Master of Arts in Community Organizing and Social Activism

Graduate Degree

International Partnership for Service Learning (IPSL)

4 Semesters (16 Months)

group of students and native Peruvians working in a field in Peru

The Master of Arts in Community Organizing and Social Activism Program at Westminster University

The Master of Arts in Community Organizing and Social Activism (COSA) program is an interdisciplinary graduate degree rooted in hands-on service-learning and international study activities. The program educates future leaders for professional careers in government, nonprofit, and community organization sectors by drawing from international development, nonprofit leadership, global health, international education, human rights/social justice, sustainability, and global studies.

This practical, social justice-focused degree program offers:

  • Individual Attention: Faculty, staff, and NGO leaders guide you through securing positions within your field and chosen career track.
  • Theory-to-Practice: Apply what you learn in class and in the community immediately and directly in the field and internationally.
  • Global Exposure: Experience multinational programs in Europe, Southeast Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
  • Transferable Skills: Build tangible and transferable skills that prepare you for solving complex challenges, from theory to practice.
  • International Networks: Grow your professional network with direct experience across global locations.
  • Customization: Co-create your own degree program using an interdisciplinary and customizable approach.
  • Learn a Language: Internationalize your approach and improve your intercultural and marketable skills with language learning opportunities.
  • Diverse Cohorts: An educational approach that welcomes and supports a wide diversity of students from non-traditional, first generation, BIPOC, international, second career, AmeriCorps and Peace Corp alumni, and military veterans.

Who the Master of Arts in Community Organizing and Social Activism Program Is For

The Master of Arts in Community Organizing and Social Activism program is especially for students wanting to meet today’s growing demand for leaders who serve others through careers with government and policy-making organizations, global nonprofits, educational institutions, social enterprises, and community development organizations.

A flexible and individualized program allows you to design your graduate degree experience through interdisciplinary graduate-level study with hands-on volunteer service.

What You'll Learn in the Master of Arts in Community Organizing and Social Activism Program

Students in the Master of Arts in Community Organizing and Social Activism Program will build a global and professional network through professional development experience in service-learning placements with organizations worldwide. You'll practice a model of ethical, reciprocal service and community engagement in marginalized communities across the globe.

The program will help you develop these 5 main competencies:

  • A global perspective
  • Social development
  • Nonprofit, NGO, and social entrepreneurship management
  • Service as a professional ethic
  • Individual expertise and distinction in the field

Support for AmeriCorps, Peace Corps, and Veterans

Corps members, returnees, and veterans have access to benefits when you apply to the Master of Arts in International Development and Service Program:

  • Priority admission
  • Ability to use your VA benefits and AmeriCorps Segal Education Awards
  • IPSL application processing fee waived
  • Automatic $5,500 scholarship from IPSL, even if you have already used your Education Award

Sample courses

  • IPSL-602: Community Organizing and Social Activism
  • IPSL-633: Creative Thinking and Entrepreneurship
  • IPSL-640: Guatemala One Health: Ecology Culture Justice
  • IPSL-672: Public Space in Urban Planning
  • IPSL-681: Global Participatory Action Research

Start Date:
To increase your access to the Master of Arts in Community Organizing and Social Activism program, you can begin the program in Fall (August), Spring (January), or Summer (May).

Completion time: The Master of Arts in Community Organizing and Social Activism program is a 16-month graduate degree that requires a minimum of 33 credit hours. You can complete additional hours to enhance your graduate degree.

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Application Deadline

Completed applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. The GRE isn't required for admission.

  • Spring 2025 Entry: January 2025
  • Summer 2025 Entry: April 2024
  • Fall 2024 Entry: August 2024



There are no current events. Please email program staff ( to schedule a 1-on-1 info session.


Our Faculty

Zandy Gordon

Thomas Morgan
Executive Director of IPSL

Arianne Newton
Director of Programs, IPSL

Paul Newton


Average class size

Average age of student


plan of study

Program Core: 26–31 Credits

The core 26–31 hours of coursework is designed to give you a solid foundation in community organizing and social activism.

Capstone: 2–7 Credits

The 2–7 hours of capstone coursework are the culmination of your theory-to-practice degree and provide the opportunity to address a real-world, community-based issue.

Tuition and Aid

There's No Better Investment Than You

Westminster University knows you want an education where you matter—a place that will serve as a launchpad for a successful career and a meaningful life. Westminster will work with you individually through every step of the financial aid process. From scholarships to grants and loans, Westminster helps you make it happen.

Learn About Tuition

You’ll be automatically considered for scholarship and grant opportunities.

In addition to general merit scholarships, other scholarship programs are available to support you throughout your time at Westminster.

Check Out Scholarships