Program: Diverse Community Development Leadership, M.A.

Program Description

The M.A. in Diverse Community Development Leadership (DCDL) is an interdisciplinary program that prepares students for leadership and community development within the context of highly diverse urban communities. The program provides graduates with both the theoretical foundations needed to understand the dynamics of diversity (such as differences in cultural background and experience, belief structures, racial experience, gender and sexual identity, and socio/economic status) and the nature of conflict. Graduates will also gain the practical skills needed to manage conflicts and work with diverse groups to create a productive, collaborative community that can implement solutions to pressing problems.

A central characteristic of the M.A. in Diverse Community Development Leadership program is its pedagogical commitment to engagement with local communities. Throughout the program, students engage with community partners through experiential learning assignments that advance student learning while also supporting the work of community partners. Students develop both theoretical foundations and practical skills as they learn to address different aspects of community partners’ needs through the perspective of different course topics. The program culminates with a final course where students spend 6 units on a project that is based on community needs. By offering both theoretical foundations and practical skills, the M.A. in Diverse Community Development Leadership program equips graduates to be effective leaders in an evolving and increasingly interdependent world.

This program is available through self support (funded entirely by student fees and offered in a cohort format) in partnership between one of the CSUN academic colleges and The Tseng College.

Program Requirements

A. Requirements for Admission to the Program

To be admitted to the M.A. in Diverse Community Development Leadership program students must meet the following minimum requirements:

  1. At least one of two degree requirements:
    1. A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university with a minimum GPA of 2.5.
    2. A master’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university.
  2. Have been in good standing at the last institution attended.
  3. International applicants must submit an IELTS score of at least 6.5 or a TOEFL score of 550 or above (paper-based), 79 or above (Internet), or 213 or above (computer). Students who did not attend a college or university in which English was the primary language of instruction must demonstrate English language competence on the TOEFL or IELTS.
  4. Submit a one- to two-page statement of purpose for entry into the Diverse Community Development Leadership M.A. program.
  5. Submit a recent writing sample.
  6. Applicants may be asked to participate in an interview with the academic lead of the DCDL program and/or faculty admissions committee.

Application to the Department

Applications will be reviewed by the academic lead of the DCDL program to determine if minimum qualifications are met for entry into the program. Students will be admitted as either conditionally classified or classified graduate students.

B. Classified and Conditionally Classified Status

Conditionally Classified Status

Applicants who do not meet all requirements may, nevertheless, be accepted as conditionally classified students, subject to various university and college requirements for classified status. Students who are admitted conditionally must achieve full classified standing prior to completing more than 12 units of graduate coursework appearing in the formal program.

Classified Status

To meet the minimum requirements for classified status students must attain a 3.0 GPA or higher in all work undertaken since admission to the program.

C. Requirements for the Degree

1. Required Core Courses (24 units)

DCDL 500 Theories in Community Development, Social Justice, and Structures of Inequalities (3)
DCDL 510 History of Diverse Urban Communities (3)
DCDL 520 Issues in Community Development and Empowerment (3)
DCDL 530 Applied Leadership (3)
DCDL 600 Methods: Qualitative and Quantitative (3)
DCDL 610 Communication Skills in Community Development (3)
DCDL 620 Building Community-Government-Private Partnerships (3)
DCDL 630 Organizing in Diverse Communities (3)

2. Culminating Experience (6 units)

DCDL 698 Capstone Graduate Project (6)

Total Units Required for the M.A. Degree: 30


Diverse Community Development Leadership
Graduate Coordinator: Santosh Khadka
Sierra Tower (ST) 834
(818) 677-4337

Staff: Julie Garcia
(818) 677-5943

Staff: Elliott Maude
(818) 677-4607

Program Learning Outcomes

Students receiving a Master of Arts in Diverse Community Development Leadership will be able to:

  1. Analyze and evaluate social, political and cultural factors shaping social justice in diverse communities.
  2. Evaluate and critically reflect upon effective individual and team leadership of community organizations.
  3. Demonstrate ability to use various forms of research to engage in evidence-based decision making in support of a specific community project.
  4. Demonstrate the ability to work with a community agency to develop and complete a project proposal to address a significant need in diverse communities.
  5. Demonstrate the ability to effectively express, listen and adapt to advance the outreach goals of the community stakeholders by using successful communication strategies.
  6. Demonstrate the ability and commitment to learn from and work effectively within and across diverse communities.