Human and Community Development

Shan Jiang, Ph.D., Human and Community Development Program Coordinator, Assistant Professor, Landscape Architecture

Other contacts: Peter Butler, Associate Professor, Extension Specialist, Director, School of Design and Community Development

Alan Collins, Ph.D., Professor, Resource Economics and Management

Degrees Offered

Doctor of Philosophy in Resource Management and Sustainable Development

The Ph.D. in Human and Community Development (HCD) is intended for applicants with a professional background in community development and design, landscape architecture, interior architecture, fashion design, design and merchandising, or applicants who have significant prior experience improving the social, cultural, and/or economic conditions of communities by working with government or educational institutions. The program provides students with access to a variety of courses and faculty expertise to help candidates develop an interdisciplinary perspective of human and community development, through research in two or more fields.  To this end, the program is flexible and relies on the intellectual maturity and curiosity of the student and the guidance of the student's graduate committee, to develop a student-centered curriculum.

The is the most advanced degree offered and prepares students for careers at the highest level of the profession as a faculty member, staff in a research organization or governmental and non-governmental agencies, or as a consultant. This program is currently administered by the School of Design and Community Development in partnership with the Resource Economics and Management Program within School of Natural Resources.


A candidate for the Ph.D. degree in Human and Community Development must meet all University, College, Division, and Program requirements as outlined in the WVU Graduate catalog.

Program Requirements

All Ph.D. degree candidates are required to follow a planned program of study. The student develops the plan of study during their first year in the program in conjunction with the graduate committee. The plan must be approved by the Director of the Division and the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs of the Davis College.

A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 is required in all courses applied toward degree requirements.
Course Requirements as determined by the Plan of Study
Candidacy Exam
Dissertation Defense

Major Learning Outcomes

human and community development

Learning outcomes for this degree program include:

  • Complete a core consisting of quantitative and qualitative research methods, graduate seminars, and teaching practicum;
  • Demonstrate competency in their chosen field(s),
  • Demonstrate the capacity to produce research that can be accepted for publication in interdisciplinary journals of the social sciences;
  • Be proficient in oral and written communication skills in order to have research accepted by and presented at professional conferences; and
  • Show the ability to organize and to assess a community engagement project.