Graduate Certificate

The Graduate Certificate in Community and Economic Development requires 15 credits consisting of five 3-credit courses that introduce concepts and practical strategies useful to those new to community and economic development professions, or those who have experience working with community or development related institutions and want to gain additional knowledge and skills.

The program also meets the needs of those who are considering a career in community and economic development and want to find out if this profession is right for them. 

Like the MPS degree, the required courses for the Graduate Certificate program are offered entirely online through the Penn State World Campus .  The courses are offered primarily in the fall and spring semesters, which are 15 weeks in duration.  We recommend that students complete the required coursework for the Graduate Certificate in the following order:

  • CEDEV 500 Community & Economic Development: Theory and Practice
  • CEDEV 430 Principles of Local Economic Development
  • CEDEV 452 Community Structure, Processes and Capacity
  • CEDEV 509 Population, Land Use and Municipal Finance
  • CEDEV 575 Methods and Techniques for Community and Economic Development

Admission Requirements

“I believe I am learning more online than I had in most classroom experiences. I believe much of this is due to the discussions and interactions between students and faculty.”

-CEDEV certificate student

We appreciate your interest in continuing your education through the Community and Economic Development Graduate Certificate program.  To apply for admission to the Graduate Certificate Program in Community and Economic Development and The Graduate School, U.S. applicants must have received, from a regionally accredited institution, a bachelor's degree (2.5 GPA required on a 4.0 scale) with requirements substantially equivalent to those at Penn State. International applicants must have a tertiary (post secondary) degree that is deemed comparable to a 4-year bachelor's degree to apply for admission.  Applicants to the graduate certificate in CEDEV are expected to have completed 6 credits in social sciences, preferably 3 in economics and 3 in sociology, in an undergraduate program. 

Applications are accepted for each academic semester and are reviewed by the program’s faculty committee upon submission; the priority application submission deadlines are as follows:

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

Admission decisions are provided within 2 – 3 weeks upon submission of a completed application. 

Application Process

Individuals seeking admission to the Graduate Certificate program in Community and Economic Development (CEDEV) must complete and submit electronically an application online through The Graduate School at Penn State’s online admissions portal .  Within the online application, applicants will need to provide the following items:

  • 1 set of unofficial transcripts from institutions of conferred degree(s) (undergraduate and/or graduate degree); Please upload transcripts within the online application or mail to the CEDEV Graduate Program at Pennsylvania State University, 305 Armsby Building, University Park, PA, 16802, or by email to .
  • Current résumé
  • Short statement of interest:  The online application contains an area to write this statement, which may address your reasons for pursuing the certificate program, why you feel you are a good candidate for the program, and any information you would like the admissions committee to know about you personally/professionally. 
  • $65 (USD) nonrefundable application fee (Payable via secure online payment processing system.)

To begin your application to the Graduate Certificate in Community and Economic Development, visit The Graduate School’s admission portal .  If you have any questions about the application process, please contact the CEDEV Graduate Program at or (814) 865-6223.