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Transdisciplinary Curriculum

Graduate students looking at a map

Master’s degrees that change lives, including yours

IDCE has master’s degrees designed to address the major social and environmental justice challenges facing our world today. If you have a passion for these issues, and want to roll up your sleeves and make a difference, you’ll feel right at home with us.

The Clark IDCE student experience mirrors the real world where problems are not confined to a single issue. You’ll learn to think across disciplines to shape practical solutions and effect change. Our transdisciplinary curriculum is proven to develop effective thinkers and doers who make meaningful contributions to our world.

We take a problem-first approach at IDCE to identify a pressing issue and bring together a diverse team of researchers with collective expertise to tackle it. Many of our projects build upon long-standing partnerships IDCE has established with community or governmental agencies around the world.

The IDCE curriculum is designed to facilitate collaboration with peers from diverse backgrounds. Together, you’ll address significant, current-day issues that affect people locally, nationally, and internationally.

Focus on what matters to you.

With five degrees and nine concentrations you can choose your path and pursue your passion. Whether you’re in the classroom or the community, you’ll grow as a problem solver and ethical change agent.

IDCE Students are the Change-makers

International Development, Community, and Environment (IDCE) students, faculty, and staff are empowered by the grass-roots social change and community work they conduct as an interconnected academic community.

Understand and respond to the world’s greatest challenge. All people and places are touched by climate change, but impacts and capacities to adapt are unevenly distributed across populations and landscapes, making social equity and justice core concerns.  IDCE’s program brings together environmental, social, and policy scientists to produce collaborative, integrative approaches that improve society’s capacity to understand and address the climate crisis.

  • Gain literacy in the science of climate change and the structure and policy of climate negotiations and finance.
  • Learn how climate change factors into multiple sectors, including health, water, food, urban infrastructure, energy, and conservation.
  • Develop skills in climate modeling in GIS, risk assessment, quantitative and qualitative data analysis, participatory research methodologies, and policy analysis.
  • Opportunities to contribute to faculty research include active projects in the Arctic, West Africa, Ethiopia, Mexico City, and New England.
  • Career outcomes with international organizations like the World Bank, USAID, FAO, and World Resources Institute, as well as state and municipal agencies, climate action networks, and private sector consultants.

Explore how the science and politics of resource use shapes efforts to promote sustainable development. The program critically examines what is being conserved, for whom, and why, exploring issues of power, equity, and justice. Students tackle complex problems through collaborations that integrate multiple ways of knowing and being in the world, including marginalized perspectives.

  • Learn why conservation and development efforts frequently have adverse impacts on human-environment relations.
  • Gain competencies in environmental impact assessment, evaluation of ecosystem services, stakeholder mapping, system dynamics modeling, diversity analysis, and participatory action research.
  • Coursework includes ecology and earth systems science, natural resource management, ethnobiology, political ecology, and sustainable development.
  • Career outcomes with international environmental organizations such as the Nature Conservancy and the United Nations Environment Program, as well as land trusts, environmental advocacy groups, and governmental agencies.

Strive to understand the complex political economy of the global distribution, circulation, and regulation of people on the move today. Immerse yourself in a participatory, community-based, and refugee-centered approach to the field for a comprehensive analysis of experiences of, and responses to, forcible displacement and integration from a mobilities perspective.

  • Learn how policies and organizations designed to manage or assist forced migrants, refugees, and other displaced people intersect with ideas about citizenship, integration, sustainability, gender, development, and belonging.
  • Examine critical policy perspectives, and integrative methods and approaches for research with forced migrant populations, including GIS, and narrative research and analysis.
  • Career outcomes include the pursuit of doctoral or other advanced degrees, or work with international aid agencies, or government, inter-governmental, and non-profit organizations.

Education is one of the most important tools communities across the globe possess for addressing inequity and fostering a more just, equitable, and sustainable future for all. IDCE understands education to be both formal and informal, happening within and outside of schools. Community-based youth development focuses on the whole child and the whole family. Our courses connect these fields and are taught at the intersection of the critical analysis of power and privilege; educational access, justice and equity, gender identity, race and class, and youth development studies.

