Community Development

The IDS Community Development program is a broadly interdisciplinary major drawing courses and faculty from twelve departments within six schools and colleges.

Our degree program is proposed as a field of study within the College of Arts and Sciences and as such would embrace several disciplines in the college and adhere to the college general education curriculum. Our program is comprised by a set of courses that ground theory in practice, emphasize teamwork, utilize the scholar-practitioner model, and forges partnerships with government, industry, corporations, non-profit organizations and community organizations to provide students with hands on experience.

We have systematically linked existing courses at the University as well as developed new courses in order to coordinate and administer a coherent, well-integrated and independent degree program in community development.

The community development degree program at Howard University will have an urban emphasis and will concern itself with urban communities at the neighborhood, city, state, and global levels. The program is focused on issues related to urban policy, nonprofit management and finance, community economic development, community planning, health, social welfare, and education. Communities and organizations in the Washington, DC area will serve as the learning laboratory.


The field of community development embraces such topics as:

  • affordable housing
  • small business development
  • job creation
  • employment training 
  • job placement
  • work support 
  • child and elder care 
  • social services 
  • health care
  • commercial revitalization (with an emphasis on supporting indigenous businesses)

Dr. Zhun Xu
Program Coordinator
Assistant Professor, Department of Economics
Telephone: (202)806-7685

Community Developmet 4 Year Guide for Students

What is Community Development?

Community development is concerned with the building, restructuring and transforming of social and economic relationships in localities where residents are systematically disadvantaged. In this regard, its interdisciplinary framework is inescapable. Out of this framework emerges the compelling pressure for theoretical development that began a few decades ago and continues to flourish in the higher education community. At the same time, the participatory backgrounds of academic leaders in the field help to link community development to our university’s traditional and primary commitment to the promotion of equity in our society and the global community.

Community Development Concentration Requirements