Undergraduate Programs

Photo of students painting bike lane on Naito Parkway

Community Development BA/BS

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 myriad social challenges.

In these multi-disciplinary, social science programs, students have the ability to 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, these hands-on undergraduate degrees incorporate significant field research, in which students work with agencies and organizations throughout the Portland metropolitan area.

Major Requirements

The PSU Bulletin is the authoritative source for information on degree requirements. Consult your advisor to make sure you understand which “catalog year” you should be looking at to track your progress toward graduation.

  • CD Core (12 credits) - the foundational sequence, students should complete these courses as soon as possible
  • Methods in CD (16 credits) - learning tools and skills used in CD organizations
  • Areas of CD (12 credits) - discussing major topic areas in the field
  • Electives (12 credits – up to four credits can be in other academic units)
  • Practice in CD (6 credits) - 120+ hours of field experience applying coursework to the real world

Field Experience

All Community Development students must complete 120+ hours of work at an organization that is actively engaged in community development, along with the creation of an electronic portfolio that showcases your professional work.

The field experience seminar (USP 460) may be completed over the course of one, two, or three terms within one academic year (6 credits).  The seminar is not offered in summer term, so advance planning is necessary for students hoping to do field hours in the summer.  Field experience placements must be approved by the USP 460 instructor prior to the start of the term and before the student completes any hours at the field site; it may be possible to combine the CD field hours with coursework in other departments.



Pursue your passion for promoting livable, sustainable cities with an undergraduate minor in Community Development. 

Undergraduates often wonder, “Is it worth it to declare a minor?” If you’re passionate about urban housing or creating sustainable cities and envision yourself pursuing a career related to either of these subjects, then the answer is “yes.” 

Interest in community, real estate, and sustainable urban development has steadily grown in recent years among students. Our urban region has attracted considerable national and international attention and been a center of activity and innovation in addressing the challenges of incorporating these development principles into its planning an professional practice. The minors in Community Development, Real Estate Development, and Sustainable Urban Development offer students the opportunity to focus their education on these important and growing fields.

Community Development Minor

27 Credits

We understand community development as a process in which people act together to promote the social, economic, political, and physical well-being of our community.  Students graduating with a minor in community development will be citizen activists, empowered to take leadership roles in public affairs.  Community Development minors often find careers in not-for-profit organizations, private consulting firms, advocacy groups, and state, regional, and local governments.  Community development practitioners work on a range of issues including housing, community organizing, transportation, the environment, and economic development.

Courses must include USP 300, USP 301, USP 302. A minimum of 15 credits of additional USP coursework must be taken. Courses taken under the undifferentiated grading option (pass/no pass) will not be accepted toward fulfilling minor requirements.


Real Estate Development Minor

32 Credits

Minor Coordinator: Dr. Matthew Gebhardt

The development and management of real estate is a vital function of the urban economy.  The real estate development minor will provide education to students to enter the industry.  Students in the program will develop skills to evaluate real estate development proposals and understand how real estate development fits into regional planning and economic processes.

Required (19 credits):

  • USP 311 Introduction to Urban Planning (4)
  • USP 312 Urban Housing and Development (4)
  • USP 323 Real Estate Development and Finance (4)
  • USP 431/EC 431 Urban Economics (4)
  • USP/RE 438 Real Estate Law (3)

Electives: See Bulletin or website for approved list of electives. Note: additional USP and RE courses may qualify as electives with approval of Program Coordinator.

Sustainable Urban Development Minor 

24-27 Credits

The minor in Sustainable Urban Development will provide students with an opportunity to further their understanding of what it will take to make cities sustainable.  Students who complete the minor will understand the foundations of sustainability, the tools of sustainable development, and the issues and challenges of making places sustainable.

Several of the courses offered in the core and elective offerings provide community-based learning opportunities with community partner's within the region.  In addition, courses will provide an introduction to emerging technologies in "green" building innovations and economic development.

Required (15 credits):

  • USP 313: Urban Planning Issues (4)
  • USP 324: Healthy Communities (4)*
  • USP 325: Community and the Built Environment (4)
  • USP 490: Green Economics and Sustainable Development (3)
  • *Please Note: USP 324 and other courses appearing in both cluster and major/minor listings may only be counted as major/minor credits OR cluster credits, NOT both.

Electives (9-12 credits): Choose 3 courses from the approved list.