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Department of

Community And Regional Planning

Master of Community and Regional Planning

Community Development Master’s Program

Do you have a professional interest in empowering people to work together for a common future? Do you want to help shape places to be more equitable, sustainable, and just?

The Interdisciplinary Master of Science with an emphasis in Community Development will help you move your career forward.

This online program is coordinated by the Department of Community and Regional Planning in the College of Design at Iowa State University. It is a participating program in the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance (GPIDEA).

Choosing Iowa State University as your home institution will allow you access to the full range of resources offered at Iowa State, including:

  • University libraries
  • Other online learning courses offered at Iowa State
  • Award-winning faculty. You will be able to choose an adviser and a Plan of Study committee from the Department of Community and Regional Planning. Our faculty have expertise in
    • affordable housing
    • community revitalization
    • economic development
    • sustainable communities
    • small town planning
    • public administration
    • community design

The curriculum will bring you current perspectives in all these areas. Faculty from all five universities will also explore issues in political science, sociology, non-profit management, environmental law and tribal programs.

The online nature of this program also gives you a unique opportunity to learn from your peers. To meet some current Community Development students, visit these student profiles:

  • Alan Hardy:
  • David Emery:
  • John Travis Lane:

The Community Development degree is a 36-credit-hour program. All students complete 16 hours of core courses with 20 additional hours of electives.

Core Courses (required for everyone)

  • Orientation to Community Development
  • Community Development I: Principles and Strategies of Community Change
  • Community Development II: Organizing for Community Change
  • Community Analysis (Introduction to Methods)
  • Community and Natural Resource Management
  • Community and Regional Economic Analysis

Elective Tracks

  • Working with Native Communities
  • Building Economic Capacity
  • Natural Resource Management
  • Non-Profit Management

Tuition Information

Please note: All students, regardless of geographic location, will receive in-state/resident-rate tuition.

Five universities contribute faculty and content to the program: Iowa State University, Kansas State University, North Dakota State University, South Dakota State University and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Ready to take the next step?

Please review our frequently asked questions and then contact Jennifer Anderson, Director of Student Recruitment for more information or to set up your visit.


Michelle Zander
GPIDEA College Coordinator
0004 Curtiss Hall, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa 50011

Admissions Information

Community Development Application Information