Undergraduate Program Community Development

A group of PSU Community Development students painting on wood outside.

Community Development Bachelor's Degree and Minor Overview

The first of its kind in the nation, our undergraduate program in Community Development prepares students for careers as leaders and change agents in addressing a myriad of social challenges.

The Community Development program empowers individuals and groups of people by giving them the skills they need to effect change within their communities. Our curriculum promotes participative democracy, sustainable development, rights, economic opportunity, equality and social justice. We want to see the changes that you make!

As a multi-disciplinary, social science program, students can customize their focus of study, drawing from the multitude of academic disciplines and departments within PSU’s College of Urban and Public Affairs. In addition to coursework, the Community Development program takes a hands-on approach, incorporating significant field research in which students work with agencies and organizations throughout the Portland metropolitan area.

Degree Details

  • BA
    Bachelor of Arts
    Delivery Method
    On campus
    Total Credits
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  • BS
    Bachelor of Science
    Delivery Method
    On campus
    Total Credits
    Start Term
  • m
    Delivery Method
    On campus
    Total Credits
    Start Term

Learn more about PSU’s academic program delivery methods.

Community Development Bachelor's Degree or Minor: Why PSU?

One of the only BA/BS Community Development programs in the country, we draw on the strengths of the city of Portland as a living laboratory for community development. Portland is a dynamic city with a strong tradition of urban planning, engaged residents, strong networks of diverse community organizations, and a history of struggles and innovations for justice and sustainability. In addition, you’ll learn from a dedicated, diverse faculty that values teaching, and who bring their experience, engaged research, and deep community partnerships into the classroom.

What can I do with a bachelor's degree or in Community Development?

Our graduates find meaningful opportunities to work for positive social change, advance social justice, and environmental sustainability, and support the development of diverse communities. Graduates often are employed by government, nonprofits, social services, educational institutions, and businesses, depending on their skills and experience. Our graduates have found work in organizations like:

  • City of Portland Bureau of Developmental Services
  • Home Forward
  • Columbia Sportswear
  • Mercy Corps
  • League of Oregon Cities
  • Oregon Food Bank
  • YWCA
  • Immigrant & Refugee Community Organization

Featured Courses

  • USP 300U Introduction to Urban Studies
  • USP 301 Introduction to Community Development
  • USP 302 Theory and Philosophy of Community Development
  • USP 313U Urban Environmental Issues
  • USP 325U Community and the Built Environment
  • USP 430 Participatory Research Methods for Community Development
  • USP 440 Measuring People and Communities in the Urban Context
  • USP 452 GIS for Community Development


  • USP 311U Introduction to Urban Planning
  • USP 317U Introduction to International Community Development
  • USP 360/RE 360 Real Estate Finance I
  • USP 419/Soc 441 Population and Society
  • USP 468 Oregon Land Use Law
  • USP 490 Green Economics and Sustainable Development


Portland State University is fully accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).