Community Development

The specialization in Community Development at Iowa State is offered through the interdisciplinary graduate degree. The entirely online program is a part of the  Great Plains IDEA and there are five participating universities. To see a complete list of courses, visit the Community Development M.S. page.

There is a common fee for students in this program, set by the Great Plains IDEA Board of Directors. Up-to-date information regarding cost for the program can be found here.

As a student in the master’s of Community Development degree program, you have the opportunity to study with leading educators and researchers from several different universities representing a diversity of fields and scholarship, including Community and Regional Planning, Architecture, Sociology, Native American studies, Economics, and Natural Resources. We have designed this program for people doing community development work in non-profit organizations, colleges, communities, community organizations and governments.

Who Should Consider the Program?

We welcome those working in all areas to help communities and regions build their capacity for an inclusive, sustainable future. We welcome those who volunteer their time and resources to support community. Most of all we welcome those with a passion for working toward a brighter future and a willingness to share their experience and wisdom with others via our Internet community.

Why is Community Development Training Essential?

Community Development training is essential because it:

  • Initiates social action processes and helps to maintain balance to improve social, economic, cultural, and environmental situations.
  • Encourages people to see the whole picture.
  • Engages citizens in democratic decision making and action.
  • Teaches critical thought, ethical consideration, careful planning, and involvement of all stakeholders.

This degree is for community leaders, practitioners, and for those committed to people and places. It provides the skills, information, and networks needed to facilitate sustainable and prosperous community change. Finally, this degree program equips practitioners with the tools necessary to build community for the 21st century.

Benefits of this Online Degree Program

  • You will receive a graduate degree from a top tier university, taught by nationally recognized experts in the field of community development.
  • A variety of perspectives and cutting edge material in community development will be explored, through your interaction with a diverse faculty from several different institutions.
  • Networking opportunities will emerge from your electronic learning community.

For More Information

If you have additional questions regarding this online degree program,, or 1.800.747.4478. Also visit for more information.