Community Development – Master’s


Create and contribute to community betterment with Iowa State’s 30-credit online Master of Community Development (MCD) program.

Global conditions, socioeconomic inequities and environmental changes are creating challenges for rural and urban communities. The practice of community development has become integral to the livability, resilience and sustainability of communities as our lives have become more complex and unpredictable.

Community developers:

  • Identify and address local issues and opportunities
  • Activate residents in community decision-making
  • Build economically and socially diverse communities
  • Advance and expand local leadership

Admission Requirements

Open to students of all backgrounds, applications to the Master of Community Development are reviewed on a rolling basis with no deadline to apply. Basic requirements for the program include:

  • Admission application
  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent in any field
  • 3.0/4.0 minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA)
  • Official university transcripts
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Proof of English Proficiency (international applicants only)

Departmental financial assistance is not available for this program. Please view the cost of attendance before applying.


The 30-credit program consists of 15 required course credits and 15 credits of elective courses. This is a non-thesis degree with a capstone practicum experience.

The curriculum offers latitude in selection of electives to allow you to design your plan of study to fit your career goals. Students learn history, theory and methods of community development, but have access to electives to explore avenues of learning in fields such as economic development, sustainable development, housing and local leadership development. The capstone experience allows you put into practice what you learned and make contacts and references to further your career upon graduation. View the schedule of courses.

Contact Information

Melissa Stenstrom
Graduate Student Recruiter

Iowa State Online