Program Overview

The Community Organizing and Development minor is an interdisciplinary minor available to all Metropolitan State University students with an interest in organizing, developing and sustaining community, institutional and social change.


The minor provides a holistic overview of the community organizing and development field including:

  • a focused field experience in community organizing and development;
  • an exploration of approaches to community empowerment and social justice; and
  • an understanding of the impact of public policy on low-income populations and people of color.

All Community Organizing and Development minor courses are taught by faculty members with long track records in the classroom and in the field. All courses incorporate examination of both historical and current forces and strategies in the community organizing and development traditions. Students will see the field and explore movements including: mutual aid associations, settlement houses, the community organizing tradition founded by Saul Alinsky, the community development movement, and the poor peoples and working class movements. Students will explore these developments in the context of globalization and draw connections between practice here and approaches in regions around the world.

More information about this program

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After you are admitted to the university as an undergraduate student, you also need to be accepted to a specific major/program.

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Courses required for your specific program are listed in the right column on this page. They include prerequisite, foundation, core and elective courses. Contact your advisor with questions concerning your degree plan.

The Community Organizing and Development minor requires 19 credits, including a four-credit elective course that is selected in consultation with the minor advisor.

Earning the Community Development Minor

To be admitted to the community organizing and development minor, students must meet with the minor advisor and complete a minor declaration form. The advisor orients students to the minor and provides consultation throughout the program. The College of Individualized Studies notifies students' academic advisors when the minor is complete. The minor is recorded on students' transcripts.

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Course List


Requirements ( 20 total credits)

Community Organizing and Development Minor Required Courses

  • ETHS 309 Race and Public Policy
    4 credits

    This course will examine public policy and its impact on historically and politically disenfranchised communities of color in America, by first understanding public policy as an emerging practice that when juxtaposed with historically emergent notions of "race" in America, offers us a more complete vista of what public policy means (both explicitly and implicitly), an how that policy comes to function (both in the private and public realms of human socioeconomic activity.)

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  • SOC 311 Community Organizing and Social Action
    4 credits

    This course examines the theories, current trends and practical dimensions of how people organize to effect change. Topics include the nature of community organizing, cultural and historical models, issue identification, leadership development, approaches to social power, campaign planning and implementation, and the relationship of community organizing to other forms of social action. The class is participatory and includes intense interpersonal and reflective exercises designed to increase students organizing skills. Students will supplement classroom learning with a case study of a Metro area community organization.

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  • IDST 343 Perspectives on Community Development
    4 credits

    This class will examine theories and models of community development, and introduce students to the realities of community development work. The course explores the history of the community development field from its origins in the late 19th-century urbanization through present innovations fueled by grassroots, foundations and public policy initiatives. The lens of movement and industry approaches will be a key analytical tool. Three traditions in the field community building, community organizing, and community development will be critically examined and compared, including exploring the dynamic relationship between these three traditions. Special attention will be given to community development challenges facing traditionally disenfranchised communities, including factors of race, class and gender. The class will emphasize both a theoretical understanding of community dynamics, ad an introduction to practical skills used by people working in the community development field.

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  • SSCI 350I Social Science Individual Internship
    0 credits

    Students obtain internships in selected areas of study to gain deeper understand of knowledge, skills and the context of a given field. Site supervisors give guidance and direction to customized internship projects. Faculty members serve as liaisons between the internship sites and the university, providing information to students and potential supervisors and supervising the learning experience. Students should contact the Institute for Community Engagement and Scholarship (ICES) at Metropolitan State University for more information. ** Note: this is a variable credit course with credit range of 1 - 8.

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