Birzeit University to launch new master’s program in community development

Students, community activists, and development experts will be able to gain new skills and apply the latest theoretical frameworks to improve their communities as part of the newly established master’s program in community development at Birzeit University. 

The master’s program, launching in the first semester of the 2021–2022 academic year, will allow students to develop an in-depth understanding of the theories and concepts that underpin social development work through an integrated framework that combines theoretical knowledge with hands-on experience. 

As part of the program, students will work with various community-based organizations to develop a keen understanding of social development challenges in colonial contexts, synthesizing concepts from various aligned fields and integrating them into development frameworks that can be applied locally and regionally. 

Dr. Abaher El-Sakka, director of Birzeit University’s Center for Development Studies, said the program will help young activists find, and create, the best tools to help their communities grow and prosper, whether in terms of establishing innovative initiatives or supporting existing community-development programs. 

The program, added El-Sakka, is interdisciplinary in nature, building on courses offered by aligned master’s programs offered by Birzeit University, such as the master’s programs in gender and development studies, economics, and community psychology, among others. Additionally, the program will include lectures and workshops by guest lecturers who have years of experience in the field, further expanding the students’ horizons. 

The master’s program in community development comprises 36 credit hours, 15 of which are compulsory courses with a focus on identifying local development challenges and establishing innovative solutions together with local community-based organizations.