Graduate Studies

Community and Economic Development

The Master of Arts degree in Community and Economic Development (CED) provides current and aspiring professionals with the latest tools and skills in these areas.

Community Development — Examples: strategic visioning, volunteer management, place-making, environmental sustainability

Economic Development — Examples: business retention and expansion, entrepreneurial ecosystem development, business site location

Marketing and Data Analysis — Examples: conducting surveys and focus groups, digital marketing, community economic analysis

Designed for the working professional

Delivered in a hybrid format, with course content delivered primarily online with occasional face-to-face meetings at WIU’s Quad Cities campus in Moline. The hybrid delivery provides the best of both worlds — the interaction and personal attention of face-to-face class meetings and the flexibility of online learning. Students who enroll full-time can complete their degree in 17 months while continuing to work full-time.

Provides practical, applied knowledge and skills

Focus is on content that can be readily applied in your community. Courses taught by faculty and staff with extensive on-the-ground experience working with local communities on development issues. Furthermore, the program draws on the expertise of practitioners and thought leaders in the development field as adjunct and guest faculty.

Offered by the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs

This professional degree program is being offered by the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs (IIRA), a unique WIU department with more than 25 years of experience engaging with communities in outreach programs. IIRA operates several award winning programs including MAPPING the Future (a strategic visioning program), the Peace Corps Fellows programs (an internship program for Returned Peace Corps Volunteers), and the Midwest Community Development Institute (a training program for community and economic development professionals).


Quick View

Degrees Available:

  • M.A.


  • Quad Cities

Required GPA:

  • Cumulative: 2.75 or
  • Last 2 years: 3.0

Admission Requirements:

  • Transcripts
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Resume
  • Two-page essay

Interesting Facts: Fall 2023

  • Currently enrolled: 8
  • International: 4
  • Minority: 0
  • Students with Assistantships: 2

Department Contact Information:

Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs
Macomb Campus
Stipes Hall 514