DePaul University College of LAS > Centers & Institutes > Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development > Programs > Development Certificate

Community Development Certification Program

Community-development specialists in the Chicago metropolitan area are increasingly being asked to undertake complex initiatives to enhance civic participation, housing conditions, job opportunities, mobility, safety, and many other aspects of neighborhood life. Globalization is changing the nature of their work and accelerating shifts in neighborhood employment and demography.

The Certificate in Community Development at DePaul University is designed to put community development specialists on the cutting-edge of organization planning, leadership development, and program evaluation. The program allows established and emerging professionals to broaden their perspective on urban-development programs in an interdisciplinary learning environment. Three different DePaul University departments teamed up to offer this certificate: The Management of Public Services Program (MPS), the Psychology Department, and the Sociology Department.

This certificate is awarded when a student completes four (4) eligible graduate-level courses (totaling 16 quarter hours) and participates in a non-credit research colloquium. Each participant of the colloquium makes a presentation before a small group of students and faculty members. 

Joseph Schwieterman. DePaul University School of Public Service Professor and Director of the Chaddick Institute,  Schwieterman, is Chairman of this program and can be contacted at or 312.362.5731.

Professor Joseph Ferrari. As the official representative for this program in the Psychology Department, Professor Ferrari can be contacted at or 773.325.4244.

Do you have questions about the Community Development Certificate? Email us at or call 312.362.5731.

Enrollment & Course Requirements

Enrollment Requirement 1. One of the admission requirements for the program is to have earned a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution.

Enrollment Requirement 2. If you are not currently a DePaul University student, you must apply to the university as a non-degree seeking student. To learn more about the non-degree seeking student application process, please click here or call 312.362.8300 or toll-free at 1-800-4DEPAUL (if you are calling outside Illinois).

Course Requirement 1. All students are required to enroll in MPS 571: Metropolitan Planning, a course designed to broaden a student's perspective on the planning issues in the Chicago region. This course is generally taught on a weekday evening during Winter quarter at the Loop Campus. No more than two courses earned toward a certificate can come from one department.

Course Requirement 2. In addition to MPS 571: Metropolitan Planning, students must choose three more courses with the director's approval.  Eligible courses include:  

GEO441: Applications in Geographic Information Systems 
MLS404: The City
PSY 654: Community Psychology 
PSY 680: Introduction to Industrial-Organization Psychology
MPS 526: Local Government Administration
MPS 572: Urban Poverty Seminar
MPS 573: Urban and Community Analysis
MPS 574: Community Organizations and Urban Development
SOC 426: Policies and Urban Development 
SOC 422: Urban and Community Analysis
SOC 424: Sociology of Housing

Students may also enroll in the following elective courses with permission of the program director. Generally, participants will be limited to one of these courses:

MPS 529: Strategic Planning
PSY 495: Grant Writing
PSY 520: Principles of Diversity
PSY 567: Special Topics Seminar: Empowerment
PSY 569: Seminar in Program Evaluation
SOC 423: Urban Cultural Areas (MLS 455)
SOC 432: Social Service in Contemporary Society 
SOC 444: Law Enforcement and Community Relations

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply for the certificate?

Students interested in pursuing the certificate should apply through the online application system​ found on the DePaul website. Students should select the non-degree seeking option and choose the Community Development Certificate from the drop down menu. If you have any questions about the application process, please contact Katie Duclo at 

What is the application fee?

The nonrefundable application fee is $25. This application fee is waived for students already enrolled in a graduate program at DePaul.

Do I need to take the GRE? Do I need to submit transcripts?

Students do not need to take the GRE to apply for the Community Development Certificate. They are required to submit official transcripts proving they have obtained an undergraduate degree before beginning the certificate program.

How much is tuition for the certificate?

Students take regular graduate level courses with students from a variety of graduate programs at DePaul.  Students in the certificate program pay regular graduate tuition, which as of AY 2014-15 is $635/credit hour or about $2540 for a 4 credit course. Almost all of the courses for the certificate program are 4 credit courses.

When and where are these courses taught?

DePaul University follows a quarter system. Classes run for 10 weeks in the fall, winter and spring. The days and times of courses for the certificate program vary by quarter and department. In general, classes in the School of Public Service (MPS) are taught on a once a week schedule in the evenings on the Loop campus. The GIS course is also taught once a week in the evenings but is held on the Lincoln Park campus. Courses in Sociology and Psychology are held on the Lincoln Park campus and usually meet two times a week during daytime hours, although some courses are taught in the once a week, evening format. Students should look at the course catalog for times and dates of specific courses.

What classes are best suited for my interests?

The Community Development Certificate is intended to give students a wide range of options for electives that best fit their areas of interest. Some of the courses, however, might be challenged for students who do not have past course work in the field. For example, some of the PSY courses are intended for doctoral PSY students and would not be advised for a student who does not have a strong background in Psychology. If you are unsure of your level of preparedness for a specific course, it is best to contact the director of the certificate program to discuss your concerns.