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Help create resilient and equitable communities

Community development isn’t a one-size fits all endeavor

Community development is so much more than blueprints and zoning. It’s about cultivating spaces where people can flourish. Spaces with enough green space to play and relax. Spaces that offer economic opportunities that allow people to realize their dreams and aspirations. Places where people have access to quality, culturally responsive food, education, healthcare, and housing. At Clark, you will learn about the power structures that shape community spaces, and how to create processes in which community members have a say in those power structures.

Change happens at the speed of trust

Community development happens in the context of relationships. As practitioners, we can’t impose our own visions on communities. Rather, through community-engaged learning, students collaborate with community members and other stakeholders to understand each community’s unique strengths, and then collectively create strategies so that people’s dreams can take root and grow.

Be a partner in a community’s transformation

Grounded in principles and practices of ethical community engagement, we provide students with knowledge and skills in finance, project management, monitoring & evaluation, geo-spatial analysis, and non-profit leadership. These skills are needed to be a practitioner who can be a partner and ally in a community’s transformation.

Department of Sustainability and Social Justice

Our degrees inspire you to develop equitable solutions to urgent social, political, and ecological challenges. Through our program, students are equipped to build a more just and sustainable world.

  • Deepen your knowledge of community development challenges
  • Develop critical skills to catalyze institutional change
  • Collaborate across disciplines to understand and address complex social-ecological challenges
  • Gain real-world experience to build professional skills and knowledge

Critical Knowledge, Skills, and Experience:
The Community Development and Planning Curriculum

Required Community Development and Planning Courses
(Choose 2 units)
  • Going Local: Concepts, Histories, and Strategies of Community Development
  • Community Development Finance
Sustainability and Institutional Change
(2 units)
  • Sustainability Studies: Cities, Regions, Climate Change and Health
  • Social Change and Transformation: Community Power, Community Change
Fundamental Skills
(2 units)
  • Choose from courses in:
    • Project Management
    • Monitoring and Evaluation
    • Spatial Analysis
    • Organizational Leadership
Methods of Inquiry and Subject Matter Electives
(2-3 units)
  • Deepen your skills in Qualitative, Quantitative, or Spatial Analysis.
  • Take additional electives:
    • Planning and Zoning for Community Developments
    • Community Needs and Resources Analysis
    • Housing Policy and Practice
    • Fundamentals of Youth Work
Required Common Seminar
(0.5 unit)
  • Intersectional Analysis (.5)
  • Principles and Ethics in Community Engagement (.5)
Experiential Learning and Inquiry
(1-3 units)
  • Community Development & Planning Studio
  • Global Learning Collaborative in Puerto Rico
  • Internships

Choice of three program tracks

10-unit track completed in three semesters (Fall or Spring start)

12-unit research track completed in four semesters, with students conducting primary research in the summer between their two years of study (Fall start only)

12-unit practice track completed in four semesters, with students engaging in a Global Learning Collaborative, either domestically or internationally (Fall start only)


Join our successful alumni

Our alumni work locally and globally to make a difference in the fields of youth and education, food security, urban planning, affordable housing development, economic and workforce development, and public health. They bring a focus on equity and social justice to their many and varied roles:

  • Associate Director, Economic & Workforce Development, Federal Reserve Bank of New York
  • Director of Fixed Assets, Mosaic Housing, Charlotte, N.C.
  • Senior Manager, Neighborworks America
  • Director of Programs, Girls, Inc. of N.Y.
  • Manager of Fund Development, The Community Builders, Boston, Mass.
  • Senior Planner, City of Worcester, Mass.
  • Director of Organizational Effectiveness, Foodshare, Bloomfield, Conn.

Meet our engaged faculty

Our faculty are engaged scholars and practitioners who work with state and city governments as well as community development corporations and nonprofits. They will help you chart your career path, introducing you to internships in the community and a broad professional network.

Explore the Department of Sustainability and Social Justice