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AcademicsUndergraduate Majors

Community & Organizational Development, BS

Community & Organizational Development prepares students to advance positive societal change through communities and organizations.

The Bachelor in Science degree in Community & Organizational Development prepares students for a variety of careers spanning community and organizational development, nonprofit management, executive leadership, social justice activism, community organizing, social entrepreneurship, corporate social responsibility, higher education, government, philanthropy, social service agencies and more.

With the ability to tailor learning and career pathways, the program also offers excellent preparation for graduate school in areas such as law, medical and public health advocacy, public policy, human ecology and more.

Students tackle community, organizational, and societal challenges in collaboration with their peers and real-world partners, clients, and communities. Through project-based learning, applied research, and internship experiences, students learn how to make a positive human-centered impact on communities and society in meaningful and lasting ways.

An alumni stands in front of a classroom speaking in front of a slide projection.
Alumna Saran Ouk ’15 visits a Community Leadership Capstone class to talk with students and share her experiences founding her own nonprofit organization and working for the Office of Business Resources for the City of Madison.

In addition to the hundreds of community-based organizations in the Madison area, the Center for Nonprofit Studies (CommNS), housed in the School of Human Ecology, provides students with a hub for community-engaged teaching, research, and outreach focused on advancing the work of the civic and nonprofit sector. Students can participate in innovative nonprofit initiatives, network with community and organizational leaders, and attend annual conferences, workshops and speaker series.

Students in our program are consistently recognized for their extraordinary contributions, boasting several nationally acclaimed Truman Scholars and many Campus Notable Grads.

Coursework & Internships

Community & Organizational Development coursework spans the areas of:

  • Organizational leadership and management
  • Philanthropy and community impact
  • Social entrepreneurship and innovation
  • Program planning, evaluation and grant writing

Here, you’ll find instructors who get to know you and offer meaningful guidance on a personalized path to success.

Gain the knowledge, skills and experience to be prepared to change the world:

  • Examine issues from a human ecological lens
  • Devise solutions to today’s toughest challenges
  • Learn how to harness resources to advance progress
  • Design and activate a better future
  • Start advancing change now – with real world organizations and causes

Required internships and collaborative classroom projects provide problem-solving and leadership opportunities, networking, and other career-building experiences. You’ll gain real world experience to build your portfolio, as well as industry connections to jumpstart your career.


View a map of where Community & Organizational Development graduates have worked recently.

Median National Salaries (U.S. Department of Labor)

$61,190 Development Officer/Fundraising Professional

$74,240 Program Manager/Director

Community & Organizational Development Stories

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