Community & Economic Development

Help make prosperity permanent

With a concentration in Community and Economic Development, you’ll learn to develop and manage resources in ways that improve a place’s quality of life—and do so in a responsible, sustainable, cost-effective way. The knowledge and skills you’ll gain will give you what you need to improve the quality of life within communities and create change for the future.

How to apply


Foster progress at every scale

You’ll learn the theories, tools, and practical skills for creating positive, lasting change while studying economic development policy as it’s applied in a broad range of contexts and settings. You’ll gain expertise in the strategic management of all types of locales: neighborhoods, villages, cities, rural regions, states, and countries.




A broad base, plus depth and detail

You’ll begin by mastering the fundamentals reflected in our MPA program’s core competencies. These five courses (15 credit hours) will give you well-developed analytical skills and a broad understanding of policy issues and government processes. In addition to these highly transferable core skills, the Community and Economic Development concentration has three required courses.

  • Planning and Community Development (L 563)
  • Local Economic Development (L 622)

One of the following:

  • Vector-based Geographic Information Systems (E 518)
  • Negotiation and Dispute Resolution for Public Affairs (M 547)
  • Data Analysis and Modeling for Public Affairs (P 507)

The remainder of the course work comes in a wide range of elective courses. These will allow you to tailor your Community and Economic Development concentration to your own specific interests. Working with your advisor, you'll select from many elective options, a sampling of which are below:

  • Approaches to Development (D 576)
  • Introduction to Comparative and International Affairs (D 578)
  • Seminar in Revenue Theory and Administration (F 609)
  • Seminar in Government Budget and Program Analysis (F 610)
  • Seminar in Public Capital and Debt Theory (F 667)
  • Public Management Information Systems (I 516)
  • The Planning Process (L 563)
  • Urban Management (L 564)
  • Management of Urban Government Services (L 568)
  • Strategic Management for Public and Nonprofit Organizations (M 602)
  • Benefit-Cost Analysis (P 541)
  • Public Program Evaluation (P 562)
  • Sustainable Development (S 596)

Combining your Community and Economic Development concentration with another MPA concentration—such as Public Management or International Development—may offer you unique advantages in pursuing a particular career. As they help you design you program, our faculty will work to accommodate your specialized professional interests.

The above are examples of your course options. For a complete listing, see the official Indiana University Graduate Bulletin and work with your advisor as you make your schedule.

Experiential learning that makes an impact

Our MPA offers far more than traditional lectures and lessons. You’ll also get the benefit of experiential learning—typically through an approved internship. What's more, your concentration’s course work will culminate in a project-oriented course—a Capstone—that lets you apply the knowledge you gained throughout the program.

You can also join any number of professional student organizations that offer networking and current information on events in the industry.

Get involved

  • AmeriCorps Staff
  • Chinmaya Organization for Rural Development
  • City of Bloomington
  • Crowe Horwath LLP
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Koehler Partners
  • Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development
  • Office of Entrepreneurial Development
  • Strategic Development Group Inc.
  • United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
  • U.S. Department of Transportation
  • U.S. Government Accountability Office

Learn from faculty with expertise and experience in community and economic development

David B. Audretsch
Distinguished Professor
(812) 855-6766

  • Economic Policy
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Innovation
  • Globalization
  • Regional Economic Policy

Alix Collins, MPA’16


“While I developed an interest in and passion for community and economic development work throughout my terms of service with AmeriCorps and my time working abroad, it was my coursework that really equipped me with the tools to be effective in this industry and career.”


Pari Kasotia, MPA’06


“The biggest priority for any government entity is employment, job creation, and economic growth.  This concentration honed my understanding of the public policy-making process, and provided deep insights on how to keep businesses, communities, and citizens' interests in mind when crafting clean energy policies.”


Hannah Weigle, MPA’17


“From my visit on Experience Day, I felt at home here.  Being surrounded by motivated and civically engaged classmates; and faculty members, is an empowering experience. I cultivated practical skills I will use in my future careers.”