students in a study group

CDAE graduate programs emphasize research and scholarship that build resilient communities through social responsibility, ecological sustainability, and development in communities and business.

Our graduate program in community development and applied economics boasts faculty with expertise in economics (both ecological and neoclassical), food systems, public policy, ecological economics, renewable energy, public communication, consumer affairs, and community economic development. Students engage in a transdisciplinary approach to research that prepares them for leadership positions in the non-profit and government sectors, as well as in socially and ecologically responsible businesses.

Hand-craft Your Graduate Experience

campus - Old Mill at night

We offer courses to give students foundational academic and professional skills and we encourage our graduate students to seek out courses and skills both within the program and across UVM to individualize their transdisciplinary experience.

Burlington, Vermont, and the World as Your Laboratory


With 20 years of experience researching both within our communities and across the world, CDAE graduate students study current development issues facing local and international communities. The well-connected nature of both Burlington and Vermont provide opportunity unmatched anywhere else.


The degree requires a total of 36 credit hours, of which 30 are from advanced courses in CDAE and other related fields and six hours are thesis research. A written comprehensive examination and an oral defense of the thesis are also required. A student's thesis research is often an integral part of the faculty-led, ongoing research projects in CDAE.

Core courses:

CDAE 6540 - Advanced Microeconomics: Theory of the consumer, theory of the firm, perfect and imperfect competition, welfare economics, uncertainty and selected topics in economic policy
CDAE 6510 - Research Methods: Procedures of developing a research project, applications of economic theory and analytical tool in empirical economic research
One additional course in quantitative or qualitatitive analysis to be approved by the Studies Committee (e.g., PA 6080 - Decision Making Models; CDAE 6350 - Qualitative Research Methods; PA 6110 - Policy Analysis & Program Evaluation, others)
CDAE 6260 - Community Economic Development: Examines how rural and urban communities address poverty, unemployment and other economic problems through job creation and retention, workforce training and support, and other development strategies.
CDAE 6590 - Applied Econometrics: Presents the use of common econometric methods to perform regression analysis on empirical data.  
CDAE 6920 - Graduate Seminars. Each student is required to complete three hours of this course. Students should enroll for one hour in each of three semesters.

CDAE MS program in UVM Catalogue

Graduate Funding

CDAE offers a variety of funding opportunities for qualified students.  Submit CDAE MS Program application by January 15 to be considered for fall funding.

Types of available funding:

  • Graduate Assistantships
  • Hourly Teaching and Research Assistant Positions
  • Fellowships for Returned Peace Corps Volunteers:

Peace Corps Strategic Campus Recruiter

Coverdell Fellowship

Graduate Certificates

Graduate certificates can be pursued as an additional credential alongside the CDAE MS degree. In most cases, with sufficient planning, the two degrees can be streamlined so that no additional coursework is needed. Many of the courses double count to both degrees.

Alumni in the World

As an alum of the CDAE MS program, you will be well-positioned for a career in an array of community development-related fields.

Just a few examples of alumni careers:

  • Analyst, Goodworks Ventures
  • Project Analyst, SSG Advisors
  • Program Manager, Keurig Green Mountain, Inc.
  • Owner/Consultant, Small Systems Consulting
  • Founder, Al Freshco
  • Project Manager, ICF International
  • Director, Center for Women & Enterprise Vermont
  • Energy Analyst, NH Office of Energy and Planning
  • Research Specialist, Center for Rural Studies, UVM
  • Knowledge Manager, Resonance Global
  • Program Specialist & Undergraduate Advisor, UVM
  • Associate Professor, UVM
  • Outreach Coordinator, Middlebury College Office of Sustainability Integration
  • Land Treatment Planner, Natural Resources Conservation Service
  • Assistant Professor, Colby College
  • Director of Operations, Child Development Division, VT Department of Children & Families
  • Energy Efficiency Analyst, National Grid
  • Senior Lecturer, CDAE, UVM
  • PhD Candidate, Penn State University
  • Government Administration, U.S. Senator Brian Schatz, D-HI
  • Community Involvement Coordinator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • Deputy Director & Co-Founder, GreenWave
  • Community & Economic Development Coordinator, Village of Johnson, VT
  • Watershed Coordinator/Director, Lamoille County Natural Resources Conservation District
  • Data Analyst, Philadelphia Department of Health
  • Agricultural Development Coordinator, VT Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets
  • Regional Director, Amigos de las Americas
  • Marketing Director & Food Safety Coordinator, Northeast Organic Farming Association
  • Policy & Outreach Staffer, Office of US Senator Bernie Sanders
  • Director of Public Policy, Ducks Unlimited, Inc.
  • Hunger Council Organizer, Hunger Free Vermont
  • Executive Director, Vermont Community Garden Network
  • Senior Research Associate, Center on an Aging Society
  • Director of Business Development & Marketing, Visiting Nurses Association
  • Lecturer and PhD Candidate, UVM

