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Degree Overview: Bachelor Degree Programs in Community Development

Majors Overview January 30, 2015

Receive information about bachelor’s degree programs in community development and their education requirements, coursework, career choices, and continuing education options.

Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Community Development

Students enrolled in a community development bachelor’s program are taught about the formation of communities and ways of improving land use, in addition to urban planning, group dynamics, citizen participation, and community programs and organizations.

Schools often offer multidisciplinary coursework that involves fields such as urban studies, political science, anthropology, economics, and sociology. Some schools offer concentrations to allow students to focus their studies on specific areas of interest, including community communications, community economic conditions, and housing development.

Several schools offer community development bachelor’s programs under different titles, such as community and environmental planning or city and regional planning. Schools typically offer degrees as a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or Bachelor of Science (B.S.).

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a GED certificate or a high school diploma, in addition to completing preliminary coursework before they can begin core courses. Core coursework may include basic topics in economics, sociology, and politics.


Coursework usually features core courses in the philosophy of community development and organizational theory, in addition to field seminars and social research methods. Students enrolled in programs that don’t offer concentrations are allowed to choose electives aimed at tailoring their curriculum in accordance with their career objectives. Core coursework may include primary topic areas such as the following:

•City analysis
•Communication design
•Natural resource management
•Planning basics
•Urban planning
•Real estate fundamentals

Career Choices

Those that complete a bachelor’s degree may seek entry-level careers in the private and public sectors, including non-profit agencies, consulting firms, and local governments, which would involve working with numerous departments, including economic development, transportation, and housing. They may choose from possible job titles such as:

•Housing program assistant
•Development services technician
•Social science research assistant

Continuing Education Choices

Employers for urban planners and other advanced positions in community development expect candidates to have completed at least a master’s degree program. Several schools offer master’s and doctoral degrees in community development or public affairs, among other analogous fields including the Master of Community Development, Master of Arts (M.A.), and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).

Graduates usually choose a specific aspect of community development, aiming to concentrate their studies and research. Completion of PhD programs may qualify graduates for university-level teaching and research positions.

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