Policy and Community Development—BS

Building a Better Tomorrow

A degree in Policy and Community Development prepares smart leaders to empower and support healthy communities and smart policies

In the past few years, we've learned to live with a global pandemic and a divisive political environment. We've seen income disparities grow wider and have witnessed social uprisings. All have a profound effect on the financial, physical, and social wellbeing of our communities. How do we leverage this moment to recommit to racial, economic, and environmental justice? How do we make communities work better and be healthier places to live, work, and play? What policies help us get there?

 

 

 

What Will I Be Studying

"Policy" and "community development" are applied, transdisciplinary fields of practice aimed at democratic solutions to social problems. Learn how policy and community development work together to foster wellbeing, emphasizing diversity, equity , and inclusion in these practices. Skills in social analytics support this work. You will:

  • Address pressing social problems and foster healthy and inclusive communities;
  • Promote participative democracy, sustainable development, rights, equality, economic opportunity and social justice; and
  • Empower people and communities.

The degree prepares you to engage in professions in government and the private and non-profit sectors that require:

  • A holistic understanding of social problems, community assets, and related public policy and justice implications;
  • Skills in data analysis, geographic information science (GIS), policy analysis, leadership, evidence-based decision-making, and teamwork;
  • Ability to recognize and support community social, economic, and cultural wellbeing; and
  • Leadership, community engagement, and civic skills.

Questions?

Richelle Winkler

  • Professor of Sociology and Demography, Social Sciences
Image of Michigan tech students analyzing a park and entering data into ipads.
Students analyzing a local park. Later they will apply what they've learned to make impactful recommendations to improve the park and the community.
"It's a really nice feeling to know that whatever you do you're making an impact that lasts a long time....I'm going to do something important."Brooke Batterson '23

Why study policy and community development at Michigan Tech?

  • Applied learning experience: All students have applied learning experiences by working directly on civic projects in collaboration with community groups, governments, or policy organizations,
  • Internships: Work with groups like We the People Michigan and The Nature Conservancy contributing to teams in policy and research, community organizing, or environmental justice,
  • Optional concentrations in law, environment, or health allow majors to specialize in a particular area of emphasis that will support your career trajectory,
  • Personalized education:  Benefit from 1:1 advising and guidance, small classes taught by professors (not TAs) who get to know you, and a flexible curriculum where you can study what interests you,
  • Student enrichment: Expand yourself beyond the classroom with study away and abroad programs, foreign languages, sustainability demonstration house, and undergraduate research,
  • Interdisciplinary study.
    "I fell in love with the campus environment and how the students interacted. The faculty made me feel like this is some place that actually cares about its students."Will Fiedler '22
Image of Michigan Tech students at a L'Anse community center.
Local towns serve as a living classroom enabling policy and community development students to see first-hand how local communities work.

What kind of jobs will I get?

Be prepared to work in a wide range of job fields, including positions in community development, policy development and analysis, public service, corporate social responsibility offices, law, planning, all levels of government and city management, think tanks, nonprofit organizations, advocacy organizations, public health, criminal justice, regulatory agencies, consulting, social justice, diversity/equity/inclusion offices, community outreach, and more.

Students choosing a Law concentration would be well-prepared for Law School and a career in law. Students choosing a Health concentration would be well-prepared for Masters in Public Health programs. The private sector is also expanding employment opportunities in these areas. Corporate Social Responsibility and Community Relations are increasingly central to companies’ missions and a strategic growth area.

There is a growing demand for professionals who understand public policy making and can effectively work with local communities to facilitate effective policy design and implementation.

Salary and job outlook for popular jobs obtained by
policy and community development degree holders
Occupation

Median Annual

Salary (2021)

Estimated Job Growth

(2020 to 2030)

Estimated New Jobs Created

(2020 to 2030)

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2021      
Health Education Specialists/ Community Health Workers $48,860 17% 21,100
Fundraiser $60,660 16% 16,100
Social and Community Service Managers $74,000 15% 26,400
Urban and Regional Planner $78,500 7% 2,700
Budget Analyst $79,940 5% 2,500

 

Analyze data to help plan and build safer communities.