Course Requirements for Students Admitted Prior to Fall 2023

The below requirements are for students who matriculated prior to the Fall 2023 semester. These students will have the option of following the old curriculum or adopting the new curriculum. The decision of which curriculum to adopt will be made only after advising from the Graduate Program Director.

Required courses for students prior to Fall 2023

CLDR 601: Introduction to Community Leadership – Contexts, Models, and Communication

This Introduction to Community Leadership course is the foundational class for the Certificate and MPS in Community Leadership, grounding students in key concepts, skills, and experiences that they will continue to build upon throughout their graduate program and professional development. Students learn the theory and practice of establishing an inclusive learning community with attention to developing leadership skills of self-reflection, deep listening, and facilitation.

Thematic course units investigate core program elements including: (1) Social contexts of community leadership with special attention to urban settings, historical and structural inequity, and asset-based development. (2) Models and metaphors for community leadership, including attention to diverse theoretical and practice-based approaches to leadership with opportunities to explore leaders’ identities and personal strengths. (3) The central role of diverse media platforms and approaches to communication that underpin effective community leadership practice.

In addition to class readings, written reflections, and discussions, students will participate in community experiences to complement their classroom learning. Students will develop a relationship with a community leader and corresponding partner organization. Through regular semi-structured conversations, they’ll have the opportunity to learn and discuss core elements of community leadership. Students will work with community partners to collaboratively design a project that will contribute directly to a need in their partner organization. At the end of this first foundational course for the MPS, students will also create a template for their overall MPS digital portfolio, designing a compelling media platform for planning and demonstrating their best learning and development as they move forward. 

SOCY 600: Research Methodology

This course is designed to advance graduate students’ knowledge of the modes of inquiry in the social sciences and to familiarize them with research methods and techniques.

CLDR 602: Legal and Ethical Issues in Community Leadership

Community-oriented organizations and their leaders have a myriad of responsibilities that involve ethical challenges and legal requirements. This course focuses on the ethical and legal issues faced by organizational leaders and how they make decisions that affect their organizations and the citizens they serve. We discuss race, inclusion, equity and justice as essential dimensions of the ethical and legal decisions that organizational leaders make.

CLDR 603: Capstone Seminar and Project

This interdisciplinary capstone course provides participants with a culminating experience in the theory and practice of collaborative leadership, community-centered social capital development, and culturally-inclusive problem solving. The course immerses students in the theories, knowledge, skills, and affective competencies related to building community assets. A key focus of the course is strengthening students’ capacities to assess and address community problems. The course builds on students’ prior courses in the Community Leadership curriculum to provide a field-level application of their diverse leadership tool kits. 

In addition to class readings, written reflections, group discussions, conversations with guest speakers, and visits to different neighborhoods in Baltimore City, students participate in a collaborative community-based research project. Students work in conjunction with a local community partner organization and an instructor to: (1) explore key issues facing a specific community and organization, and identify a particular topic to focus on;  (2) develop and deliver a research-based intellectual product that enhances the student’s professional development as well as the capacities of the community and partner organization. This is a 6-credit course.

SOCY 606: Social Inequality & Social Policy

This course examines poverty and inequality in modern society. The focus is on describing the extent of poverty and inequality, examining theories that attempt to explain these phenomena and discussing the policies that have been employed to mitigate them. In addition to class inequality, the course will consider racial and gender inequality.

Pathway Courses for Students Prior to Fall 2023

As students enter the program, they will determine a pathway with an additional 12 credits of electives. Working with the Program Director, students will identify an appropriate grouping of four electives, which could include the pathways (described below) in Urban Studies, Nonprofits or Social Entrepreneurship – or a unique pathway designed with the Director. The courses listed next to each pathway are examples. The Program Director maintains a continually updated list of graduate courses that are designated as Community Leadership electives and may fit into your pathway.

Students who have completed certain articulated courses through UMBC’s Institute of Extended Learning (IXL) can receive graduate credit towards the M.P.S. in Community Leadership. Students who have demonstrated mastery through assessments in courses including Asset Based Community Development, Pedagogy and Practice of Place, and Restorative Practices can transfer each course for the one credit CLDR 610: Special Topics in Community Leadership. Contact the Program Coordinator for more information.

