Community Development


The Graduate Certificate in Community Development allows students to explore the urban communities that have suffered from decades of disinvestment and to examine the efforts of their residents to revitalize them. The approach is interdisciplinary, weaving together a variety of perspectives so that students come to understand what communities are and how they differ; how communities fit into broader social systems; and what strategies are necessary to develop communities. The certificate is also applied, focusing on the current issues and efforts of community development in the Tampa area. The certificate is designed to attract students from three distinct pools: 1) students who have completed an undergraduate degree but are uncertain as to the graduate program they want to pursue; 2) students enrolled in USF graduate programs who want to focus on community development, and 3) professionals already working in the field that want a graduate-level credential.

Course location/delivery

This graduate certificate curriculum is offered at the Tampa campus.

Admission requirements

Applicants must hold an earned bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution with a minimum 3.0 GPA.

Application process

To learn about the application process, and to access the application, please review our application process.


None are required


15 credit hours. Four core classes are required along with one elective.

Core Classes:

URP 6313 – Urban and Metro. Economic Development Strategies (3)
URP 6336 – Community Development Programs and Strategies (3)
URP 6930 – CRED Course (Florida Institute of Government) (3)
URP 6136 – Land Use Planning (3)


Choose any 1 course from the list below.

URP 6115 – Planning Policy and Politics (3)
URP 6100 – Planning Theory and History (3)
PAD 6355 – Urban Growth Management (3)
PAD 6208 – Financial Oversight for Non-Profit Organizations (3)
PAD 6339 – Housing & Public Policy (3)
PAD 6338 – Urban Land Use and Policy Administration (3)
URP 6812 – Community Development Planning (3)
ARC 5931 – Sustainable Neighborhood Development (3)

Time limit

Students should complete the certificate in three years.

Credit toward graduate degree

Up to 12 hours of certificate course credits may be applied to a graduate degree with departmental approval

Standardized tests

International students must submit a TOEFL score when English is not the native language. A minimum score of 550 on the paper-based test or 79 on the web-based test is required.


Certificate Director: Kim Lersch
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Advisor: Mark Hafen
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Graduate Certificates
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