The Master’s Program in Community Development will be offered at Birzeit University through starting the second semester in the 2021-2022 academic year. This master’s program is the first of its kind to combine in-class learning with community-based development work in the field, with a focus on marginalized regions in Palestine, in partnership with local actors and organizations.
Using interdisciplinary approaches, global and local theories of development, combined with participatory community action research methods and a practicum in the field, this program enhances analytical and practical understandings of how to pursue the challenges of local development in a colonial context. Informed by social justice perspectives, the program builds expertise and hands on experience in the practices, organization, planning, policies, and processes of community-based development.
Incorporating practical field experience into this degree, this MA program takes Palestinian higher education into new directions and opens up new employment opportunities for young people that channel their energies into local partnerships and strengthening community initiatives, local economic development, cooperatives, alternative agricultural practices and water use, as well as other community driven local development processes.
This program will build on and cross-list courses from existing and related MA programs, including the MA programs in Gender and Development, Economics, Sociology and Community Psychology. The program is unique is its practical and applied dimensions; courses will include field visits to facilitate co-learning in the field, guest lectures who are experts in community development and workshops with local communities and grassroots organizations active in the field of community development. In the final year of the program students conduct a final thesis or seminar that focuses on a local problem, challenge or community development initiative in collaboration with grassroots actors and organizations. The Master’s Program in Community Development, is set to begin in Birzeit University in the second semester in the academic year 2021/2022.