California On Campus Economic Development Graduate Programs & Schools

On campus economic development graduate programs help students explore a rich and dynamic subject through in-person and on-campus interaction. Economic development, as you may already know, comprises the policies and processes through which local, national, and global communities affect social, political, and economic change. Whether at the level of city, state, federal, or international governance, economic development is a “policy intervention endeavor” that influences communal health through public policy initiatives.[i] You might have heard of economic development referred to as modernization, westernization, and industrialization amongst other things.[ii] Today, the field takes many other shapes and forms.

Through face-to-face and real-time interaction with classmates and professors, students may explore economic development’s historical contexts, present-day applications, and future goals. They may also learn how to apply theory to practice through workshops and case-studies that happen in the classroom or on campus. Through their on-campus programs, economic development graduate students may pursue the knowledge they need to contribute to communities’ social, political, and economic well-being.

For students who prefer an experience including bricks and mortar buildings, live and in-person professors, and students with whom they may readily interact, on-campus programs may prove a perfect option for exploring the field of economic development.

Who Pursues a Graduate-Level Economic Development Degree On Campus?

Economic development is a broad field, and prospective graduate students with a variety of educational backgrounds may pursue a certificate, master’s, or doctorate in the subject. They may, for example, have a bachelor’s degree in a closely related field such as international affairs, political science, economics, or business. Or they might have a bachelor’s degree in a more ancillary subject such as sociology, anthropology, or mathematics. Given our modern-day concern for sustainable development, they might even have a bachelor’s degree in a subject such as environmental science, architecture, or engineering and use their graduate program to specialize in economic development. 

While students from a variety of academic backgrounds might be accepted into an economic development graduate program, some programs may require students to have earned credits in certain subjects (such as economics and certain types of math) with satisfactory grades prior to full admittance. Students who haven’t earned credits in subjects like these typically do so as prerequisites to their graduate-level coursework.  

Students pursuing a graduate degree in economic development may also come from a variety of occupational backgrounds. They might work in a field directly connected to economic development (certain parts of government, business, or the non-profit sector, for example), or they might use their graduate degree program to try to enter the field. Additionally, they may have well-established careers or just be getting started..

Ultimately, the requirements for educational and occupational background and experience depend, of course, on the degree type—certificate, master’s degree, or doctorate degree—school, and program.

What Skills Might I Develop in an On-Campus Economic Development Graduate Program?

First and foremany, as you pursue your economic development graduate program on campus, you’ll likely gain skills in working with others, communicating clearly, and balancing tasks and obligations. Because you’ll be sitting face-to-face with your classmates and professors, you’ll likely do so through in-person interaction, real-time discourse, and, depending on the course and professor, a variety of interactive tools.

In any economic development graduate program, you’ll need to develop both knowledge and practical application skills. As such, you’ll likely learn how to examine academic research in the field and use that research to affect change in important areas of economic development. You’ll also likely develop yourself in the following areas:

  • Having knowledge and appreciation for various economic development theories and applications 
  • Communicating effectively orally and through writing with and to a diverse range of people
  • Knowing how to use research tools and academic or occupational discourse to influence public policy
  • Specializing in an area of economic development that helps you think critically and take action in certain areas of economic development

Through their graduate programs, students may learn how to use these and other skills to affect change in local, national, or international settings in business, academic, and other contexts.   

What Will I Likely Study in an On-Campus Economic Development Graduate Programs?

In many cases, On Campus Economic Development Graduate Programs draw from a variety of disciplines. Core coursework, in areas such as political science, economics, history, business, and others, may help students gain an in-depth knowledge of the field, and elective coursework, in topics such as public policy, political economy, government (local, national, or international depending on the student’s emphasis), development (community, regional, or rural, for example), and finances (reporting and fund-raising, for example), may help students focus their learning.

In On Campus Economic Development Graduate Programs, professors typically deliver core and elective coursework through a combination of lectures, workshops, and interactive exercises. Your particular opportunities and experiences in the classroom depend, of course, on your program and instructor.

As you pursue your certificate, master’s degree, or PhD in economic development, you may also opt to pursue a concentration in an area such as public policy, urban economics, tourism, or international political economy amongst others.

What Graduate Degrees May I Pursue in Economic Development On Campus?

There are three primary types of graduate-level programs in economic development offered on campus: certificate programs, master’s degree programs, and doctorate degree programs.

Certificate Programs

Certificate programs generally require one year of full time study. In that year, students typically complete three to five classes that either provide a framework for thinking about economic development or help students specialize their knowledge in an area of economic development such as sustainability, tourism, urban development, or others. In on-campus certificate programs, students often take courses with graduate students pursuing their master’s or doctorate degrees.

To browse graduate certificate programs in economic development, you may refine your search using our search tool on the left.

The Master’s Degree in Economic Development

The master’s in economic development degree is typically a Master of Art or Master of Science either directly in economic development or in an area such as community development, global development, political economy, or urban studies. These are just some of the many titles a master’s in economic development degree might hold.

In many master’s degree programs, students pursue their degrees over the course of two years of fulltime study. They take a combination of core and elective courses and sometime pursue a concentration. At the end of On Campus Economic Development Graduate Programs, many students complete a capstone project such as a thesis or community project. They may also take a comprehensive exam and complete an internship. Master’s degree programs in economic development often help professionals pursue or enhance their careers in public, private, and non-profit organizations of all sizes.

The Doctorate Degrees Economic Development

The doctorate or PhD in economic development degree is a research-intensive degree that students earn through five to six years of fulltime core and elective study. Students’ elective courses typically help them focus their studies according to their career and research interests. Students in doctorate degree economic development programs usually complete their programs by writing a dissertation or completing a community-based capstone project. They may also take a comprehensive exam, participate in an internship, or student-teach at a college or university.  The doctorate or PhD in economic development degree helps students develop advanced knowledge, research skills, and, in some cases, applied training in economic development. Many doctorate students pursue careers in management or as professors and researchers in academia.  

How May I Find an On Campus Economic Development Graduate Program?

You’ve come to the right place. Gradschools.com offers listings of accredited certificate, master’s degree, and doctorate degree programs or enables you to refine your On Campus Economic Development Graduate Programs search to browse by program level (certificate, doctorate, or masters), format (hybrid, online, or campus), or location (city, state, or country). Through our website, you may compare program objectives, durations, costs, and more. You may also contact on campus Economic Development Graduate Programs directly for more information. Good luck!  


Sources: [i] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_development | [ii] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_development

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