Urban Studies

In this pathway, students will understand the economic, political, racial and social dynamics that have shaped cities and created both opportunities and challenges for city residents. (choose any 4 courses)

AMST 682: Research Seminar (Preserving Places, Making Spaces in Baltimore)

Research Seminar on Community in American Culture. Community Leadership students should take the Topic: Preserving Places and Making Spaces in Baltimore

GES 700: Special Topics

This course is provided to allow flexibility in offering graduate-level work in Geography and Environmental Systems not found elsewhere in the course offerings. The topic will be announced prior to the semester when it will be offered. Instructor and topics will rotate each semester. Check with your Program Director for acceptable subtopics.

PUBL 610.02: Special Topics – Urban Sociology & Urban Policy 

Topics selected on the basis of the background and interests of the faculty member and students. Community Leadership students should take the Topic: Urban Sociology & Urban Policy. 

PUBL 644: Urban Theory

This course reviews the main debates in urban theory. Topics include regime theory, economic theories of the city and social theories of urbanization.

SOCY 661: Neighborhoods and Health Inequality

This course introduces students to theories that help explain how neighborhood health inequality is created and maintained. Students will develop an understanding of neighborhood effects that impact individual and contextual health outcomes. The course will also cover core concepts of social and behavioral determinants and how they influence the health of individuals, neighborhoods and populations. Lastly this course will provide students with the ability to analyze social policies that impact neighborhood health.

Nonprofit and Public Organizations

In this pathway, students will understand the roles that nonprofits play in American society, how they are governed and managed, and the different ways in which nonprofits engage the people and communities they serve.

CLDR 610: Special Topics in Community Leadership

One-credit skills courses with multiple topics available. To be counted as electives toward the degree, at least three of these one-credit courses must be taken. Students can receive a maximum of six credits by taking one-credit courses (equivalent to two standard electives).

Certain non-credit articulated courses offered by UMBC’s Institute for Extended Learning (IXL) may be transferred for credit. Contact the Program Coordinator for more information. 

SOCY 681: The Social and Institutional Roles of Nonprofits

This course describes the history, organization and functions of nonprofit organizations in American society. Topics include the functions of the nonprofit, government and for-profit sectors; the history of the social roles of volunteerism and nonprofit organizations; the impact of nonprofit organizations on American society and the changing roles of the three sectors in the 21st century.

SOCY 685: Structure and Function of Nonprofit Organizations

This course analyzes the internal operations of nonprofit organizations and external relationships that nonprofit organizations need to develop. Topics include nonprofit financial systems, budgeting requirements, relationships with the funding community, interactions with government, and effective use of human resources.

PUBL 606: Politics and Administration of Program Evaluation

An examination of the political and organizational processes affecting the conduct of program evaluation and the impact of evaluation on decision-making. Means of increasing the use of evaluation in decision-making are analyzed. 

Social Entrepreneurship

In this pathway, students will learn to apply innovative entrepreneurial models and practices to creating new ways to address cultural, economic, environmental, and social challenges.

ENTR 601: Entrepreneurial Mindset

This course provides participants with the tools necessary for applying entrepreneurial thinking in their work and life. In this course, participants learn concepts for handling the ambiguity inherent in every business plan. The course focuses on increasing a participant’s aptitude for adapting to unexpected circumstances as well as their openness to pursuing untried solutions and innovating within their field.

ENTR 608: Design Thinking

This course addresses the fundamental principles of design thinking, and solving for difficult entrepreneurship and business problems facing early and growth-stage companies. A regional entrepreneurial company will serve as a source of problems for student teams who will take on the role of advisors. 

Prerequisite: Enrollment in the program or at least the second semester of graduate study.

ENTR 611: Project Management Approaches

This course provides participants with the requisite knowledge to explore how agile concepts can be employed to enhance project performance. Participants will learn the roots of the agile movement, key concepts, definitions, roles, and various tools and techniques. 

Prerequisite: Enrollment in the program or at least the second semester of graduate study.

ENTR 612: Creative Problem Solving & the Socialpreneur

This course explores approaches to solve a specific socialpreneurship problem that is too ambiguous, complex, or messy to be addressed directly through traditional strategies. It seeks to increase the participants’ understanding of innovation and creative problem solving, and to enhance the ability to promote these skills in others. Students will work with a local, socially motivated entrepreneur and their organization to develop solution sets to a real-world complex problem. 

Prerequisite: Enrollment in the program or at least the second semester of graduate study.