The Community Development major is an interdisciplinary program that emerged from the work conducted by Rural Sociologists at Texas A&M University. Their efforts became formalized in 2004 with the creation of a research program in Rural Sociology and Community Studies located in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences. Given the importance of the program for the people of Texas and the Nation, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board approved in January 2007, the creation of the Bachelor of Science degree in Community Development to be offered by the department.
Community development is a major that teaches students how to better understand the general composition of communities so graduates from this program can promote local development. The major teaches students to better understand work communities by showing them to collect and understand primary and secondary data, how to identify needs and resources in the community, how to identify stakeholders in the community, how to understand what those stakeholders do and how they do it, and how to help them use and share their resources in effective ways among many other things.
Graduates with a Community Development major will be able to apply their skills to local goals including institutional development; human capacity building; economic development; youth development; poverty reduction; environmental sustainability; land use planning; and other objectives involving the mobilization of local resources based on the premise of local collaboration among community entities.
The curriculum provides students with skills that they can effectively apply in federal, state, and local governmental agencies, community planning firms, municipal departments, non-profit organizations, and even for-profits with community-based interests.
Students who select this major will enroll in a set of core courses in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences. These courses emphasize the importance of parks, recreation, tourism, and youth-oriented programs to community development processes and strategies. In addition, they will select courses specifically required for the community development major in other departments including Sociology, Urban Planning, and Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communication among some.