Wasbash and Auditorium buildings

Location: Chicago
Start Term: Fall, Spring
Program Type: Master's

As an interdisciplinary major, the MACDA combines theoretical, methodological and hands-on experiences to prepare graduates of the program with a range of careers options in the community development sector/industry, many with internal career ladders, including social and community service managers; community development directors; program evaluation managers; professional organizers; community relations specialists; local, state and federal administrators; and non-profit community organization directors.

What Differentiates Us

In The Heart of Chicago

In The Heart of Chicago

The MACDA is offered at Roosevelt University’s historic campus in downtown Chicago, where students from local neighborhoods and from around the globe come together to share their vision for local development and global change. Roosevelt’s location also provides students with access to internships with urban developers, community organizations, government and non-profit organizations, and social and human service agencies. Our students graduate with a “we will change the world together” attitude and the marketable skills necessary for “careers that make a difference.”

Blend Theory & Practice

Blend Theory & Practice

The MACDA offers students the right blend of putting theory into practice and the methodological skills necessary to prepare master's students for the community and service-minded careers they seek. The MACDA will also connect our graduate students to community and policy work being done across several Roosevelt institutes, notably the Policy Research Collaborative (e.g., community-based policy research), the Mansfield Institute for Social Justice & Transformation (e.g., social welfare policy), and the St. Drake Center (e.g., social policy and activism). Faculty directing these institutes will teach in the program, advise students and provide internships for graduate students.

Hybrid Format

Hybrid Format

Core courses for the MACDA are taught in a hybrid format of classroom and online study. In addition, students select their elective credits from a wide range of courses — urban issues, community organizing, health inequalities and social change — taught by Roosevelt faculty and community practitioners and experts.

Expectations & Requirements


The MACDA program is designed as an interdisciplinary, mission-driven 36 credit hour, professional program that weaves together theoretical knowledge from sociology, urban studies and community development; qualitative, quantitative and evaluation research skills; and practical fieldwork in neighborhoods across Chicagoland. The MACDA focuses on development as a process (i.e., developing the ability to act collectively) and as an outcome (i.e., taking collective action that results in community improvement, particularly as it relates to reinventing social, cultural, political and economic institutions).

Students will also have opportunities for experiential learning, internships and fieldwork. This value-added approach increases students' career readiness.

Sample Courses

  • Community Organizing
  • Urban Inequality & Social Justice
  • Social Movements
  • Introduction to Program Evaluation
  • Urban Policy Issues
  • Race & the City
  • Sociology of Mental Illness & Health
  • Social Change
  • Latino Urban Experience
Chicago skyline

Application Process

  • Online Application
  • $40 Application Fee
  • Official transcripts from all previously attended colleges/universities within the United States. Coursework completed outside the U.S. requires a Foreign Credential Evaluation to be submitted.
  • Letter of Intent outlining your personal and professional goals, why you are interested in this program, and how it will help you achieve your goals 
  • English Language Proficiency: All international students and individuals who completed a degree program outside the United States are required to meet this requirement. 

*Applicants with a cumulative GPA lower than 3.0 should submit a resume/curriculum vitae to include record of community activism and two letters of recommendation.