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Chake'ra "Star" Bacon, community and regional development major
Chake'ra "Star" Bacon ’15, a community and regional development major, expanded her college experience as a student assistant to the chancellor. (Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis)

Community and Regional Development Majors Focus on Building Community

By Kelsey Ay on November 29, 2017

Are you a self-starter willing to take responsibility for designing your own major? Do you want to impact social, political and economic issues relating to communities and regions? Do you like thinking and acting in an interdisciplinary environment? The community and regional development major’s goal is to empower you to create your own pathway through UC Davis and life.

Senior Jose Flores says:

This is a major designed for students who know they want to make a difference in society but don’t know where to start.

Community and regional development majors study social relations

 

You’ll study social relations and how the field relates to building community, social, political and economic infrastructure. The course requirements to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in the major are among the most flexible of the 28 majors offered in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

You will customize part of your course of study, meaning every student’s experience is unique. In your classes, you will conduct in-depth research on communities and current events with opportunities to present your ideas and results to classmates and local policymakers.

The major also encourages you to get involved in internships both on and off campus, enriching your time here at UC Davis and helping you make the most of your academic experience.

Smaller program means strong sense of community

Our graduates talk about the strength of the program:

Community and regional development is a relatively small major. Being part of a small department means there are smaller classes, which create a strong sense of community among students and far more opportunities to get to know faculty. — Evelyn Farias ’15, undergraduate advisor for the UC Davis departments of Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies and American Studies

Bryce Anable, community and regional development major
Bryce Anable

The diversity among students in the major allows for open conversations, and for you to learn about difficulties and hardships that your classmates faced growing up in different communities. — Bryce Anable ’16, recruiting coordinator at Optimizely

Choose one or two emphasis tracks

Pursuing a degree in community and regional development means that you will complete a series of core courses, as well as choose an emphasis in up to two tracks that include:

  • Policy and planning and social services
  • Organization and management
  • Global community

The diversity of classes in these tracks means that the major has no “typical” student. And you’ll have the option to enroll in dozens of pre-approved courses in disciplines across campus.

In essence, you’ll pursue a self-directed educational program based on your interests, rather than simply completing a major department checklist.

Portrait of Artisha Naidu, community and regional development major
Artisha Naidu

Artisha Naidu ’15, a research assistant at Sustainable San Mateo County, says she chose to pursue community and regional development for the track options because she “really liked how she was able to specialize and take courses from different majors.”

The major will also require you to complete an internship, helping you build connections and gain experience with possible future employers.

What do community developers do?

Students are prepared for careers in nonprofit and for-profit administration and management, public service, local government, educational fields, human resources, health care, law and advocacy, social work, marketing, advertising and public relations.

Katie Garcia, community and regional development major
Katie Garcia

Says alumna Katie Garcia ’08, “As a graduate from the major, you will develop a flexible skill set necessary to excel in a variety of professional fields.” Katie is now a principal consultant for the Joint Legislative Committee on Climate Change Policies in the California State Assembly.

Many of our alumni enter graduate or professional school following graduation, while others obtain employment in a variety of fields. Some of our graduates currently hold positions as executive directors, research analysts, housing specialists, urban planning and event coordinators, and marketing and outreach managers.

Here is a sample of our alumni:

Bryce Anable ’16

Recruiting coordinator at Optimizely

“The greatest thing about community and regional development is how applicable the courses are beyond the classroom.”

Jeffrey Graham, community and regional development major
Jeffrey Graham

Jeffrey Graham ’16

Planning associate at Michael Baker International

“The CRD program not only exposed me to issues facing our local and global communities, but also provided tangible tools and applications that are helpful in my role as an urban planner.

“If you are passionate about making the world a better place and being effective at it, this is the major for you.”

Artisha Naidu ’16

Research assistant at Sustainable San Mateo County

“The most valuable thing I took away from the major was the internship experience. I was able to try out different work environments and see what I did and did not like. Not only did this make finding a job easier, it made finding the right job easier.”

Juan Carlos Sanchez ’05, J.D. UC Berkeley ’14

Juan Carlos Sanchez, community and regional development major
Juan Carlos Sanchez

Attorney at Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP

“Simply put, community and regional development helps focus one’s passion and then amplifies one’s ability to become an effective change agent in a way few, if any, majors can.

“The major can prepare you for almost any profession. The freedom to tailor your educational experiences is a tool that is as invaluable as it is empowering. And it was that flexibility that exposed me to the myriad skills and lessons necessary to become a union organizer, a political media consultant and now a securities class-action attorney.” 

Katie Garcia ’08

Principal consultant, Joint Legislative Committee on Climate Change Policies in the California State Assembly

“I loved the topics of the classes, the flexible fieldwork opportunities, and even the study abroad options.“

Philip Ramos ’08

Philip Ramos, community and regional development major
Philip Ramos

Research program specialist for the Office of the California Attorney General

“The greatest thing I took from the major was how we can all create change in so many different ways — from policy and research to planning and education.”

Kelsey Ay ’17 is a community and regional development major who works as the series coordinator for the UC Davis Forums, a distinguished lecture series. “Not only have I entered the workforce with the knowledge I need to do well, but this major has also prepared me to be successful as a leader, innovator and activist at work and in my community,” she says.

 

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