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Environment and Sustainable Development Unit (ESDU)
RCODE Program Description
Program Mission

The program is committed to excellence in teaching and training in community development through a participatory and multi-disciplinary approach, as it strives to graduate actors in community development with up to date knowledge on issues and tools to better assist their organizations and their community in development programs in different disciplines.

Program Aims

The MS. in RCODE aims to train future graduate students and professionals such as planners, extension associates, human service providers, economic development specialists, or other local, regional or state policy-makers, practitioners or administrators, well grounded in development initiatives to enhance their careers in rural development and improve the livelihoods of their communities.​

Program Description and Objectives

The RCODE program combines theoretical and experiential courses preparing graduates who are knowledgeable, relevant and highly marketable. Graduates of the program will build their capacities in community development to better design, manage, follow up, evaluate and monitor the projects either in the public or private sector and both locally, regionally and internationally.

The core program emphasizes community and participatory development, gender issues, social analysis of communities, design and planning, program development and non-profit management, community action research and skills for community change. Elective courses allow specialization in environmental and natural resource management, community nutrition and food security, project planning, sustainable agriculture, communication and development, community health.

Learning Objectives:
- Provide students with sound, holistic and multidisciplinary understanding of rural community development and the complexity of its processes; - Provide proper expertise to analyze, design, implement, monitor and evaluate rural development initiatives in a participatory approach;
- Offer knowledge base to interact (network and communicate) with different actors and stakeholders specifically within the context of community development projects.


The MS in RCODE is a two-year program including the summer semesters, equivalent to 24 months.

Career Opportunities in RCODE

RCODE graduates will find employment in the public, private, and non-profit sectors. In the public sector many agencies provide career opportunities: local land use planning and zoning agencies; rural development and extension agencies dealing with housing, social services, community renewal, parks, nature reserves, and other community facilities; and increasingly, agencies concerned with economic development, natural resource management, and the connections between them. In the private sector, graduates will be employed by consulting planners, private developers, and utility companies. A range of non-profit organizations, environmental and social justice advocacy groups, political associations, and research firms, will also employ RCODE graduates.
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