Martin-Gatton College of Agriculture, Food & Environment

Community and Leadership Development - Graduate

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The Master's of Science in Community and Leadership Development (CLD) at the University of Kentucky is a unique multidisciplinary program that prepares you for continuing on for a Ph.D. in several different disciplines (e.g., Agricultural Education, Agricultural Leadership and Development, Communications, Rural Sociology), or a broad range of careers. Our curriculum integrates a solid foundation in social science theory and research methods. Students are challenged to understand and then apply both theory and methods in diverse contexts as both independent and collaborative scholar/professionals. Our graduate students are expected to be engaged professionals participating in scholarly organizations, social change initiatives, community development associations, or community media campaigns. They should demonstrate the depth and breadth of their knowledge and skills through applied service or research projects. Finally, students are expected to contribute their expertise as academic, organizational and community leaders.

Master's Program Description

The Department of Community and Leadership Development offers the Masters of Science degree in Community and Leadership Development (CLD). The program’s interdisciplinary base and range of engaged experiences support the growth of knowledgeable, skillful, and creative leaders. Graduates are therefore prepared to address the needs and concerns of communities of place, of interest (e.g., non-profit organizations) and of practice (e.g., schools and advocacy organizations). Coursework and training are grounded in the philosophical foundations of leadership, community, community communication, social science inquiry and formal and non-formal educational scholarship and practice. 

Master's Application Requirements

  1. CV
  2. Personal Statement
    • Narrative statement of intent that includes a description of:
      • Research interests and professional goals
      • How the Masters program in CLD will support these goals, with a specific discussion of how the candidate's interests and experiences align with faculty expertise or program strengths
      • How academic, professional, and personal accomplishments support the candidate’s qualifications for the CLD program
      • Other insights into relevant experience or perspectives for demonstrating the candidate’s interest in and qualifications for the CLD program
  3. ​​Writing Sample (optional)
  4. Cover Letter
    • A cover letter summarizing the canditate's motivation for pursuing an MS in CLD and whether they are seeking department funding.
  5. Three letters of recommendation

The GRE is not required for admission to this program, though it may still be required to apply for some Fellowship or other outside funding opportunities.

Applicants must meet the Graduate School admission requirements.

Application Deadlines

Fall: May 15

Spring: October 15

Our Students' Work...

To better understand the interests and areas of study available within the Community and Leadership Development Department, browse these recent dissertations and theses from our graduates:   

"Playin the Game." A Case Study of Latinx Leaders in an Agricultural Youth Organization
Graciela Barajas. 2021

Understanding Perspectives of Clinical and Non-Clinical Healthcare Administrators on Culture and Diversity in the Healthcare Workplace
Katherine Counts. 2021

The "Case" for Assessments: An Evaluation of CASE End of Course Assessments and Teacher Motivation
Andrew Lawrence Hauser. 2021


Highlighted Courses

  • CLD 517 Rural SociologyA sociological study of the issues relevant to rural communities. Topics may include transformations in rural communities; the agri-food system; and the natural environment in the U.S. and the world. 
  • CLD 525 Community Diversity and Media: This course covers how media, both traditional news media and newly emerging digital communication technologies, relate to community diversity. Specifically, the course focuses on the relationships between media and community (power) structure, community institutions/organizations, social movements, and minority groups, urban/rural communities, gender/race/ethnicity/class, and more. 
  • CLD 630 Individual and Group Dynamics: This course is designed as an advanced course exploring the dynamics involved in individual and group situations. Specifically, students will explore basic psychological and social psychological processes shaping human behavior and learn to apply the knowledge of these processes in educational, organizational, and community settings. Topics to be explored include (but are not limited to): personal vs. professional identity, culture, socialization, individual vs. group decision making, conflict resolution, and team building. 
  • CLD 637 Current Trends in Agricultural Education: Class work pertains to current trends and significant developments in agricultural education. May be repeated to a maximum of nine credits.