Community Planning and Sustainable Development | Online

Program Type
Certificate of Graduate Study (Online)
Certificate of Graduate Study
Modes of Study

Tuition per credit hour

Online mode of study:
$460 for in-state &
$494 for out-of-state residents. Blended mode of study: cost varies. See details and other costs

Credit hours

12 required credit hours. Most courses are equal to 3 credit hours. Browse course list

Program duration

Finish in as little as 1 year. Explore program requirements


Apply for fall, spring, or summer term. View application process & deadlines

Program Highlights

  • Choose a mode of study that is blended (a mix of online and in-person courses) or fully online.
  • Balance your schedule while completing your certificate: Our fully online program option allows you to complete coursework from wherever you are.
  • Save money with reduced e-tuition for out-of-state students who choose to study fully online.
  • Make progress toward a future graduate degree: Apply course credits from your certificate toward a USM master’s degree.
  • Participate in the school’s extensive applied research programs that directly contribute to organizational, program, and policy innovation
  • Earn your certificate in the only program in Northern New England that provides students with planning preparation.
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Program requirements

Our comprehensive curriculum provides a firm grounding in community planning, covering areas such as planning and sustainability concepts, land use and environmental regulation, economic development, and working with the public.

Two students work together to evaluate the data on a map. They bend over a table, pointing out areas on the paper map.

Career opportunities

Expand your skills and knowledge in land use, economic development, and sustainability planning. Contemplating a career in these areas? You are invited to discuss your goals with the chair of our faculty.

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Research opportunities

Participate in research that is meaningful to you. The Muskie School of Public Service is nationally recognized for applying the university’s analysis and research resources to critical issues in the fields of sustainable planning, geographic information systems, environmental policy, economic development, and more.

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Experiential learning

You’ll have the opportunity to attend, participate in, and contribute to the Muskie School’s expanding public outreach activities.

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Faculty support

Our faculty have expertise in a wide range of fields. Nearly half of the faculty hold joint teaching and research appointments and are actively engaged in advising their students.

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Future degree planning

Interested in earning your Master’s degree in Policy, Planning, and Management in the future? The credits you earn through this program can be applied to our MPPM. Some restrictions may apply.

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Next steps

Our graduate admissions counselors are here to answer your questions about the admissions process, our academic programs, and student support services.

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Meet us

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Admission information: Certificate of Graduate Study in Community Planning and Sustainable Development

Application deadlines

We accept applications on a rolling basis and review them continuously.

Application deadlineFall term startSpring term startSummer term start
FinalAugust 1December 15April 15

Applicants are required to provide the following materials:

General requirements

  • Application: Online application
  • Application fee:
    • In-state, out-of-state, and Canadian applicants: Free to apply
    • International applicants: Submit US $50 fee to apply
  • Transcripts: Official transcripts from all colleges or universities attended, excluding the seven campuses of the University of Maine System (UMS transcripts are accessible to USM). A transcript is official when sent directly from the institution.
  • Resume: Submit a resume or CV that outlines professional, volunteer, and community experience.
  • Students whose first language is not English may be required to take one of the following: Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or the Pearson Test of English (PTE) or Duolingo. Applicants must submit official scores as part of the application process. See additional information regarding test scores and requirements.

Additional requirements

  • Essay: In a brief essay (300-500 words), please state your reasons for pursuing a Certificate of Graduate Study in Community Planning and Sustainable Development, your professional goals, and how you think this program of study will contribute to these goals.

English proficiency test scores

View test requirements

Where to send application materials

Get our mailing address and email address