Community Organizing and Development Minor

College of Liberal Arts
Undergraduate minor

About this program

Why a minor in Community Organizing and Development?

The Community Organizing and Development minor is ideal course of study to students with interests in organizing, developing and sustaining community, institutional and social change. The minor provides a holistic overview of community organizing and development 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.

What will I do in the Minor?

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. Students in the Minor will take 20 credits of community organizing and development courses.

What can I do with the minor?

A Community Organizing and Development Minor is an excellent complement to a number of majors. These include:

  • Professional programs such as psychology, law enforcement, criminal justice, human services, social work, and international business
  • Liberal arts programs in history, gender studies, professional communication, ethnic studies, or philosophy

Student outcomes

  • Explore multiple movements, focusing on the practices used not only in the United States but around the world.    
  • Have field experiences in community organizing and development.    
  • Explore the approaches of community empowerment and social justice. 
  • Understand the impact of public policy on low-income populations and people of color.

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Enrolling in this program

Current students: Declare this program

Once you’re admitted as an undergraduate student and have met any further admission requirements your chosen program may have, you may declare a major or declare an optional minor.

Future students: Apply now

Apply to Metropolitan State: Start the journey toward your Community Organizing and Development Minor now. Learn about the steps to enroll or, if you have questions about what Metropolitan State can offer you, request information, visit campus or chat with an admissions counselor.

Get started on your Community Organizing and Development Minor

Program eligibility requirements

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.

Course requirements

Summary (19-20 credits)

Upper Division Courses (15-16 credits):

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.

Full course description for Community Organizing and Social Action

POL 312 Advocacy for Policy Change

4 credits

Democratic governments are assumed to be more legitimate than and preferable to other forms of government due to their openness and responsiveness to citizen influence. Yet many citizens and residents in the United States express feelings of powerlessness when it comes to influencing legislators and engaging in politics. In this course, students will learn about the state legislative process in Minnesota and develop a wide range of democratic skills necessary for becoming citizen advocates and influencing elected officials. Over the course of the semester, students will identify an issue area they want to work in; choose legislation related to that issue area to advocate for; identify and build relationships with community organizations working in the issue area; work in coalition with at least one community organization; develop a range of political communication materials for influencing legislators; and meet with state legislators to advocate for their preferred policies. The…

Full course description for Advocacy for Policy Change

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.

Full course description for Perspectives on Community Development

SSCI 365 Leadership in Organizations and Public Life

3 credits

Students gain experience in applied social science while working as an intern in a non-profit or community-based organization, the public sector, or a social action group. Prior to registering, students meet with the instructor to select their specific internship project. Students supplement their specific field experience with participation in the group internship seminar which meets five times during the semester. Through this combination of extensive community-based experience and guided reading, writing and analysis, students develop their ability to integrate social science theory with community-based experience.

Full course description for Leadership in Organizations and Public Life

SOC 311 and POL 311 are cross-listed sections of the same course. Students may choose either section, but not both.

Upper Division Elective (4 credits)

Students must choose one additional elective related to community organizing and development in consultation with their advisor.