Program Overview

Community organizers—we get the job done. Are you committed to racial, economic and environmental justice? Then the Bachelor of Arts in Urban Community Change is for you. You’ll learn to understand justice in the urban context, cultivate courage for struggle, and the skills to do urban public work. Build your expertise, commitment and vision concerning community and social change, and prepare for jobs in cross-sector professions, including community-based organizations and non-profits, campaigns and government, schools and youth agencies, faith organizations and the private sector. The B.A. in Urban Community Change is an interdisciplinary program that will prepare you to give back and lead as an engaged citizen and for essential and growing areas of the workforce regionally, nationally and globally. The program is housed in the Rustin Urban Community Change Axis (RUCCAS), a community-university center in the College of Arts and Humanities. The center is named after Bayard Rustin, often referred to as the “architect of the 1963 March on Washington,” who was a gay, Black, pacifist /artist/ organizer hailing from West Chester PA, and was a graduate of Cheyney University. We are proud to model our programs after his legacy of solidarity, strategic thinking, and joy.


Program Highlights

  • Significant hands-on work in Philadelphia and/or other urban locations, including a capstone internship with one of our Rustin Urban Community Change Axis (RUCCAS) partners
  • Excellent track record of jobs, career growth and graduate school placements
  • Interdisciplinary coursework
  • Small class sizes
  • Caring faculty who don’t just critique but also have expertise and experience in how real community change has, does and will happen; some faculty are also current practitioners
  • Focus on theories and histories of change, but also on practical contemporary strategies and tactics, as well as on the intrapersonal resources needed to be with self and other during challenging times and across difference
  • Flexible open electives to develop area of specialization, such as sustainability, gender, youth, race and ethnicity, nutrition, health or other areas of specialized professional interest—through choosing a minor or concentration.
  • Directed electives in areas essential to the field of urban community change: urban contexts and communities, critical consciousness and grassroots democracy, race and social class; research and assessment methods, communication and writing, and public administration.
  • Affiliated campus (Antiracist Liberation and Learning Union, ALL-U), regional (PA Aspire2Educate) and national (Community Learning Partnership; United to End Racism) networks.

What can I do with this degree?

Our alumni have applied their knowledge, skills and experience to succeed at jobs at:

  • Community organizing and empowerment groups, such as Pennsylvanians Organizing to Witness Empower and Rebuild (POWER) and YouthBuild
  • Government agencies, such as Philadelphia District Attorney’s office and the Veterans’ Administration
  • Well established national nonprofits, such as the YMCA
  • Youth development and out of school time programs, such as the Dream Program and Breakthrough
  • Multiple urban, rural and suburban school districts and institutions of higher education
  • Our alumni report consistently being asked about their unique academic programs, which stand out on applications, with positive admissions results at a variety of graduate schools, from higher education to law to social work to health and more.

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