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Community Development

Program and Application Information
Program Coordinator:Dr. Gary Goreham
Department Location:Minard Hall Rm. 428
Department Phone:(701) 231-7637
Department Web
Application Deadline:International application materials must be received before May 1 for the fall semester and prior to August 1 for spring and summer semesters. Domestic applications must be received at least one month prior to the start of the semester.
English Proficiency Requirements:TOEFL ibT 71; IELTS 6

Program Description

The Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Emergency Management in cooperation with the Department of Agribusiness and Applied Economics offers a master's degree in Community Development. The degree is a multi-institutional, multi-disciplinary, online program in conjunction with the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance (IDEA). Other institutions participating in this program include Iowa State University, Kansas State University, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and South Dakota State University.

The primary audience for this program is community economic development officials and specialists already employed in the field.

The program requires a total of 36 credit hours, including 16 credits (six courses) of core courses, 15 credits in two of the four track areas, and up to six credits of thesis. The four track areas include Building Economic Capacity, Natural Resource Management, Working with Native Communities, and Non-profit Leadership.

Program Objectives

The objectives of the Community Development graduate degree program are to:

  • Increase the skills, knowledge, and competencies of community economic development officials who are currently employed and have limited opportunity to participate in an on-campus degree program.
  • Provide graduate training for individuals entering the community economic development career field who require training/degrees for career advancement.
  • Enhance the community economic development skills, knowledge, and competencies of individuals working with Native American communities, natural resource-based communities, non-profit organizations, and/or state and local government.

Program Requirements

A total of 36 credits are required for the master's degree program. Students will write a thesis or complete a creative component (Plan B) to capstone the degree program, which will be worth six credit hours. The student's schedule of courses must be approved by the faculty adviser and the campus coordinator. Students may select either a Master of Science (M.S.) or Master of Arts (M.A.) option. The M.A. option requirement normally includes two (2) years of a foreign language. This requirement can be satisfied with undergraduate courses and/or a proficiency examination.

Students will be required to take all of the six core courses and an additional 15 credits selected from at least two tracks. 

There are presently four tracks that have been developed from which students may choose. These include:

  • Building Economic Capacity
  • Natural Resource Management
  • Working with Native Communities
  • Non-profit Leadership
Core Courses Credits16
Community Development Orientation
Principles and Strategies of Community Change
Community Development II: Organizing for Community Change
Community Analysis: Introduction to Methods
Community and Regional Economic Policy and Analysis
Community Natural Resource Management
Specialization Track credits 15
General Elective Credits (Choose one of the following)3
Basic Grant Development and Management
Not-for-profit Management
Community Leadership and Capacity Building
CED 798Master's Thesis ( or creative component (max 6 credits))6-10
Total Credits Required36

Natural Resource Management Track

CED 731Ecological Economics3
CED 733Sustainable Communities3
CED 735Policy and Politics of Coastal Areas3

Working with Native Communities Track

CED 721Introduction to Native Community Development3
CED 723Building Native Community/Economic Capacity3
CED 725Wellness in Native Communities1
CED 726Youth Development in Native Communities1
CED 727Indian Country Agriculture and Natural Resources1
CED 728Role of Tribal Colleges in Economic Development1

Building Economic Capacity Track

CED 741Economic Development Strategies and Programs3
CED 742Economic and Fiscal Impact Analysis1
CED 743Cost-Benefit Analysis1
CED 744Local Economic Analysis1
CED 745Land Management Planning3

A sample schedule for a student in the Building Economic Capacity track may look as follows:

First Year
Community Development Orientation1Community Development II3Community and Natural Resources Management3
Community Development I3Community and Regional Economics and Analysis3 
Community Analysis: Introduction to Methods3  
 7 6 3
Second Year
Economic Development and Strategies and Programs3Cluster and Regional Economic Development Workshop3Real Estate3
Impact Analysis3Thesis2Thesis3
Cost Benefit Analysis3  
 9 5 6
Total Credits: 36

For additional information: