With the online MPS in community and economic development, students gain the knowledge necessary to navigate the complexities of communities and community organizations and inspire positive changes on a local, regional, and national level.

The required curriculum includes coursework in principles of economic development, community structure and processes, land use, methods for effective community development, and statistics. MPS students are required to complete at least one CEDEV elective, but can also take additional electives in other areas of interest, if interested.

The graduation requirements for the MPS degree include the completion of 30 graduate credits, including required CEDEV courses, elective course(s), statistics course, and the capstone integrative paper. A 3.0 GPA is also required for completion of the MPS degree. All courses are offered through the World Campus; a broadband Internet connection is required.

Students may begin their coursework during any academic semester after admission to the program. Most students working full-time take one to two courses per semester; students should plan to commit 10 to 12 hours per week per graduate course to be successful in the program.

Required courses

(Click on the course name to view a sample syllabus for the course.)

Required Courses Description
CEDEV 430 Principles of Local Economic Development
Concepts, strategies, and techniques of local economic analysis, planning and development; and decision making exercises. Prerequisite: introductory course in economics.
CEDEV 452 Community Structure, Processes and Capacity
Social organization, processes and change in communities; use of sociological principles in analysis of community problems and development. Prerequisite: 6 credits in rural sociology, sociology, or psychology.
CEDEV 500 Community and Economic Development: Theory and Practice Understanding theories, concepts, and frameworks of community and economic development and community decision-making models in application to community development practice and issues.
CEDEV 505 Leadership Development Exploration, understanding, and application of leadership roles, strategies, and principles in group and community settings.
CEDEV 509 Population, Land Use and Municipal Finance Understanding the interaction of population characteristics, land use, municipal funds, and taxation in a locality and how they impact the operation and management of government jurisdictions.
CEDEV 575 Methods and Techniques for Community and Economic Development Understanding and applying methods and hands-on experience with techniques used in community and economic development.
CEDEV 580: Research Application and Practice Effective for the fall 2012 semester, this is a required course for MPS students; previously listed as CEDEV 597C. Course provides framework for students to apply, integrate, and practices the theories, concepts, ideas, methods, and techniques from the CEDEV curriculum. Students should plan to complete all of the other required MPS courses, before enrolling in CEDEV 580. Students should not plan to enroll in CEDEV 580 and CEDEV 596 during the same semester. Please contact the CEDEV program manager & academic adviser with questions, pjs40@psu.edu.
CEDEV 596 Individual Studies Supervised, nonthesis research for MPS students to continue work on the Master's paper requirement for the MPS degree outside of CEDEV 597C/580. Course is available for 1 through 6 credits.
*Students only need to register for CEDEV 596 if they need additional credits to develop the Master's paper. In addition, at least one credit is required the semester of graduation. Students should not plan to enroll in CEDEV 580 and CEDEV 596 during the same semester. Please contact the CEDEV program manager & academic adviser with questions, pjs40@psu.edu.
Statistics course A 3-credit graduate-level statistics course (400 level or above) is required. CEDEV students may enroll in STAT 500 Applied Statistics or STAT 800 (previously STAT897A) Introduction to Applied Statistics, available through the World Campus (visit the World Campus Course Catalog for course information and offering). Students may also transfer a completed graduate statistics course from another accredited educational institution. We recommend students complete the statistics course early in the study in the MPS curriculum to be well prepared for content in other courses and development of the final integrative paper. If you would like to enroll in a graduate statistics course at another educational institution to transfer the credits to Penn State, prior approval from the CEDEV Graduate Program Coordinator is required.
Elective course(s) MPS students are required to take 3 to 6 credits of elective course(s).

Elective Courses in CEDEV

    • CEDEV 560 Regional Development: Principles, Policy, and Practice: Regional growth and development, focusing on challenges to theory, policy, and practice, emphasizing change in metropolitan, micropolitan, and rural areas. 3 credits. Prerequisites: CEDEV 430 and CEDEV 500.
    • CEDEV 567 Resilient Communities and Environments: Understanding connections between communities and surrounding ecosystems; exploration of management techniques for building adaptive, resilient, and sustainable communities and environments. 3 credits.
    • CEDEV 597A Entrepreneurship in the Community: This course examines the multiple definitions of "entrepreneurship," and how these individuals affect and are affected by the social and economic dynamics of their community. The course develops a rich understanding of the entrepreneurship process from a community-based view, rather than a traditional firm-based view, illustrating the many ways that entrepreneurs and their local society interact. 3 credits.
    • CEDEV 597B Topics in Economic Development: This course provides an overview of modern approaches to developing places and regions, including policy options and limitations; fundamental reasons for the world-wide decline of some rural areas and the growth of cities are also explored. 3 credits. Prerequisite: CEDEV 430


      STAT 500



To enroll in a CEDEV course, please contact the CEDEV Graduate Program for registration. All CEDEV courses are registered through the CEDEV Graduate Program. MPS students may register for statistics and elective courses outside of CEDEV using the student LionPATH account .

Check course offerings and availability in LionPATH.

Transfer Credits

Please note that up to 10 graduate credits earned within the past 5 years with a grade value of "B" or better from an external, accredited educational institution that did not apply to receipt of another degree may be transferred into the MPS degree coursework. This requires approval of the CEDEV Graduate Program Coordinator; please provide us an official transcript and the course syllabus for review.

Other Degree Requirements

The Graduate School at Penn State requires that at least 18 credits of a master's degree must be taken at the 500 level. The MPS degree requires students to complete at least one 3 credit CEDEV elective course. Additionally, a minimum grade point average of 3.0 is required for graduation and to remain in good academic standing.

All MPS students are required to complete a two-part Scholarship and Research Integrity (SARI) training program. The program provides responsible conduct of research education that is interdisciplinary and program specific.

The requirements for the MPS degree must be satisfied within 8 years of the student's first semester enrolled in the program.

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