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How Do I Get a Community Development Degree?

Terry Masters
Terry Masters

Students may receive a community development degree at the bachelor's, master's and doctorate levels. The degree has become a popular interdisciplinary option at colleges and universities because of the increased emphasis on public service that has been sparked by the connectivity of the Internet. Obtaining the degree is a matter of identifying a school that offers the degree, applying for admission and navigating the school's academic requirements until you have enough credits to graduate.

Community development as an academic discipline is typically a combination of subjects, such as sociology, politics and economics. International relations and, even, business administration can be added to the mix. In the past, this sort of degree was most closely categorized as urban planning or public administration. These days, community development is a defined program of study that can be pursued to matriculation and studied at the post-college level.

Businesswoman talking on a mobile phone
Businesswoman talking on a mobile phone

It is as easy to pursue a community development degree at the undergraduate level as any other degree. You first must identify a school that offers the major and gain admission. Colleges and universities rarely require you to declare a major in the admissions process, but if you are sure of your path, you can choose to integrate the reasons for your interest into your application. Most schools require you to take an admissions test and to submit an application that details your personal and academic background.

Once accepted into a school with a community development degree, you must complete a combination of required and elective courses to graduate. There are likely distinctions in the program requirements between the schools offering the degree, so it is a good idea to make sure the school offers the type of perspective on the major that suits your interests. Most bachelor's degree programs can be completed within four years.

To pursue a community development degree at the graduate level, you also have to identify suitable schools that offer a master's or doctorate-level degree in the academic discipline. Graduate admission often requires you to take a standardized test that evaluates basic math and verbal skills. You must submit an application and gain acceptance, which is typically based on a review of your undergraduate record.

A master's degree is usually awarded after two years of study and a doctorate after four years of study. The master's degree will prepare you for jobs in the nonprofit and public sectors. Doctorates are usually reserved for people who want to go into teaching or who plan to have a significant impact on the area of study through research, writing or practice.

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