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Academic Programs in Urban Planning and Related Fields
Penn State World Campus
Master of Professional Studies in Community and Economic Development (Online)

The quality of life in depends on well-trained, highly educated professionals who possess the skills needed to address the social, environmental, and economic issues in communities, towns, small cities, and urban neighborhoods. If you’re interested in helping people build community capacity; develop sustainable communities; enhance local economies, infrastructure, and services; and working with the community members to build shared visions of the future, then a career in community and economic development may be for you.

Penn State offers two online programs in community and economic development for professionals seeking to expand their knowledge and skills, and for those interested in a new career in community and economic development:

Community and Economic Development (Master of Professional Studies)

This 30-credit interdisciplinary master of professional studies program helps build on the knowledge and skills necessary to assist regions, communities and organizations with:

  • making effective and informed decisions

  • retaining jobs, creating and expanding job opportunities, encouraging entrepreneurship

  • encouraging effective citizen participation and involvement

  • understanding community institutions and processes that affect development and well-being

  • including diverse public, private, and nonprofit interests in local and regional decision making and capacity building

  • implementing land-use decisions and sustainable development

  • understanding the causes and consequences of economic, social, and population changes

  • using research and information to understand and shape economic and social change in communities and regions

  • adapting programs and practices to fit local situations and needs

Community and Economic Development (Graduate Certificate)

The Graduate Certificate in Community and Economic Development introduces key concepts and practical strategies useful to those who are new to the field and those who have experience working with communities or development-related institutions. The 15 credits in the certificate program can be applied to the Master of Professional Studies in Community and Economic Development. The program provides knowledge and methods that practitioners need for addressing issues such as:

  • citizen participation

  • effective decision making in communities

  • evaluating causes and consequences of economic and population change

  • job creation, retention and expansion, and entrepreneurship

  • land use and sustainable development

  • community structure and processes that affect development and well-being

Why Choose Penn State?

Since its founding in 1855, Penn State has established itself as one of the nation's most respected universities. Penn State is a pioneer in distance education, with a support system designed specifically for students who are not located on physical campuses.

All courses in the CEDEV programs are taught by professors who are active researchers and professionals in the field, providing you with a balance of academic expertise and real-world experience. You can expect the same high-quality, academically challenging courses as those taught in the classroom, and you gain the convenience of studying whenever and wherever you want

The CEDEV curriculum will help you develop critical thinking about:

  • effective decision-making in communities

  • evaluating causes and consequences of economic and population change

  • job creation, retention, and expansion, and entrepreneurship

  • citizen participation

  • land use and sustainable development

  • community structure and processes that affect development and well-being

Students say that course work in this program has immediate application to their career, elected office, or volunteer activities, and has helped them make their communities stronger, more sustainable, and better places to live and work.

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