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

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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.

Curriculum

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 354 - Advanced Microeconomics: Theory of the consumer, theory of the firm, perfect and imperfect competition, welfare economics, uncertainty and selected topics in economic policy
CDAE 351 - 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., STAT 225 - Applied Regression Analysis; STAT 223 - Applied Multivariate Analysis; EDFS 347 - Qualitative Research Methods)
One course in community development. CDAE 326 is preferred, or students may take a course approved by their Studies Committee (e.g., CDAE 205 - Rural Communities in Modern Society; CDAE 218 - Community Organization and Development)
CDAE 359: Applied Econometrics: Presents the use of common econometric methods to perform regression analysis on empirical data.  
CDAE 392 - 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.  Application deadline for fall funding is January 15 each year.

Types of available funding:

  • Graduate Assistantships
  • Hourly Teaching and Research Assistant Positions
  • Peace Corps Coverdell Fellowships
    Coverdell Fellows are eligible to receive six tuition-free credits toward their degree through the Peace Corps Analysis course, in which they prepare a paper reflecting on their Peace Corps service and the UVM studies. Coverdell Fellows will also be considered for additional financial aid on an individual basis. Reflecting the Peace Corps’ “Bring the Lessons Home” focus, they also commit to undertake 150 hours of community service over the course of their studies with local organizations of their choice.
  • Scholarship for New Americans

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
  • Energy Analyst, NH Office of Energy and Planning
  • Research Specialist, Center for Rural Studies, UVM
  • Program Specialist & Undergraduate Advisor, UVM
  • Associate Professor, UVM
  • Outreach Coordinator, Middlebury College Office of Sustainability Integration
  • Assistant Professor, Colby College
  • PhD Candidate, Penn State University
  • Government Administration, U.S. Senator Brian Schatz, D-HI
  • Community Involvement Coordinator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • 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
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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

Sample Thesis Topics

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

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