MASTER OF SCIENCE IN

Global Community Development

All graduate degrees

We are here to equip students who sense a personal calling to mission service and who want to help others live an abundant life.

You'll learn to . . .

  • Lead community-based global projects that focus on building sustainable relationships.
  • Improve the lives of at-risk populations by collaborating with indigenous and non-indigenous groups in sharing information, resources, and vision.
  • Train local communities to be able to plan, implement, and assess their own projects.

You'll get hands-on experience

Our program incorporates a strong research component with hands-on experience. We prepare you for employment in a variety of organizations or to direct your own self-supporting ministry. You’ll gain experience in projects involving micro-finance, agriculture, literacy and health education, environmental preservation, artisan crafts, and more.

    • View samples of interest sectors and employer/career options »

    Possible Interest Sectors
    Agriculture Environment and climate change Media relations
    Artisan development Families Nutrition resources 
    Child development Fundraising Peace-building
    Christian witness Food security Shelter
    Civil society Global entrepreneurship Technology
    Community assessment  Health Training and capacity building
    Disability HIV and AIDS Urban development
    Disaster mitigation Human migration Water and sanitation
    Education Literacy  
    Emergency response  Microenterprise  
    Potential Employers and Careers
    Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) HelpAge Canada
    Adventist-Laymen’s Services & Industries (ASI) International Rescue Committee
    Africare Operation Blessing International
    American Red Cross Outpost Centers International
    Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Pathfinder International
    CARE REACH International
    Christian Community Development Association Save the Children
    Doctors Without Borders Fintrac United Nations
    Global Hand World Concern
    Gospel for Asia World Relief
    Habitat for Humanity World Vision International
    GCD Career/job postings
    devex.com
    idealist.org
    reliefweb.int
    • The program equips you with nine specific competencies. View the list  »
    GLOBAL COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT SKILLS AND COMPETENCIES
    1. Christian Witness & Professionalism
      • Ethical behavior
      • Development values (personal mission)
      • Integration of faith and practice
      • Professional decorum 

    2. Advanced Communication
      • Oral speaking/presenting
      • Technical writing (proposals and reports)
      • Cross-cultural sensitivity
      • Productivity (meeting minutes, emails, etc.) 

    3. Use of Technology
      • Social media communication 
      • Geographical information systems
      • Data processing of statistics
      • ePortfolio  

    4. Safety (Personal and Team)
      • Security 
      • Self-care 
      • Health and wellness

    5. Community Empowerment
    • Engagement
    • Organization
    • Civil society building
    • Advocacy
    • Governance building
    • Policy analysis
    • Social marketing
    • Training, planning, and implementation
    • Activity innovation, design, execution, and budgeting
    • Sustainable transition
    6. Leadership
      • Strategic visioning/planning
      • HR management
      • Volunteer management
      • Team building
      • Time management and work organization
      • Conflict mediation
      • Ensuring strategies for empowering vulnerable and special populations
      • Critical and independent thinking

    7. Evidence-based Practice
      • Research methodology (quantitative and qualitative)
      • Assessment and capacity mapping
      • Monitoring
      • Evaluation
      • Standards and best practices

    8. Networking
      • Government relations 
      • Partnerships (public/private)
      • Donor relations

    9. Innovative Entrepreneurship
      • Business enterprise
      • Social enterprise (crowdfunding/fundraising)
      • Resource acquisition
      • Value chain mobilization
      • Supply chain and logistics

How the program works

Most full-time students take five semesters to complete the MSGCD degree. Part-time options are also available. A typical full-time program looks like this:

  • First semester:  Online courses provide the foundation of practical proficiencies such as fundraising, field-based research, and other professional skills. This is Rotation 1—Knowledge Building.

  • Second semester:  Travel to a field-service site for hands-on learning of community-development skills. Spend the 16-week semester working and studying with a local community. This is Rotation 2—Experiential Learning.

  • Third and fourth semesters:  An internship at a carefully selected learning site solidifies your experiential learning and expands your career opportunities and network. You may intern at your place of employment or at a non-governmental organization. These two semesters constitute Rotation 3—Extended Internship.

