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Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Master of Professional Studies degree and Graduate Certificate offered 100% online?

Yes, all of the required courses for both programs are offered 100% online through the Penn State World Campus , the online campus of The Pennsylvania State University (and the 25th campus!).  A broadband internet connection is required to participate in courses through the World Campus.

How does a Master of Professional Studies degree differ from other graduate degrees?

According to Penn State's Graduate School, "the professional master's degree emphasizes practical application of knowledge for solving problems."  Professional master's degree may also be considered terminal, therefore, if you are interested in pursuing doctoral work beyond the master's level, we recommend that you carefully review the admission requirements for the doctoral degree program to ensure the degree work completed in the CEDEV MPS degree will meet those requirements. 

How long will it take to complete the Master's or certificate program?

The duration of program completion is very individualized, and depends on how much time a student can devote to taking courses.  Many students in the CEDEV graduate program are working professionals with responsibilities which many limit the number of courses students may participate in each semester. 

Students in each program, MPS or certificate, have 8 years to complete the graduation requirements from the first semester enrolled. 

When is the deadline for submitting my application for the Master of Professional Studies or Graduate Certificate programs in Community and Economic Development?

We accept applications for the Master of Professional Studies (MPS) degree at the following times:

  • For admission to a summer semester, the application submission deadline is March 15.
  • For admission to a fall semester, the application submission deadline is June 15.
  • For admission to a spring semester, the application submission deadline is September 30.

Deadlines for submission of Graduate Certificate applications are as follows:

  • For admission to a summer semester*, April 1.  (*If summer courses are not offered, applicants will be deferred to a future semester.)
  • For admission to a fall semester, July 1.
  • For admission to a spring semester, November 1.

Can the application fee be waived?

No. University policy does not allow the waiver or deferment of the application fee. Applications received without the fee cannot be processed.

Do I have to take the GREs?

No.  The GRE score is not a requirement of the MPS or Graduate Certificate application.  If you have completed the GRE and would like to submit your scores for review as part of your MPS application, you may do so within the online application.

Is there a minimum GPA requirement for admission to the CEDEV graduate program?

No. For the Master of Professional Studies degree, the Penn State Graduate School and the CEDEV Graduate Program requires applicants have received a baccalaureate degree from an accredited educational institution, and a 3.00 grade point average (GPA) on a scale of 4.00 is preferred.  Do not feel discouraged from applying to the MPS degree if your GPA achieved from your baccalaureate degree is below a 3.0.  We would suggest that you inform the review committee through your Statement of Purpose (a requirement of the MPS application) how your GPA from your baccalaureate degree does not accurately reflect your academic abilities and why you should be offered admission to the MPS program.

For those applying to the Graduate Certificate program, there is no minimum GPA requirement for an applicant’s baccalaureate or graduate degree. 

What is the cost of these programs?  Am I eligible for financial aid?

Tuition costs for the Graduate Certificate and Master of Professional Studies programs is based on a cost-per-credit.  To determine the tuition costs for these programs, please utilize the World Campus Tuition Estimator .  

Full- and part-time degree-seeking students may apply for federal student aid using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) . Graduate students seeking full-time status must be registered for 9 credits in a semester; students must be registered for at least 5 credits in a semester to achieve part-time status.  For complete eligibility guidelines and information on financial aid, please visit the World Campus page of the Office of Student Aid .  Students in non-degree certificate programs are not eligible for financial aid. 

Does the program offer scholarships or grants?

At this time, the program does not offer scholarships or grants for tuition costs for the MPS or certificate programs.  Please contact the World Campus Student Aid representative to discuss financial aid options at (800) 252-3592.  The program disseminates information of educational funding opportunities to current students as available.