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Graduate Certificate in
Community and Economic Development


The curriculum for the community and economic development graduate certificate consists of five 3-credit courses. The certificate program can deliver the knowledge and skills you need to address important issues in community and economic development. If you want to go on to complete a master's degree, you can roll these credits into Penn State's online Master of Professional Studies in Community and Economic Development.

The five core courses introduce the field and cover the following topics:

  • principles of community and economic development
  • community organization and decision-making
  • economic development and planning
  • population, land use, and municipal finance
  • techniques and methods of community and economic development

The delivery method for the core courses in this program is online group, which means that students progress together through each course. The courses are offered in a time frame comparable to a traditional semester schedule, with fixed start and end dates. The course content and activities are available in electronic format, and access to the internet is required in order to complete this program.

Required Courses (15 credits)

  • 3

    Concepts, strategies, and techniques of local economic analysis, planning, and development; decision-making exercises.

    • Prerequisite

      an introductory course in economics

  • 3

    Social organization and change in communities; use of sociological principles in analysis of community problems and development.

    • Prerequisite

      6 credits in rural sociology, sociology, or psychology

  • 3

    Understanding theories, concepts, and frameworks of community and economic development and community decision-making models in application to community development practice and issues.

  • 3

    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.

  • 3

    Understanding and applying methods and hands-on experience with techniques used in community and economic development.

If you are interested in entering the graduate degree program, visit the Master of Professional Studies in Community and Economic Development program page.

Course Availability

If you're ready to see when your courses will be offered, visit our public LionPATH course search (opens in new window) to start planning ahead.

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