  • Develop professional skills in program planning and management, policy analysis, advocacy, and organizing.
  • Field-based experience may take you into the City of Worcester and surrounding areas, or internationally to our various field sites.
  • Career outcomes in youth development and educational settings in the U.S., and internationally in communities, schools, governmental institutions, non-profit organizations and NGOs, and philanthropic foundations.

Understand the capabilities of individuals, communities, institutions, and businesses in cities to withstand and adapt to a variety of multi-dimensional shocks and chronic stressors. Through classroom instruction, internships, and fieldwork, students learn to support community asset building, and to address inequitable impacts on different groups in society such as youth, immigrants, women, and other vulnerable populations.

  • Investigate the resilience of urban communities to natural hazards, environmental depletion, economic downturns, social exclusion, and other systemic failures or structural challenges.
  • Acquire analytical and practical tools, and professional expertise.
  • Career outcomes include further graduate education or work as urban and community planners, program and policy analysts, project managers, social advocates, and nonprofit leaders at various levels of government and in non-profit organizations in the United States and abroad.

Monitoring and evaluation teach us about what works in the real world and how to design projects to achieve maximum impact. We prepare students in the current theory, knowledge, skills, and professional competencies necessary for leadership roles in program accountability, evaluation and management.

  • Design and develop M&E systems by determining project specific indictors and understanding and using evaluation frameworks including logical frameworks.
  • Appropriately utilize evaluative thinking and evaluation theory of change frameworks.
  • Develop knowledge and competence in a range of evaluation methodologies including collecting, managing, and analyzing data, and crafting professional reports and presentations.
  • Learn how to work according to the American Evaluation Association’s professional standards and code of ethics.
  • Career outcomes include positions as “monitoring & evaluation officers,” “M&E leads,” or more senior positions such as “M&E Director.”

Examine the creation, reproduction, and reduction of gender inequalities around the world. We bring a feminist lens to tackle global issues pertaining to gender and power. Students interested in gender identity and politics may pursue topics such as access to land and natural resources, power and empowerment, and forced migration and displacement, as well as gender inclusion in the management of non-governmental organizations, advocacy campaigns, and related fields.

  • Learn the methods, tools, and approaches used by scholars and practitioners to conduct gender analysis.
  • Students completing this concentration could be qualified to serve as “gender specialist” or “subject matter expert,” and would be able to pursue careers in education, research, policy and program development, project management, and consulting.
  • Career outcomes include the pursuit of doctoral or other advanced degrees, or work for government, inter-governmental, international aid agencies or non-profit organizations.

Focus on the field of community and global health as it calls for achieving health equity and justice for all people worldwide. Students will learn about the global and local determinants of disease, the barriers to accessing high quality and affordable medical care, the ways communities and governments set health priorities and evaluate health needs, and the role of policy in promoting healthy individuals, families, and communities.

  • Gain an understanding of the national and global burden of disease and the major actors and institutions that influence health policy domestically and globally.
  • Learn how health systems are organized around the world, and how they might contribute to achieving health equity as a community and global health professional.

We inhabit an ever-changing social and natural world that has a profound influence on individuals, households, and communities. This concentration approaches health in the broadest sense, encompassing the physical, mental, and social aspects of the subject.  Human health and well-being depend on a complex interplay among social economic, cultural, and political conditions and the physical environment including indoor and outdoor spaces, and residential and occupational places.

  • Understand health vulnerability in terms of marginalization, poverty, lifestyle, and disparities in access to health-enabling resources and differential exposure to life-threatening conditions.
  • Learn to analyze the origins of health disparities and identify how risk factors and promoting factors vary across populations and landscapes.
  • Examine the intersection of social and environmental determinants of health and work towards health equity in partnership with diverse stakeholders.
  • Recognize and mitigate the impacts these phenomena have on human and planetary health; our research and practice places at-risk communities at the center of study.

Additional information about ongoing research activities related to society and environment can be found at the Marsh Institute website.

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International Development, Community, and Environment

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