Admissions Requirements

Admission is competitive in the CDAE MS program.  To be considered for funding, applications must be submitted by January 15 each year.  All other admissions are rolling.  

Admissions Requirements

Faculty Expertise

  • Ecological Economics
  • Rural Sociology
  • Applied Econometrics and Economics
  • Agricultural Economics
  • Policy and Governance
  • Behavioral Economics
  • Public Communication

View Faculty Bios

Student Thesis Topics

From Tap to Table: Producer Attitudes, Consumer Values, and Vermont Maple Syrup in a Dynamic Landscape

Measuring Wellbeing in Vermont: Where We've Been and Where We're Going

Consumer Attitudes and Support for Renewable Energy Systems: A Case Study of Community Biodigesters in Vermont

Labor on Vermont Dairy Farms: A Producer Perspective

Organic Dairy Profitability 2006-2017: Measuring the Relationship between Farm Management, Market Forces and Financial Performance

Who is Performing Pro-Environmental Behaviors (PEBs) and Why? Examining the Impacts of Extrinsic and Intrinsic Motivation, Environmental Attitudes, Climate Change Concerns, and Past Behavior on Intended and Actual Future PEBs

Stress and Stressors Affecting Latino Migrant Dairy Farmworkers in Vermont: An Exploratory Analysis

Do Labels Make a Difference: Estimating the Impact of Vermont's GMO Labeling Law on Perceptions and Process

"Teamwork Makes the Dream Work": Investigating the Impact of Social Capital in the Tampa Bay, Florida Community Food System

An Analysis of Beverage Consumption Using the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2007-2014

Who Really Controls Haiti's Destiny? An Examination of Haiti's Underdevelopment, Endless Poverty, and the Role Played by NGOs

Farm Fresh Food Boxes

Consumer Engagement with Efficient and Renewable Energy Technology: Case Studies on Smart Meter Utilization and Support for a Community Anaerobic Biodigester in Vermont

The Supply Chain of Fair Trade Coffee: Challenges, Opportunities & the Future Inside a Troubled Industry

Sustainable Agriculture in Vermont: Economics of Climate Change Best Management Practices and the Complexity of Consumer Perceptions of Raw Milk

Shortfalls in Coffee Incomes and the Use and Perceptions of Various Diversification Strategies among Smallholder Guatemalan Farmers in Huehuetenango and Quiché Departments

Using Multi Criteria Analysis to Develop Sustainability Assessments: Biomass Supply Chains for Small Scale Bioenergy Systems

Making the Healthy Choice: Exploring Health Communication in the Food System

Parent Preferences for Baby Formula in China and Potential Implications for U.S. Dairy Product Exports

Civic Engagement and Peace Corps Recruitment Efforts in the State of Vermont

Technical Assistance and Farming at the Rural-Urban Interface: a Study of Farmer Utilization and Related Attitudes

Examining Vermont Agricultural Producers' Willingness to Pay for Extension One-on-One Business Planning Services and Future Programming Considerations


Meet the Students

CDAE MS Students have diverse experience and research interests from community planning and resilience, food access, ecological economics, and rural sociology.

Meet the CDAE MS Cohort

Degree Planning

Courses that fulfill additional statistics/research requirement

*This list is not exhaustive. Others may count, by permission.*

Qualitative Research Methods

Decision Making Models

Policy Analysis & Program Evaluation

Mixed Methods Research

Advanced Geospatial Techniques

Fundamentals of GIS

Ecological Economic Methods

Data Visualization and Communication

Statistical Computing & Data Analysis

Statistical Methods I

Statistical Methods II

Applied Multivariate Analysis

Statistics for Quality & Productivity