Information for USNH Staff

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Otis Douce
“The Master of Arts in Community Development Policy and Practice has been much more than just an educational experience for me. I have been working in higher education for ten years and at no point has a group of individuals forced me to think about the inter-connectivity of humanity and the beauty of the human spirit quite like everyone involved in the program. You will graduate not just with a degree but with the tools to change the world. I highly recommend this program to anyone who believes that poverty and inequality should not become things we accept as unchangeable facts of human existence.” ~ Otis Douce, Class of 2013
MADPP Class of 2012
“The ‘hybrid’ format of the program is great, combining the benefits of face-to-face class time and the online learning experience. I was able to continue to work full-time, connect my master’s project to UNH, and balance it all with family life. The course instructors offer a great balance of academic and practical knowledge and experience. We are learning from people who have such a wealth of experience in development, from the small nonprofit to the larger governmental agencies. I was also continually impressed by my classmates: a truly remarkable group of people, committed to bettering lives around the globe. The skills I gained, lessons learned, and the friendships and professionals connections made, have enriched my life.” ~Amy Cunningham, Class of 2012

University System of New Hampshire staff and faculty are welcome to apply to the Master of Arts in Community Development Policy and Practice program. Our students come from many different countries and cultural backgrounds, which makes for a rare opportunity to engage with peers around complex global and domestic development issues, while studying right here in New Hampshire.

We are offering an information session on campus during the following times:

UNH - Manchester:

February 13
12:00 - 1:00 p.m.
Pandora Building,
88 Commercial St. Room P146

UNH - Durham:

February 14
12:00 - 1:00 p.m.
MUB, Room 336

Will I be able to continue working as I study?

The program is designed for working adults who have professional and family responsibilities on top of their academic responsibilities. The majority of semesters are held online. In addition, there are two four-week summer intensive programs on the UNH-Durham campus, directly following the end of the spring semester in late May. Previous USNH employees have received their supervisor’s support to participate in the summer programs using a combination of work and vacation time.

How do I communicate the value of the Master of Arts in Community Development Policy and Practice program to my supervisor?

Previous USNH employees have emphasized the skills they would gain in project design, implementation, management, and evaluation and the additional credibility and career growth that come with a master’s degree. Additionally, the M.A. requires a four-term applied project, so USNH employees may work with their supervisors to structure a project that directly benefits their work. For example, Amy Cunningham ‘12, Discovery Program Coordinator at UNH, designed and developed a grant proposal for a citizen engagement requirement as part of the undergraduate core curriculum – connecting students to opportunities that help them understand and critically reflect on the issues that shape the choices they face as citizens.

How long does it take to earn a degree?

Master of Arts in Community Development Policy and Practice students may follow one of two timelines to earn their degree.

  • 14-month option: Students take 4-5 courses in their first summer, 2 courses in each of the fall and spring terms, and a final 4-5 courses in their second summer.
  • 24-month option: For students who wish to take just one online course per semester, they make take 4-5 courses in their first summer, 1 course in each of the fall and spring term, 4-5 courses in their second summer, and 1 required course in each of the next year’s fall and spring terms.

In each case, students bond with their classmates during the summer intensive programs and also complete four consecutive terms towards their applied project (DPP 980-983, Project Design, Implementation, Management, and Evaluation). The 24-month option simply allows for a lighter online experience.

How much does the program cost? Can I use my tuition benefits?

USNH employees may use a combination of tuition benefits and departmental scholarship for full coverage of tuition. Here’s how it works:

  • USNH employees may use the USNH tuition benefit to enroll in up to a total of 5 courses (credit or non-credit) per year. Tuition benefits are pro-rated for percent-time appointments. For full details on terms and conditions of the USNH Tuition Benefit Plan, see your tuition benefit policy.
  • Because the current tuition benefit policy allows for a maximum of 5 courses per year, it is not enough on its own to support the accelerated schedule of 13 courses over two years. We are currently working with USNH human resources to try to update the tuition benefit policy to cover this program and other non-traditional graduate programs.
  • In the meantime, to bridge this gap, we will provide USNH employees a tuition scholarship for courses that go beyond the 5-course annual maximum, based on the 24-month option described above. For a full-time USNH employee receiving tuition benefits, this means up to 3 courses will be covered through scholarship. Students are still responsible for fees, taxes, and any other non-tuition expenses.

How can I learn more?

Email Michael Swack at or call 862-2821. Applications are due on February 15 extended to March 15, so don't delay!