  • Fifth semester:  Prepare and defend your learning with an ePortfolio. This is Rotation 4—Learning Defense.

 

Eligibility

  • Bachelor's degree:  Bachelor’s degree from an accredited program
  • GPA requirement:  Minimum cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0

Admission process

  1. Graduate application:  Submit a graduate application (with non-refundable fee of $25). Apply now
  2. Transcripts: Submit official college and university transcripts. Many institutions subscribe to the convenient transcript-request service at National Student Clearinghouse, or you may also contact your institution directly. Have your transcripts sent to Melodie Lopez in the Graduate Studies office (malopez@southern.edu). If you earned your prerequisite degree at Southern, you do not need to complete this step.
  3. Recommendations:  Submit two recommendation forms (completed by work supervisors or professors). This may be done as part of the online application process, or Download form
  4. Readiness assessment:  Submit a completed readiness assessment »
  5. Personal statement:  Submit a personal statement. View guidelines 
  6. Resumé:  Submit your resumé or curriculum vitae by email to malopez@southern.edu.

Application deadlines

Term U.S. Residents International
Fall July 1 May 1
Winter November 1 September 1
Summer April 1 February 1

International students

Applicants who are not citizens or permanent residents of the United States are considered international students and must meet additional requirements for admission.

  1. Applicants from non-English institutions must submit certified English translations and evaluations of official university records, including demonstration of the equivalency of a bachelor's degree.
    Transcript evaluations must be submitted directly to Southern from one of the following agencies:
  2. Applicants from non-English-speaking countries must demonstrate English proficiency.
    Unless an applicant is a native English speaker or received the college/university degree from an English-medium institution, s/he must have a minimum TOEFL score of 100. TOEFL scores are valid for two years from the test date. Learn more at ets.org/toefl »

International students enrolling in Global Community Development are not required to travel to the United States, so they are not required to obtain the Form I-20 or F-1 Student Visa, and they do not have to submit the Declaration of Finances.

Course guide

All courses in each rotation are to be completed before advancing to the next rotation.

ROTATION 1—KNOWLEDGE BUILDING Credits
  GCDP 505 Foundations of Christian Values and Witness in Development/Relief  2
  GCDP 510 Theories of Global Community Development/Relief 2
  GCDP 515 Principles of Development Entrepreneurship 2
  GCDP 520 Techniques for Project Planning and Capacity Building 2
  GCDP 525 Methods of Scholarship in Development/Relief 2
  GCDP 528

Preparation for Global Service

1
Knowledge Building Total   11
ROTATION 2—EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING Credits
  GCDP 535 Sector Review of Best Practices in Development 2
  GCDP 550 Community Training and Assessment 2
  GCDP 560 Politics and Legal Issues in Community Development 2
  GCDP 570 Community Organizing and Mobilization 2
  GCDP 575 Community-owned Project Management 2
  GCDP 580 Evidence-based Project Monitoring and Evaluation 2
Experiential Learning Total   12
ROTATION 3—EXTENDED INTERNSHIP COURSES Credits
  GCDP 565 Special Topics Seminar (1 hour each) 2
  GCDP 589 Rotation Transition 1
  GCDP 592 Field Practice Internship (1-6 hours) 1-6
Extended Internship Total   9
ROTATION 4—LEARNING DEFENSE COURSE Credits
  GCDP 599 Learning Documentation and Defense 1
Learning Defense Total   1
  MSGCD Total   32

Faculty

Sharon Pittman
Sharon Pittman

Professor
spittman@southern.edu
423.236.2072

Get started

Your interest is our program is such a blessing! We have an exciting experiential graduate program and are eager for you to explore it further! I welcome your email or call if you have any questions about our innovative Global Community Development program at Southern. It would be a pleasure to support you as you look for the best graduate program options that fit where the Lord is leading you.

Sharon Pittman

Graduate Program Coordinator
spittman@southern.edu
423.236.2072