Graduate Certificates

The Urban and Economic Development Certificate

  • Are workplace demands in local government or nonprofits requiring you to update your knowledge and skills?
  • Do you have a Master’s degree and/or some professional experience and want to position yourself for a new position or to take on more responsibility?
  • Do you have your undergraduate degree and have an interest in urban development but are not sure where to begin or are not yet ready to commit to a graduate degree program?
  • Do you want to learn more about community development and planning and/or about the factors influencing urban and regional economic growth and development?

If so, the Certificate in Urban and Economic Development may be for you!infobutton

Features of the Certificate:

  • Successful completion of the program will require 15 hours of coursework plus a Professional Portfolio Project that can be completed at your own pace – in as little as two semesters or as many as 5 years!
  • Open to students from all disciplinary backgrounds
  • Offered by the Political Science Department at UNCG, you will be taking courses alongside students in the UNCG MPA program so you will have opportunities for professional networking
  • Certificate students are eligible for student loans if enrolled for at least 5 semester hours of coursework per semester.
  • Dedicated faculty with expertise in the field
  • Small class sizes (10-20 students)
  • To accommodate working professionals, all classes are offered either in the evenings or online
  • Though we cover the theoretical underpinnings of related fields, course work and assignments focus on ‘real world’ applications


Interdisciplinary learning opportunities draw from multiple relevant fields including community development, economic development, public administration, geography and urban planning, and data science. You can also combine your core coursework with specialized electives drawn from across the university according to your professional interests.

The curriculum will prepare students to understand:

  • The interaction between non-local and local factors influencing community development and economic growth
  • Issues, policy alternatives, and strategies related to community and economic development
  • Urban planning and regional development policies in the context of urban politics and local government
  • Questions of equity and inclusion in community development
  • The interplay of theory and practice as it unfolds in the fields of community and economic development

Course Requirements:

The UED Certificate requires the completion of one 3 hour core course, a choice of TWO 3 hour cognate courses, and a choice of 6 hours (mix of 3 hour and 1 hour courses) of approved electives in the student’s area of professional interest. Required courses are as follows:

A. Required Core Course (3 hours)

PSC 520 Urban Political Systems (Fall – IN PERSON)

B. Cognate Courses (6 hours – select TWO of the following 3 hour courses):

PSC 613 Local Government Administration (Spring – ONLINE)

PSC 620 Urban and Regional Development Policy (Spring – ONLINE)

PSC 630 Community and Economic Development (Fall – IN PERSON)

GES 602 Sustainable Urban Planning (Fall – ONLINE)

GES 605 Sustainable Regional Planning (Spring – ONLINE)

GES 631 Transportation Planning (Fall – IN PERSON)

ENT 630 Researching Entrepreneurship & Economic Development (Spring)

PSC 540 Nonprofit Management & Leadership (Fall – IN PERSON)

C. Concentration Electives (6 hours)

Students select an additional 6 hours of courses from the cognate courses listed above or courses from approved programs (in consultation with the UED Program Coordinator). These include the 1 hour applied courses listed below:

PSC 511 Tools for Effective Public Engagement (Spring – Saturdays, IN PERSON)

PSC 511D Strategic Planning (Fall/Spring – HYBRID)

PSC 511G Grantwriting (Fall/Spring/Summer – HYBRID)

PSC 511P Program Evaluation (Spring -ONLINE)

D. Portfolio Requirement

To graduate, the UED Certificate also requires the completion of a culminative portfolio. The portfolio requires approval from the UED Program Coordinator before final clearance for graduation from the program.


The following must be submitted to UNCG’s Graduate School by July 1 (for the Fall semester), November 15 (for the Spring semester), or April 1 (for the Summer semester) · An application form (see the Graduate School website

  • A transcript (Bachelor’s and/or Master’s degree) from a regionally accredited college or university
  • A personal statement about your educational and career goals (2 pages)
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • An up-to-date resume

Standardized test scores are not required. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of the certificate specific undergraduate majors or course work are not required for admission.

Relationship to the MPA Program:

The Political Science Department at UNCG offers the Master of Public Affairs (MPA) degree for those interested in professional careers in public and nonprofit administration. It can be awarded with a general focus or with declared Concentrations in either Community and Economic Development, Nonprofit Management, or Local Government Management.

Students without an MPA degree who enroll in the certificate program may apply to the MPA program and receive up to 12 hours credit toward the degree. However, satisfactory completion of the certificate program does NOT guarantee admission to the MPA program. All other admission criteria for the MPA degree, including transcripts, letters of recommendation, and a supplemental application must be completed by the applicant and reviewed by the faculty. Admitted students would have to complete the MPA program within the University’s five-year time frame for a master’s degree from the beginning of the certificate enrollment to the completion of the degree.

For more information, please contact:

Dr. Allison Bramwell

UED Program Coordinator and Advisor


Mrs. Abby Salah

Program Administrator


CIP Code: UED: 45.1001

UNCG OPEID # 002976

Credential Level: 04

SOC Codes: 21-1099.00/11-9151.00/19.3051.00/19-4061.01/19-3094.00 

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