Master of Professional Studies Degree

The Master of Professional Studies degree in Community and Economic Development (CEDEV) is a 30 credit graduate program offered entirely online through the Penn State World Campus. As a CEDEV student, you will learn theory and its practical application to real life opportunities and challenges faced by communities around the globe.


The curriculum is designed to give you skills to:

  • identify and enhance economic development planning
  • recognize community needs and opportunities
  • assess communities and regions and make recommendations for change
  • understand the structures and facilitate the processes of communities and community organizations.

Online discussions with faculty and fellow students foster the exchange of new ideas, the development and application of techniques and the establishment of personal and professional networks. Coursework in the MPS in Community and Economic Development will immediately apply to your job, elected office, or volunteer activities making the communities you care about stronger, more sustainable and better places to live and work.  Professional Master's degrees typically emphasize practical application of knowledge for problem solving.  MPS degrees are generally recognized as terminal degrees, however, students interested in pursuing a Ph.D. after completion of the MPS degree should consult with the CEDEV Graduate Program about developing an academic plan within the MPS curriculum to prepare students for doctoral work. 

In addition to the completion of 30 graduate credits, Master's students must prepare a high-quality written document as the culminating experience of the graduate degree. 

To view the curriculum for the CEDEV MPS degree, please visit the Current Students page .

Admission Requirements

Applications for the MPS in Community and Economic Development are accepted for each academic semester .  Students should apply for the semester that they wish to begin study in the graduate program.  The application submission deadlines are as follows:

  • Fall semester:  June 15
  • Spring semester:  September 30
  • Summer semester:  April 1

A 3.00 grade point average (on a 4.00 scale) for the most recent two years of college/university education, or with an advanced degree from an accredited institution, is preferred for admission to the MPS program in Community and Economic Development.  Applicants are expected to have completed 6 credits in social sciences, preferably 3 in economics and 3 in sociology, and 3 credits in statistics in undergraduate work.  Other admission requirements include the following:

  • Statement of purpose describing professional experiences and education, career goals, and how the MPS program will enable applicant to meet their objectives
  • Current resume
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Two sets of official transcripts from accredited educational institutions attended for conferred undergraduate and graduate degrees (if applicable); Please forward official transcripts to the CEDEV Graduate Program at Pennsylvania State University, 305 Armsby Building, University Park, PA, 16802.
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score, if applicable. TOEFL scores must be submitted by all international applicants unless otherwise specified. Please see the Language Proficiency section of the International Students page of the Penn State Graduate School website for graduate program requirements. Visit the TOEFL Web site or call 609-771-7100 for more information. Penn State's institutional code is 2660.
  • $65 nonrefundable application fee

To begin your application, please visit the Graduate School Portal .  On the "Campus, Major, Degree & Semester" page select "WORLD CAMPUS" as the campus and "COMMUNITY AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT" as the major.

"Really great--love everything about the program."
Jason Peirce, CEDEV MPS student

Requirements listed here are in addition to general Graduate School requirements stated in the General Information section of the Graduate Bulletin. The best-qualified applicants will be accepted to the program. Official Graduate Record Exam (GRE) test scores are NOT required for application to the CEDEV MPS program (if submitted, however, they may be considered).  

Upon submission of a completed application, the application is reviewed by the faculty of the graduate program and The Graduate School at Penn State . For questions about the application process, please contact us or review the "Frequently Asked Questions" for the application and admission process.

Individuals may also take courses in the MPS program prior to formal application and admission to the degree program.  If you wish to take graduate courses prior to application to the degree program, you may seek admission to The Graduate School as a nondegree student.  If you elect to enter Penn State as a graduate nondegree student, you must realize that no more than 15 credits of course work accumulated in nondegree status can count toward a graduate degree. However, admission as a nondegree student does not guarantee admission to a graduate degree or certificate program.  To apply to The Graduate School as a nondegree student, please begin your application at the Graduate School Portal

If you have any questions about the application process, please contact the CEDEV Graduate Program at or (814) 865-6223.