The Applied Community and Economic Development (ACED) sequence is an interdisciplinary program that enables those who are passionate about social change through service to take their careers to the next level. The sequence is designed for returned Peace Corps Volunteers and students with other development experiences (e.g., AmeriCorps, nonprofit work).

The Stevenson Center for Community and Economic Developmentcoordinates these programs for Fellows, who spend an intense year on campus followed by 11-month paid professional practice. ACED sequence students have a graduate assistantship in the fall and spring semesters on campus prior to field work. Students pursuing this sequence receive a solid and relevant educational opportunity to pursue careers in community and economic development in the United States and around the world.

University Admission Requirements

A student applying to a master’s program must:

  • have earned a four-year bachelor’s degree or its equivalent from a college or university that is accredited by the appropriate regional accrediting association, or do so within one academic year
  • present official transcripts from each college or university other than Illinois State at which graduate, undergraduate, or non-degree credit was earned. Transcripts can be emailed from the university to or mailed in a sealed envelope to: Office of Admissions, 201 Hovey Hall, Campus Box 2200, Normal, IL 61790-2200

International students can learn more about specific application requirements by visiting the Office of Admissions.

Additional Program Admission Requirements

A student applying to this program must:

  • have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale for either the last 60 hours of undergraduate coursework or 9+ hours of coursework in a master’s program.
  • have successfully completed basic college courses in calculus and statistics, principles of economics, and intermediate courses in microeconomic and macroeconomic theory. Students who do not meet these requirements may still be admitted into the program, but they will be expected to take additional coursework prior to beginning graduate study to remedy designated deficiencies.
  • submit official GRE scores (use institutional code 1319).
  • upload into the online application system a current resume.
  • upload into the online application system a two-page statement of purpose describing why they would like to be in the economics-applied community & economic development graduate sequence at Illinois State University.
  • upload into the online application system a sample of academic writing (at least five pages)
  • submit names and email addresses of three references for letters of recommendation within the online application
  • submit one of the following directly to Stevenson Center:
    • Letter of Service (Applied Community & Economic Development Fellows Program)
    • Official Description of Service (Peace Corps Fellows Program)
  • complete the applied economics, ACED sequence graduate assistantship application, available through the Stevenson Center . Only applicants selected for both admission and the applied economics, ACED sequence graduate assistantship are admitted to the ACED sequence.

Applicants who submit all materials according to the posted instructions and by the posted deadlines, and whose materials indicate potential for success in their chosen program, will complete a required interview (by phone or in person).

Interested individuals may apply to only one of the Applied Community and Economic Development programs at a time.

Admission Dates and Deadlines

Term Application Deadline
Fall (August) March 1

Graduate Assistantship Information

The University provides graduate assistantships as a means of financial support. They are intended as a way to facilitate a student’s progress to degree while providing important professional development.


To be eligible for an assistantship a student must, generally,

  • be admitted unconditionally as a degree-seeking student into a graduate academic program, or have a minimum of 120 undergraduate hours if in an integrated degree program
  • be in good-standing
  • be enrolled full-time (typically at least 9 credit hours during the fall or spring semesters, or at least 6 hours during the summer session).


Graduate assistants receive

  • monthly wages paid in the form of either a stipend or an hourly wage
  • a waiver for 100% of tuition during a semester of appointment
  • a waiver for up to 12 credit hours of tuition for the summer term immediately following a fall or spring appointment

Cost & Funding

See Student Accounts for information on tuition and fees. Funding for graduate students is available from several different sources. Students who have been admitted from continuous states including Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, and Wisconsin will receive in-state tuition.

Graduate Coordinator

Name Office Email Phone
Beverly Beyer Stevenson 435 (309) 438-7090