Whereas the core course requirements for the MSA in Community and International Development provide limited options in terms of how they are fulfilled, the opposite is true of the concentration requirements.
The concentration area is selected by individual choice and will draw on Behavioral Sciences faculty strengths and utilize courses offered throughout the university. The program director/advisor, in consultation with the student, will select a minimum of 12 credits of elective courses related to the chosen concentration to meet the student’s career goals.
The field practicum and research project/thesis will be related to the area of the concentration emphasis in order to provide students with an in-depth understanding of the chosen specialization area.
Suggested concentration areas
Suggested courses that may apply to a specific concentration are outlined below. The schools and departments regulate policies that govern the elective courses offered as part of the concentration package. Some elective courses may have pre-requisites and should be discussed in advance with the program director/advisor for guidance in completing the concentration. However, please note that the list contains suggested courses; it is not exhaustive. Students may suggest alternative courses, with proper argumentation, and discuss alternatives with the program director/advisor. See the university Bulletin for more information on alternative classes, transfer requirements, etc.
The Field Practicum and Research Project/Thesis will necessarily be related to the area of concentration in order to provide students with an in-depth understanding of the chosen area, and with the possibility of applying coursework in practice. Students are required to undertake a 300-hour internship through a field placement with a domestic, national, or international organization/project. Internships are based on prior approval and advice from the program director. Arrangements for the internship will be made by the program director/advisor pending availability and feasibility of the placement proposed by the student.
Planning Your Concentration
Concentrations are built into the program to enhance the expertise of the student in a particular area, providing a multitude of flexible ways to complete them. Due to this flexibility, as well as to the various options available, students should start planning for their concentration from the very beginning of the program.
The key person assisting with this planning is the academic advisor. Students will be referred to a concentration advisor as they decide for a particular topic of interest.
Selecting a Concentration
A concentration is a centering of your program of study in one field of learning in which you expect to do work on an advanced level. In selecting a field to concentrate in, you should be mindful of the following:
• Previous learning that could serve as a foundation for your
concentration, such as a background in agriculture, social work, health,
• Future plans that you may have with regard to work and study which
you would like to begin to build toward.
• Current or emergent opportunities in your place of employment for
which you would like to prepare yourself to be involved.
• Availability of training opportunities in a possible area of concentration
through Andrews University, your employer, a local university, or a
distance learning program of which you are aware.
• Recommendations of your academic advisor with regard to what is
doable given the policies and requirements of the MSA program.
Minimum Requirements for Concentrations
In building your concentration students should keep in mind the following minimum expectations of all concentrations:
• Must include a minimum of 12 semester credits of concentration
coursework, as presented in the bulletin.
• Must include a practicum component consisting of 300 hours of training
directly related to the concentration. It is highly recommended that
students will take their field practicum in concentration-related areas.
The field practicum will count for an additional 1 credit beyond
• Must include a research component carried out by the student with
supervision by an expert in the student’s field of choice.
• Must include a comprehensive exam component to be written by the
student in connection with the general comprehensive exam.
Plan of Work for Concentrations
When planning for the concentration, students should be considering the following issues:
• Core courses offer opportunities to work on assignments that might
relate to the area of concentration.
• The practicum requirement for the degree should be planned to
include/relate to the practicum required for the concentration.
• The research requirement for the degree should be planned to focus
on a topic directly related to the concentration area.
• Supervised independent study in a concentration area is an option that
might be allowed for completing the concentration, once the main
courses for that concentration are covered.
• For courses included in the concentration package, that have
prerequisites, students should plan in advance with the academic
advisor and the concentration advisor, to meet the requirements for
registering for those classes.
• If there is interest for more than one area of concentration, students
should discuss this issue with the academic advisor. Students have the
option of taking an extra graduate certificate in an area of interest,
besides the 6 minimum credits for the concentration required for the
degree. Also, for related areas, concentration could be planned to
include broader students' interests.