Minor in Community Change Studies

Welcome to the Minor in Community Change Studies!

The minor is based on a few key ideas:

We make our own history. We may inherit the politics, the institutions, and the problems we face from previous generations, but we also can be creators of change in our communities, in the US, and across the world.

A better, more just world is possible.  Even in the most difficult circumstances, we can and do organize communities and build democratic institutions that fight for the universal realization of human rights and social justice—and that fight against racism, poverty, homophobia, sexism, anti-immigrant politics, and other forms of violence, oppression and exploitation.  Knowing how to organize communities and build power is of utmost importance.

Change starts with our communities. Public university students often talk about wanting to “give back” to their communities.  Learning how to investigate the change that communities need and how to work with communities towards that change is a step toward not just “giving back,” but taking back and transforming the institutions that reinforce the challenges public university students and their communities face.

The minor in Community Change Studies connects students with the skills and organizations that are at the forefront of change in New York City and prepares them for careers and lives in public service.

The minor entails required courses in community organizing and community-based research, taught by experienced practitioners, and an internship with leading social justice organizations in New York City, with the possibility of funded summer internships as well.

The minor is open to all majors. There are no prerequisites.


The minor requires six courses for a total of 19 credits as described below. These courses may be taken at any point during the student’s coursework.

The three required courses are:

PSC 31147: Community Organizing  
This course introduces students to the practice and skills involved in community organizing, and combines readings, meetings with active community organizers in New York City, and several practical exercises in outreach, issue-identification, and campaign planning.
3 hr./wk.; 3 cr. Fall semester.

PSC 31051: Community-Based Research
The course introduces students to several different approaches to community-based research, and compares it to more standard social science research practices. The course introduces community-based and advocacy research tools, strategies and uses, and links them to a practicum with existing community organizations.
3 hr./wk.; 3 cr. Spring semester.

SSC 31200: Internship
This seminar introduces students to concepts and tools for understanding and evaluating leadership and organizational management. The internship placement site will serve as a case study for examining the issues and challenges faced by leaders in the public and/or private sector(s).
3 hr./wk.; 3 cr.

Readings, interviews and class discussions will serve to explore questions such as:  

- How do leaders make decisions in the face of uncertainty, when action is required without adequate information?
- How do leaders measure performance to ensure that their programs and services are working?
- How do they involve diverse stakeholders and constituencies- with varying expectations and ideas- in co-creating, implementing and evaluating program strategy?
- To whom or what are these leaders accountable?
- How do they deliver quality, high impact services in the face of resource constraints?

Students will explore these challenges in the varying contexts of public service be they nonprofit, private for profit, philanthropic, government and faith-based institutions – and the social, economic and political forces with which they must contend. Concepts and tools such as theory of change, logic modeling, service blueprinting and performance rubrics will be introduced each week during class meetings and students, over the course of the semester, will apply these tools in constructing an organizational profile of their internship site. Fall and spring semesters.

Internship field assignments should be for between 5-10 hours per week.  Students are free to arrange their own internships, but are encouraged to arrange their internships with assistance from the Minor Adviser.  All internship placements must be approved by the Internship Director and the Minor Adviser. 


Community Change Studies Internship Recitation. 3 hr./wk.; 3 cr. Community Change Studies Internship Recitation (supplement to SSC 31200) An opportunity to discuss issues that are specific to community change organizations as they arise, with other students in the minor and a faculty adviser. Co-requisite: SSC 31200: Internship. 1 hr./wk.; 1 cr.

In addition, students in the minor must complete three courses from among those listed in the “Courses” section of this site, or other courses with the minor adviser’s approval.


Political Science

PSC 12500: Introduction to Public Policy

PSC 20700: The Politics of Criminal and Civil Justice

PSC 21000: Urban Politics

PSC 21600: Political Parties and Interest Groups

PSC 21700: Mass Media and Politics PSC 31507: Politics of Immigration

PSC 31510: Land and Housing in New York City PSC

31905: Politics of Work PSC

37600: Marxism PSC 32400: Politics of Protest


ANTH 20100: Cross-Cultural Perspectives

ANTH 22500: Class, Ethnicity and Gender

ANTH 23100: Anthropology of Law

ANTH 25400: American Cultural Patterns

ANTH 25500: Anthropology of Health and Healing

ANTH 35000: Race and Racism

Economics and Business

ECO 31150: Developing Management Skills

ECO 31750: Economics of Environmental Entrepreneurship

ECO 31950: Leadership

ECO 33550: Urban Economics

ECO 33650: Public Finance

ECO 33850: Public Economics

ECO 41350: Business and Society

ECO 43450: Public Investment Analysis


PSY 31823: Women and Violence

PSY 41000: Contemporary Issues in Human Rights and Social Justice


SOC 24100: Criminology and Corrections

SOC 24200: Juvenile Delinquency

SOC 24300: Sociology of Youth

SOC 24500: Sociology of Social Welfare Institutions

SOC 25100: Urban Sociology

SOC 2 5200 Social Class SOC

25400: Social Problems

SOC 26000: Theory of Social Change

SOC 26300: Contemporary Social Issues

SOC 26700: Social Change in Developing Countries

SOC 26800: Studies in Social Forces and Mass Movements

SOC 29000: Immigration

SOC 31136: Housing and Community Development

SOC 38101: Contemporary Issues in the Workplace

SOC 38107: Justice, Law, and Society


HIST 31140: Documenting AntiGentrification in Harlem (cross-listed as BLST 31140 and PSC 31146)

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