Responding to the shifting needs of graduate students, Clark University’s International Development, Community, and Environment Department (IDCE) announces changes to four of its five master’s degree programs. Beginning in fall 2020, the M.A. in Community Development and Planning, M.S in Environmental Science and Policy, MHS in Community and Global Health, and M.A. in International Development programs — which currently take two years to complete — will be updated to enable students to earn their degree in 12-to-15 months. Not only will students reap the benefits of IDCE’s transdisciplinary curriculum, they also will be able to bring new skills to their careers as quickly as possible.
“These changes allow IDCE to retain its unique status as a problem-centered, transdisciplinary academic unit while aligning our degree programs with the urgency of the global challenges we are preparing students to address,” says Edward R. Carr, director of IDCE. “Our degree programs will be more accessible and attractive to students who are at the start of their careers as well as to professionals who might be looking to make a career change. As we expand our online offerings, part-time degree completion will become a more viable option for some prospective students.”
A major change to the program is a reduction in the number of units required for a degree from 12 to 10. Each program retains its academic rigor of core courses and methods/skills requirements while preserving the cross-program, problem-centered, classroom experience that makes IDCE’s curriculum distinctive and allowing students to complete their degrees in 12-to-15 months. While most students will choose to take three courses per term and a single course during the summer, some may pursue a more ambitious schedule, taking four courses each during the fall and spring terms and a field experience course in the summer.
IDCE has further adjusted its curriculum to create three separate degree tracks, designed to provide students with options for completion of an advanced degree, including:
- 10 Unit Degree Option (12-to-15 months) — 10-unit curriculum consisting of three units of core courses, two units of methods and skills courses, four units of concentration courses, and one completion unit.
- Prior Experience Option (12 months) — This option gives academic credit for prior professional work experience, which would allow qualified students to complete an IDCE degree in eight units, or nine-to-12 months. This pathway lets those students focus on building the skills they need to advance their careers and to maximize their impact in the world.
- Research Track Option (20-to-24 months ) — IDCE recognizes that a traditional, two-year residential master’s degree remains attractive to those students interested in conducting independent research as preparation for further graduate study. A research degree track will require 12 units for completion. Under this track, students will complete nine units of work across their first three terms (12-to-15 months). This option differs from the 10-unit Degree Option in that students are required to take a third method or skills course and engage in two units of substantial research in their final term.
Implementing these changes refocuses the educational mission of the department by aligning IDCE’s curriculum with the professional needs of its students. “A master’s degree from Clark University trains students to think across disciplines and professional spheres in a manner that positions them as leaders in the development and implementation of impactful solutions for significant global challenges,” says Carr.