Program Structure

Degree Requirements

In order to earn the master's degree, students must complete thirteen courses (equivalent to 39 credits), including the four-term project requirement, with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Ten of the thirteen courses are required courses, while the remaining three are elective courses.

Course of Study

The Master of Arts in Community Development Policy and Practice program is structured around four competency areas:

  • Management — including project design, management and evaluation, budgeting and financial management, human resource management, leadership, negotiations, and communication
  • Health sciences — including health policy, health systems design and management, nutrition, population sciences, and reproductive health and basic epidemiology of infectious and noninfectious diseases
  • Social sciences — including economics, anthropology, sociology, political science, and research methodologies
  • Natural sciences and engineering — including agriculture, forestry, water management, energy, and climate and environmental sciences

Successful practitioners must be able to perceive problems from multiple points of view and through a variety of cultural lenses, including traditional academic and policy perspectives, as well as those of the communities and individuals to be served. Viewed in this way, neither traditional approaches (which emphasize theory and disciplinary academic content) nor “pedagogical inversions” (which give primacy to engagement and practice while deemphasizing theory and policy) create well-rounded development practitioners. The program will examine each of the core disciplinary areas within the cross-cutting lenses of theory, policy, data collection and analysis, and practice.

Core Curriculum

The curriculum is a series of courses designed to help students develop and strengthen interdisciplinary breadth and communication and to build program identity and a sense of community. All courses are 3-credit courses. The ten required courses comprise 30 credits in total, and students need to complete three elective courses (9 credits).

The sequence by which students take the ten required and three elective courses depends on the amount of time that they plan to take to complete the degree. There are two options — a 14-month pathway and a 24-month pathway.

14 - Month Pathway

Academic TermCourses
1st Summer Term (on-campus in Durham, NH)Weeks 1 & 2
Weeks 3 & 4
Weeks 5 & 6
Fall Term (online)Late August - early December
Winter/J-Term (online)January (3 weeks)
  •  Elective course*
Spring Term (online)Late January - early May
2nd Summer Term (on-campus in Durham, NH)Weeks 1 & 2
Weeks 3 & 4
Weeks 5 & 6

* Detailed discussion of elective courses is found at the end of this page.

** The SMDP certificate can be taken as an elective course; for details, visit http://carseyinstitute.unh.edu/smdp.

24 - Month Pathway

Academic TermCourses
1st Summer Term (on-campus in Durham, NH)Weeks 1 & 2
Weeks 3 & 4
Weeks 5 & 6
1st Fall Term (online)Late August - early December
Winter/J-Term (online)January (3 weeks)
  •  Elective course*
1st Spring Term (online)Late January - early May
2nd Summer Term (on-campus in Durham, NH)Weeks 1 & 2
Weeks 3 & 4
Weeks 5 & 6
2nd Fall Term (online)Late August - early December
2nd Spring Term (online)Late January - early May

* Detailed discussion of elective courses is found at the end of this page.

** The SMDP certificate can be taken as an elective course; for details, visit http://carseyinstitute.unh.edu/smdp.

As noted above, summer terms are offered on-campus in Durham, New Hampshire, while courses offered during the fall, winter/J, and spring terms (when students are in their home communities) are offered online.

The 14- and 24-month pathways have the same courses during the summer and winter/J terms. The only difference between the two pathways is that students opting for the 14-month pathway take two required courses each during the fall and spring terms, thereby allowing them to complete 39 credits in 14 months. On the other hand, students who choose the 24-month pathway take only one required course each during the fall and spring terms; thus they need two fall and spring terms to complete the 39-credit requirement.

Elective Courses

Students are required to take three elective courses. These courses are offered during the Summer term (on-campus in Durham) and the Winter/J-term (online for three weeks in January). At least three elective courses will be offered during each Summer term, and one elective course during the Winter/J-term. Below is a list of elective courses.