Master of Arts in Community and Economic Development

The Master of Arts in Community and Economic Development is designed for those involved in government, not-for-profits, and the private sector who want to be a force for change by advocating for and articulating the needs of a community or group within a community.  In this program, you will develop the skills needed to help bridge and foster connections between local governments, businesses and community groups by learning how to effectively communicate and advocate for resources to address the health and welfare of neighborhoods, schools and cities.     

Drawing on theories of economic and community development and focusing on the importance of linking these two concepts, you will be able to advance in your current career by gaining fresh perspectives and skills for transforming communities and achieving social equity. Students use their knowledge gained from the program, working in community leadership development; housing; neighborhood development, economic development; environmental planning; refugee support; community engagement; arts-based community development, and community resiliency, among others.   

Program Design

The Community and Economic Development program is a 30-credit hour master’s degree taught through online instruction.  It includes a broad examination of the public policy process. Students will examine theoretical development concepts, as well as approaches that real communities have used in an effort to produce positive economic outcomes, as well as improvement in the quality of life of their members. It culminates with a final project that provides the opportunity to examine, in depth, a community development problem or issue. Students can also incorporate an advanced certificate into their degree program and earn a second credential. 

Required Courses

The courses below are required for the degree. An additional 12 credit hours in a focus area are also required.

  • CAED 6010 - Principles of Community and Economic Development 
  • CAED 6040 - Stakeholder-sensitive Business Models
  • PPOL 6007 - Policy Process 
  • PPOL 6030 - Public Policy Analysis
  • PPOL 6021 - Methods for Policy Research (preferred course) or PPOL 6020 - Research Methods (if you intend to pursue doctoral studies)
  • CAED 7010 - Final Project: Community and Economic Development

Elective Courses and Final Project

Depending on their interests, students choose four elective courses (12 credits) to reflect their interests and reinforce their degree's individual focus. They are encouraged to use electives to build a concentration around their final project topic. Many students choose to incorporate one of the advanced certificates into their master’s degree as their focus area. We recommend that students look at the Workforce Development or the Nonprofit Management certificates.  

The final project will focus on some aspects of community and economic development. This allows students to integrate the learning acquired in this program and apply that learning in addressing a community problem or issue.  Typically, the final project takes the form of a policy memorandum, although other formats may be possible with the permission of the academic division chair.

For more information about this program and its course sequencing and descriptions, visit the Empire State University's Academic Catalog.

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