Rural Economic and Community Vitality Graduate Certificates

Online and Distance Education Program

Rural Community
Ag*IDEA Program

Now is your opportunity to gain the skills, knowledge, tools and practical experience to help you play a proactive role in rural community economic development. If you're considering employment in a rural area, you're encouraged to enroll and enhance your capacity to support your communities through leadership and knowledge.

The Rural Economic and Community Vitality graduate certificate conveys economic and social concepts relevant to understanding rural communities, the public decision-making process and the value of a multicultural and diverse citizenship. Certificate topics were designed in consultation with development professionals to ensure the program is practical and relevant to rural communities.

This certificate is taught 100% online and offers three 3-hour core classes, including a capstone course designed to put your learning into practice. You will also select three 5-week courses in your areas of interest, such as community law, financing, workforce or engagement.

Why choose this program?

  • Advance your career from home
  • Access the online course at a time that fits your daily schedule
  • Presentations and coursework available anywhere you have internet access
  • Submit homework electronically
  • Develop and enhance core community development skills and practices.
  • Learn from experienced community and economic development practitioners.
  • Interact with and learn from your fellow students.
  • Engage in a variety of learning methods (i.e., case studies, experiential exercises, group discussions)

Ag*IDEA Program Ag*IDEA is an affiliate of the Great Plains IDEA, a national consortium of universities that offer programs and courses in agriculture disciplines. The Ag*IDEA's membership of top accredited universities offer master's degrees and graduate certificates fully online from top faculty.


The Rural Economic and Community Vitality Certificate requires a minimum of 12 credit hours, nine hours of required core courses and three hours of electives.

Core Courses
  • CDEV 814: Community and Regional Economic Analysis (3 credits)
  • ALEC 833: Dynamics of Effective Leadership in Groups and Teams (3 credits)
  • CDEV 894: Practicum/Creative Component in Community Development - Capstone Project (3 credits)
Elective Courses
  • CDEV 816: Nebraska Rural Government Law Fundamentals (1 credit)
  • CDEV 817: Nebraska Rural Government Finance Fundamentals (1 credit)
  • CDEV/ALEC 818: Community Engagement (1 credit)
  • CDEV 819: Community Action Strategies (1 credit)
  • CDEV 825: Sustainable Economic Development (1 credit)
  • CDEV 826: Fundamentals of Business Analysis (1 credit)
  • CDEV 827: Community Workforce Development (1 credit)
Tuition and Fees How to Apply Contact Us

Students pay the Ag*IDEA/Great Plains IDEA common price per credit hour for this program. Choose "Online Distance Class (ES)" on the tuition and fees cost estimator page and enter your credit hours in the "AG*IDEA, Great Plains IDEA" boxes.

Clicking "How to Apply" takes you to the Graduate Studies website for additional program and application information.

This certificate is for you

  • A graduate student seeking community development knowledge to enhance your career options
  • Economic or community developer wanting a professional development opportunity
  • A community leader/volunteer active in your community
  • An elected official or community employee wanting to enhance knowledge and skills
  • A community philanthropist needing to better understand community structures and funding needs
  • Non-profit organizational leader wanting to create greater impacts in your community
  • Community or regional service providers working in the areas of economic/community development.

I like that it's diversified and I can take classes that interest me. It's also easier to get a minor in whatever I want without having to invest additional time in college.

Applied Science Student in Central City, Nebraska

Service you expect from a leading University

  • Access the same student services available to on-campus students
  • An academic adviser will guide you along your journey
  • Career services are available when you are ready to take your next step


  • Combine a number of disciplines to create a unique degree
  • Choose more than 50% of the courses you take as electives
  • Complete coursework during the time of day that works best for you within a select timeframe

Quality learning experience

  • The University of Nebraska has offered distance education courses for more than 100 years
  • Interact with faculty and students through e-mail, discussion forums and chat groups
  • Direct access to world-class faculty – researchers who are experts in their fields or practitioners with real-world experience

To be accepted to this program

  1. Resume or Curriculum Vita
  2. A letter stating background and professional goals in pursuing the certificate
  3. Three letters of recommendation
  4. Minimum English proficiency: Paper TOEFL 550, Internet TOEFL 79, IELTS 6.5

How to take a class

If you're interested in the certificate courses but are not yet ready to apply for the certificate, you may take a class to see if the certificate is right for you. Select "Non-Degree Post-Baccalaureate" in the application. Upload your undergraduate transcript(s), complete the application and pay the application fee. Graduate Studies will review your application and grant you course registration access. If you later wish to apply for the certificate, you will need to complete the requirements listed above.

Non-Cert Class Tuition and Fees

Application Deadlines

Fall: July 15
Spring: December 1
Summer: April 15

Daniela Mattos


Daniela Mattos, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Practice

Daniela Mattos is a faculty member in the Department of Agricultural Economics. She teaches courses such as Rural Community Economics.


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