Community Resources and Development, PhD

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Are you passionate about building sustainable and healthy communities? Uncover ways to shape community life and dynamics through the theories, methods and research practices available to you in this program.

The PhD in community resources and development is a research-intensive doctoral degree program grounded in theory and designed to prepare graduates for research-oriented careers in higher education, governmental agencies, nonprofit organizations and private-sector businesses. The program is based on the concept of building sustainable and healthy communities as the unifying principle in the established focus areas of community studies; nonprofit leadership and management; parks, recreation and leisure; and tourism development and management.

The theoretical and methodological approaches embedded in this program serve to integrate scholarship in these areas in order for students to gain a more meaningful understanding of the impact on community life and dynamics.

The program is transdisciplinary in nature. The core faculty engaged in this program are housed in the School of Community Resources and Development. In addition, the program builds on current collaborations with faculty with related research interests from many ASU departments, schools and centers. In addition, the program builds on current collaborations with faculty with related research interests from many ASU departments, schools and centers.

At A Glance

Community Resources and Development, PhD

Plan of study

The Plan of study is the required curriculum to complete this graduate level program.

View Plan of Study

Application deadline

Applications are accepted once a year in the spring semester (due by February 1st) and students are granted admission for fall semester only.

Degree requirements

Required Core (24 credit hours)
CRD 610 Sustainable Communities (3)
CRD 620 Community Research Methods (3)
CRD 640 Research Seminar in Community Resources and Development I (3)
CRD 650 Research Seminar II (3)
CRD 683 Fieldwork (3)
REC 502 Statistical and Data Analysis (3)
REC 555 Theoretical Perspectives in Community Development (3)
advanced statistics or methods (3)

Electives or Research (18 credit hours)

Culminating Experience (12 credit hours)
CRD 799 Dissertation (12)

Additional Curricular Information
Up to 30 credit hours from a previously awarded master's degree can count toward the doctoral requirements.

All students are advised as a cohort initially by the doctoral program director. Students are required to take 24 credit hours of core coursework, 15 hours of which are with the cohort during the first year and six hours of which are with the cohort during the second year. Students are assigned an individual advisor or mentor at the end of the first year of study. A supervisory committee is also formed at the end of the first year which reflects the interests of the student and faculty.

Each student develops a plan of study in consultation with the doctoral program coordinator, advisor and supervisory committee. Students complete elective coursework, including courses from contributing disciplines, selected in consultation with their advisor to foster the transdisciplinary nature of the degree program. Students also complete at least six credit hours of CRD 792 Research and 12 credit hours of CRD 799 Dissertation. When the majority of coursework has been completed and before dissertation research is started, students must complete a written examination followed by an oral examination. These examinations must be completed within five years of admission.

Admission requirements

Applicants must fulfill the requirements of both the Graduate College and the Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions.

Applicants are eligible to apply to the program if they have earned a master's degree, in any field, from a regionally accredited institution.

Applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in the last 60 hours of their first bachelor's degree program, or applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in an applicable master's degree program.

All applicants must submit:

  1. graduate admission application and application fee
  2. official transcripts
  3. current and professional resume
  4. statement of academic and professional goals
  5. GRE test scores
  6. three letters of recommendation
  7. proof of English proficiency

Additional Application Information
An applicant whose native language is not English must provide proof of English proficiency regardless of current residency.

International applicants are also required to submit TOEFL or IELTS scores and a financial guarantee statement. The minimum TOEFL requirement is 550 (PBT) or 80 (iBT). The minimum IELTS requirement is an overall band score of 6.5 (no individual band below a 6.0). The TOEFL or IELTS must have been taken within the last two years.

GRE must be taken within the past five years. Applicants are expected to meet the GRE minimum requirements (based on the new scoring system after August 2011) of combined score of at least 300 (old system 1000), verbal minimum of 146 (old system 400), quantitative minimum of 140 (old system 400), and writing of 3.5 (same for new and old systems).

The statement of academic and professional goals should be in sufficient detail to indicate compatibility with the educational objectives and capabilities of the doctoral program (approximately three pages, single spaced). Applicants need to explain their research interests and indicate the faculty member with whom they would like to work. Students should review faculty profiles ( to learn their research expertise. Applicants are encouraged to contact the PhD program director prior to application submission to discuss interests and fit with the program and faculty. They are also encouraged to contact faculty with similar interests to discuss their fit with the program. Successful statements should make it clear why the applicants have chosen to do a doctorate in community resources and development and how this program will fulfill their career goals.

The recommendation letters may be a mix of academic and professional references, but each must address the applicant's capacity to successfully complete the doctoral program.

Students applying to the program are expected to have a master's degree (from an accredited institution) which included a master's degree-level research methods and statistics class or classes. If deficiencies exist in community resource and development-related coursework at the master's degree level, appropriate classes are suggested.

The doctorate in community resources and development is designed as a full-time, research-intensive program. Students are admitted once a year as a cohort and are generally expected to complete the degree in three to four years. A small number of part-time students on a longer completion time frame may be admitted when space is available. The school does not provide funding for part-time students.

Applications are reviewed by the admission committee and recommendations for admission are then made by the graduate program director to the dean of the Graduate College.

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