Community economic development practitioners who want to earn a master's degree in the field but can't return to school full-time have another option to consider. They can get such a degree from Southern New Hampshire University by taking classes there one weekend a month for four semesters.
The university's National Weekend Master of Science Program in Community Economic Development is believed to be the only one of its kind. It is geared toward working professionals. They study finance, planning, nonprofit management, project development, community economic development theory and relevant technologies.
The students come from as far away as Hawaii for the classes, says Janice Hill, director of marketing and admissions for the School of Community Economic Development at the university, which is in Manchester. The program costs about $10,250, not including books, hotel, food or transportation, she said.
Classes meet one weekend a month, Friday through Sunday. (There are no classes during summer.) Students take three or four courses each semester. They design a project for their own community; the project is developed throughout the program. Students meet with project focus groups for input, feedback and support on the project.
Satisfactory completion of the program requires the equivalent of 39 credit hours of courses. This includes 12 hours for the project that students design for their community. This project is often linked to students' current employment.
Those who have received a training certificate since the year 2000 through the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corp. get some breaks. In the fourth semester of the university's program, they have to take just two courses instead of four, and those two courses can be taken online. They also get a credit of $500 toward tuition in that last term.
For additional information and to obtain an application for admission, call the school at (603) 644-3103 or (603) 644-3123 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.