development specialists, and for graduate education in community development and planning. Grounded in the democratic values of local empowerment for social change, the program places emphasis of the role of community development practitioners to facilitate and promote community empowerment through collaborative practices.


What Students Gain

  • a program with a collaborative learning approach and project-based research
  • small class sizes and ample opportunity to engage with the community
  • application of technical skills in geographic information systems (GIS)
  • a professional pathway for graduates looking to motivate investment and affect change in local and global communities

Curriculum & Requirements

The community development curriculum provides an introduction to the history, theories, methods, and approaches to community development; critical inquiry knowledge and skills applicable to innovation and community problem solving; communication and interpersonal skills to work with communities and mastery through field-experience and project-based learning. The curriculum is divided into two components, core knowledge and skills (15 credits) and an area of concentration (15 credits). Students may select the community health or economic development concentration. To receive your BA, you must complete CPCS core coursework along with the following university and major requirements.

  • 120 total academic credits, at least 30 earned at UMass Boston
  • UMass Boston general education requirements       

CPCS Core Coursework

Along with the Community Development major courses, students must complete the following CPCS foundation courses to fulfill their degree requirements:     

 Community Health Concentration

The community health concentration covers wellness and health as an important component of developing sustainable communities. The community health concentration requires a total of three courses and one six-credit practicum or capstone taken over two semesters, including:        

Economic Development Concentration

The economic development concentration covers theories, strategies, and practices in economic development, with an emphasis on education equity and workforce development, and entrepreneurial initiatives and business development. The courses in this concentration are:


In addition to courses that meet specific general education, CPCS foundation, and major requirements, students are free to take elective courses that complement their work in the major or satisfy any other interests they may have. Students may wish to choose CPCS coursework that complements their major such as economics, gerontology or human services. The rich resources of the college and the university are open to them.


Outside the classroom, students will engage in organized partnerships to apply knowledge and skills learned in the classroom to community development practice.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the Community Development BA Program, students will be able to:

  • Explain the history, theories, methods and approaches to community development in the United States and globally, and apply lessons learned to different cultural, economic and geographic communities.
  • Differentiate various techniques, methods, and approaches  to analytic inquiry and their usefulness to explain complex community issues.
  • Organize, interpret, and present empirical evidence to support advocacy, inform development strategies, and measure their efficacy.
  • Examine diverse positions on contested community issues, including those of different cultural, economic, political, and geographic interests, to find resolutions mindful of diversity.
  • Work in partnership with community organizations and groups in identifying, evaluating, and addressing community development issues.
  • Work collaboratively with government, for-profit and nonprofit agencies, and community residents to achieve resident-driven development goals.

To Apply

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