Community Development

The specialization in Community Development is a part of an interdisciplinary graduate program through the Great Plains IDEA.  This program is entirely online, and there are six participating universities offering courses, including Iowa State University.  This is a 37-credit program with a 6-credit creative component as a capstone; to see a complete list of courses, visit To apply, please follow the guidelines set by the Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies Program, except that you only indicate Community Development as your specialization.

There is a common fee for students in this program, set by the Great Plains IDEA Board of Directors. This fee is $545 per credit hour; that does not cover the cost of books or materials for courses.

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, please contact Casey Smith or Michelle Zander,, or 1.800.747.4478. Also visit for more information.