Stevenson Center for Community and Economic Development

Illinois State University
Normal, IL


Details at a Glance

  • School Type

  • Financial Aid Available


Degrees Offered

Applied Economics
Kinesiology & Recreation
Political Science

Our Program

The Stevenson Center cultivates leaders in public service with a unique blend of interdisciplinary coursework, hands-on practice, and collaboration.

Through coursework and field work, the Applied Community and Economic Development (ACED) Fellows Program at Illinois State University enhances the skills of experienced students working to become the new generation of development specialists.

Each admitted Fellow receives a financial package including 100% tuition waiver plus graduate assistantship with stipend. Graduate students are responsible for student fees and other typical living costs.  

Our distinctive program requires ACED Fellows to have at least one year of full-time experience in community development or social services or the equivalent (1,700 hours)—as either a paid professional or a volunteer—prior to starting classes. Service with AmeriCorps programs, Peace Corps, and comparable work experience counts towards this requirement.

While each student pursues a degree in anthropology, applied economics, political science, kinesiology and recreation, or sociology, exposure to all five perspectives is a significant part of the experience that we offer.

Fellows complete one calendar year of full-time coursework and 11 months of hands-on professional practice with communities or organizations across the country needing the skills and expertise our students possess.

Stevenson Center alumni go on to work in a wide variety of leadership roles in nonprofits and in local, state, and federal government. The combination of training, research, and hands-on experience positions our students to be uniquely competitive in the job market. 



  • checkbox-altPersonal Statement
  • checkbox-alt3 Letters of Recommendation
  • checkbox-altUnofficial Academic Transcripts (NOTE: GRE varies by degree program)
  • checkbox-altResume
  • checkbox-altSample of Academic Writing
  • checkbox-altLetter of Service
  • checkbox-altGraduate Assistantship Application

Additional Requirements

See our Admissions page for requirements.

Some applicants may qualify for an application fee waiver ($50). Email for eligibility and instructions.

Application Deadline

The Stevenson Center offers fall semester admissions only. Applications open September 1 each year.

February 1: application deadline for both anthropology and kinesiology and recreation

March 1: application deadline for applied economics, political science, and sociology

Student Body

  • Total Students

    pound25 Students

What Our Students Say

  • I was drawn to the Stevenson Center at ISU because of its interdisciplinary approach to development and its emphasis on community development and public service. I have gained the vocabulary, skills, and confidence needed to be successful in the work I want to do.

    Ryan Arnold, Master's in Political Science ‘20
  • Courses are taught through a very applied approach which helped me transition from my service experience to the classroom, and into the workforce.

    Cecilia Montesdeoca, Master's in Anthropology ‘17
  • I found the practical learning approach to be extremely helpful to my career. I gained an appreciation for how to unpack tough questions, and bring a more critical lens to research that can actually help change or influence conclusions.

    Bunmi Akinnusotu, Master's in Sociology ‘07

Tuition & Financial Aid

  • Financial Aid Available

  • Average Financial Aid Offer


Additional Information

  • checkbox-altApplication Fee Waivers Available