Master of Community Development (MCD)

Program Description

The Master of Community Development (MCD) is a 36-credit-hour program. Full-time and part-time students are welcome to apply. The core curriculum will be taught in an evening, weekend or intensive format geared toward working adults.

The MCD program prepares graduates for a variety of leadership roles in community development, including municipal government, non-profit organizations, social service agencies, and real estate development.

Why Choose Detroit Mercy’s MCD Program?

The Master of Community Development is a one-of-a-kind program not found anywhere else in the United States. While other degree programs concentrate on just one aspect of community development, Detroit Mercy's integrated program emphasizes a comprehensive multidisciplinary approach.

The MCD program offers the following distinctive features:

An innovative educational model designed to support the career needs of a broad range of individuals working in the community development field.

Integrated human, organizational, physical and economic aspects of community development for a holistic approach to developing viable communities.

A program that combines theory with practical application through partnerships with professionals in community development.

Faculty expertise from across academic units to provide a broad, interdisciplinary foundation for creating livable communities.

The MCD program, located in Detroit, focuses on the development of marginalized communities within an urban context, while providing local activists an easily accessible program to address Detroit’s social and physical condition. The program prepares others to work in communities facing similar issues.

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    Admissions Requirements

    Admissions criteria and process

    Applicants to the Master of Community Development program should have a minimum GPA of 3.0* in a bachelor’s or master’s degree program from an accredited institution. To be considered for admission, a candidate must complete the graduate application for evaluation by MCD faculty. The application consists of:

    • Transcripts from a bachelor's or master's program at an accredited institution.
    • Letter of interest, including your MCD concentrations preference(s).
    • Resume, illustrating excellence and accomplishment in academic, extracurricular, service and/or professional endeavors.
    • Two letters of recommendation from employers and/or faculty, including contact information.
    • Test scores (GRE, GMAT, TOFEL etc.) are not mandatory, but will be considered.
    • An interview, facilitated by MCD faculty/administration members, to determine the applicant’s contribution to a unique learning environment.

    Additional requirements may include:

    • An essay exam to determine English language and writing skills.

    *Professional accomplishments in a related field will be considered in addition to GPA.

    For more information

    Contact the Admissions Office at (313) 993-3289 for more information.


    Degree Requirements


    The MCD curriculum has five elements: an intensive introduction, a core curriculum including seminar classes and skills workshops, concentration electives, and a capstone project. The introduction course provides an overview of the four concentrations, while the core curriculum offers a course in each of the human, organizational, physical, and economic development concentrations. The remaining core curriculum explores more complex issues in contemporary community development, including diversity, social justice, regional and global issues and trends. MCD workshops are designed to develop skill sets in areas such as community needs assessment, grant writing, and verbal and graphic presentations. The total credit hour requirement is 36 credit hours.

    Introduction to Community Development—2 credit hours

    • MCD 5010 Introduction to Community Development (2 credits)

    Core Curriculum—19 credit hours

    • MCD 5020 Introduction to Economic Development (3 credits)
    • MCD 5040 Introduction to Human Development (3 credits)
    • MCD 5060 Introduction to Physical Development (3 credits)
    • MCD 5080 Introduction to Organizational Development (3 credits)
    • MCD 5100 Diversity and Multi-culturalism in Community Development (2 credits)
    • MCD 5120 Environmental Social Economic Justice (2 credits)
    • MCD 5140 Regional Development and Sustainability (2 credits)
    • MCD 5200* MCD Skills Workshops (1 credits)

    During the course of the MCD program, students must complete three MCD program workshops of their choice focused on useful skills for working in a community development setting. Topics may vary.

    Concentrations/Electives, 9 credit hours

    A concentration is earned by taking three classes in a particular concentration/elective area.

    Human Development

    This area of study emphasizes the relationship between people and their social and physical environment. Students study human interactions by people of all ages that take place in community settings such as the home, the school and the neighborhood. Social and human services needs assessment is included in this concentration. Suggested courses include:

    • CNS 5360 Counseling Services: Organization & Administration (3 credits)
    • EDU 5140 Society and Education (3 credits)
    • EDU 5820 School and Community Relations (3 credits)
    • HLH 5320 Health Promotion and Risk Reduction (3 credits)
    • HLH 5700 Health Care Delivery & Policy Issues (3 credits)
    • PYC 5000 Social Psychology (3 credits)
    • RELS 5480 Justice: Contemporary Issues and Theories (3 credits)

    Economic Development

    This area of study emphasizes the complex role of economics in community development. Students study an array of issues including job creation, business development and entrepreneurship and their impact on communities. Suggested courses include:

    • ECN 5100 Economic Analysis of Enterprises (3 credits)
    • ECN 5220 Urban Economics and Planning (3 credits)
    • ECN 5450 Economics of the Public Sector (3 credits)
    • ECN 5700 Economic Development (3 credits)
    • MBA 5160 Foundations of Marketing (3 credits)
    • MBA 5620 Entrepreneurship (3 credits)
    • RELS 5430 Ethics and Economic Theories (3 credits)
    • MCD 5290 Real Estate Development (3 credits)
    • MCD 5720 Historic Preservation (3 credits)

    Physical Development

    This area of study emphasizes the man-made environment and its importance to the creation of community. Students study planning and design issues, ecological criteria of design, real estate development and the physical elements that help create a sense of place and identity in the community. Suggested courses include:

    • ARCH 5720 Historic Preservation (3 credits)
    • ARCH 5921 Theory of Urban Form (3 credits)
    • SEC 5240 Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (3 credits)
    • MCD 5290 Real Estate Development (3 credits)
    • MCD 5720 Historic Preservation

    Organizational Development

    This area of study emphasizes how communities can organize to address their human, economic and physical conditions. Students study organizational funding and financing, transformational leadership, organizing volunteer services and working with governmental agencies to create community change. Suggested courses include:

    • MBA 5140 Foundations of Management (3 credits)
    • MBA 5210 Personal Development and Social Responsibility (3 credits)
    • MBA 5250 Organizational Leadership (3 credits)
    • MBA 5680 Diversity in Management and Marketing (3 credits)
    • MBA 5850 Organizational Change and Development (3 credits)
    • PYC 5700 Issues in Industrial/Organizational Psychology (3 credits)
    • PYC 5740 Training and Development (3 credits)
    • PYC 5760 Multi-Cultural Issues in the Workplace (3 credits)

    MCD Internship

    • MCD 5300 Internship in Community Development (3 credits)

    Capstone Project - 6 Credits

    • Capstone I: MCD 5900 Capstone I (3 credits)
    • Capstone II: MCD 5950 Capstone II (3 credits)

    Financial Aid

    All accepted MCD students receive a reduced graduate tuition rate.

    Students are also encouraged to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The Detroit Mercy federal school code is 002323. It is highly recommended that students apply for financial aid at the beginning of the admissions process.

    The MCD program is also approved for the State of Michigan No Worker Left Behind and Michigan Works programs.

    For more information on applying for financial aid, visit the Detroit Mercy financial aid web site.


    Program Contact Information

    • Program Director: Virginia Stanard
    • School of Architecture
    • McNichols Campus
    • LO 118