Students at Thompson Hall

The 14-month pathway includes two intensive summer sessions of four to six weeks and three semesters of online work.

The Master of Arts in Community Development Policy and Practice is a low-residency, 14-month program at the University of New Hampshire that prepares individuals for advanced policy- and practice-oriented work in sustainable community development both in the United States and in developing countries. The master’s program offers an interdisciplinary curriculum, high-level tools, and an applied field project where theory is put into practice. Students are early- and mid-career adults working in a variety of community development fields, and in particular those from public agencies and international and domestic non-profit and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). Applicants to the program come from both domestic and international organizations and work in areas ranging from economic community development, planning, public policy, sustainable community development, environmental policy, public health, education, microenterprise, and more.

A unique feature of this program is that students can continue working while earning their degree. This program includes two intensive summer sessions on our picturesque campus (four to six weeks, depending on chosen electives), set in New Hampshire’s vibrant seacoast region and just a short train ride from the international city of Boston. From September through May, students return to their home communities to work on an applied field project and take online courses with full faculty support–all while maintaining their professional positions. Mentored by the brightest minds in the field, students will spend time as a full class exploring the commonalities in community development policy and practice around the world. Customization of the program is easily accomplished by choosing from a robust offering of electives available.

Applications will be accepted until February 15th for the May 2014 start date.

Master of Arts in Community Development Policy and Practice


  • Educate development practitioners working in non-profit organizations, NGOs, community-based organizations, government agencies, and private corporations, using a peer-based learning framework
  • Promote innovative approaches to community development practices and policies and identifying those that can increase the effectiveness of development practitioners
  • Expose development practitioners to global trends in community development work
  • Using state-of-the-art communication technologies, connecting practitioners to each other and to participants in similar programs locally and across the globe

The program includes courses in the core disciplines of management, policy and social sciences, health sciences, engineering and natural sciences (including forestry, agriculture, water management, energy, climate, and environmental sciences).

Students in the program will

  • Acquire interdisciplinary knowledge and skills through core courses designed to integrate theory, policy, as well as data collection and analysis techniques
  • Develop an understanding of complex issues and challenges through a set of electives spanning engineering, natural sciences, public health, management, and social sciences

  • Apply learning to real-world situations by addressing specific community problems. Engaging key stakeholders, each student designs, implements, and monitors a project over four terms with guidance from experienced field practitioners.

This program meets the practical needs of both students and their employers, enabling participants to join an exciting advanced degree program that will enhance their performance and their commitment to work. Students will gain an array of skills that will help them more effectively meet the challenges in their community development sectors. They will also develop a network of peers and advisors to continue to inform and inspire them.

Social change begins with strong leadership, and graduates of our program will have the tools, networks, and fresh insights to help improve the conditions and opportunities in the communities they serve.  Take the next step in your career and enroll in the Master of Arts in Community Development Policy and Practice program.

To find out more about this innovative low-residency program, visit:

Or, contact Sanjeev Sharma at or 603-862-2821