Leadership & Development

The Leadership & Development specialization of our MA program recruits emerging leaders and development practitioners worldwide who are committed to the well-being of their communities. The learning model is structured around students’ communities, allowing students to immediately implement what they learn while completing graduate study.

This specialization turns practitioners into professionals by focusing on skills in the areas of leadership, entrepreneurship, and technology. It enables students to improve their social impact, while mastering the core set of skills required for effective non-profit management and community leadership. Students examine a wide range of successful projects, organizations, and leadership examples to assist in honing effective communication, facilitation, and management capabilities in order to successfully lead and grow impact within community-based organizations.

The degree is relevant across disciplines, as it focuses on core learning relevant to community change and skills which enable immediate application to addressing community priorities.


Class of 2019 Academic Calendar

Term 1
Feb 26 - June 29, 2018
Term 2
Aug 20 - Dec 21, 2018
Term 3
Feb 4 - June 7, 2019
Term 4
Aug 19 - Dec. 20, 2019
Completed Application Due January 5, 2018

Class of 2020 Academic Calendar

Term 1
Aug 20 - Dec 21, 2018
Term 2
Feb 4 - June 7, 2019
Term 3
Aug 19 - Dec 20, 2019
Term 4
Feb 3 - June 5, 2020
Completed Applications Due July 1, 2018

All students take core courses in applied community change, professional skills related to their specialization, and project-based research through student-directed action in their own community. The university uses a blended learning pedagogy which combines interactive online learning, applied learning in the form of community labs, and optional field residentials. Students will maintain an electronic portfolio throughout the program, highlighting and synthesizing learning and application.


What are the benefits?

  • You don’t need to relocate for this program. Live at home and work!
  • Community labs enable you to apply what you are learning
  • You will join a global network of alumni passionate about improving their communities
  • Optional field residentials both in the U.S. and abroad present best practices in community development
  • Rethink development from a community perspective

What can I do with this degree specialization?

  • Start and lead non-profit organizations
  • Facilitate effective community-action anywhere
  • Lead Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives
  • Influence government policy
  • Be a more effective social entrepreneur

If you’re interested in fostering economic development and sustainable impact, this is the program for you!


Skills You Will Learn:

  • Community Planning
  • Event Organization
  • Non-Profit Administration
  • Financial Management
  • Fundraising & Grant Writing
  • Project Monitoring
  • Impact Evaluation

In Partnership with AmeriCorps

  • AmeriCorps volunteers can complete 2 years of AmeriCorps service in West Virginia and earn your Master’s degree at the same time.
  • Your West Virginia “host” organization will serve as your primary classroom where academic work is practiced through professional application.
  • Volunteers are eligible for significant savings by applying your Segal educational award(s) to the tuition.

Our Partners in Service:


ACC 601
Introduction to Applied Community Change
PSK 601
Non-Profit Management
PRC 601
Graduate Study Foundations
Field-based experiential learning (optional)
ACC 602
Health for All
PSK 604
21st Century Communication
PRC 602
Social Research Methods
Field-based experiential learning (optional)
ACC 603
Going to Scale
PSK 605
Volunteer Management
PRC 603
Monitoring & Evaluation
Field-based experiential learning (optional)
ACC 604
Sustainable Communities
PSK 617
Leading Enterprise, Education & Movements
PRC 604
Synthesis & Integration
Field-based experiential learning (optional)
Questions: please contact info@future.edu

Professional Skills and Knowledge Course Summaries

  • ​PSK 605 - VOLUNTEER MANAGEMENT This course focuses on effective facilitation and leadership approaches to organizing and with volunteers. Students examine the importance of the underlying motivators of why people volunteer, while preparing them with specific strategies for motivating, recruiting, tracking and retaining volunteer engagement.
  • PSK 604 - 21ST CENTURY COMMUNICATION The course introduces students the basic tenants of branding and marketing in the digital era, while equipping them with skills in web design and social media. Students are introduced to various multimedia tools, platforms and practices in order to effectively communicate in the 21st century. With a specific focus on learning to refine and communicate social impact, this course prepares students to use the internet as a catalyst for social change.
  • PSK 601 - NONPROFIT MANAGEMENT This course covers organizational management skills and strategies for making effective plans and partnerships. Students will gain a general overview of financial management and grant reporting to effectively plan, monitor, and evaluate sustainable development projects.
  • PSK 617 - LEADING ENTERPRISE, EDUCATION & MOVEMENTS Students investigate holistically the role of entrepreneurs with business sensibilities and societal empathy in community development. This course looks heavily at the intersection of infrastructure, local economics, and public policy as it serves as a catalyst for impact broader social change. Nonprofit, for-profit, and public private partnerships are defined and analyzed.