• Apply By
    Fall: April 15 | Spring: October 15
  • Admission GPA
  • Total Credits
  • Format
    Partially online
    In person
  • Time to Complete
    2-3 years (average)
  • Cost
    $900 per credit

Be a Community Engagement Champion

Are you motivated to improve the quality of life for individuals and communities? Do you want to contribute to finding solutions to society's biggest challenges?

The Master of Professional Studies in Civic Engagement (CIVE) is for emerging leaders like you who want to make a difference. This community engagement degree gives you a broad set of leadership skills, as well as deep expertise in an area of community-focused practice. You will build on a core of applied professional courses with elective courses based on your goals and interests. Whether you are just starting out, changing careers, or want to strengthen your current role, you’ll be ready to make an impact.

What Is a Civic Engagement Degree?

The MPS in Civic Engagement is:

  • Self-curated—Focus on a specialty through 12 credits of electives.
  • Career-focused—Apply your coursework in a variety of professional areas in the nonprofit sector, government, or activism.
  • Expansive—Explore the ways civic engagement connects diverse communities and sectors to make change.
  • Connected—Network with faculty members and experts in different civic engagement practices
  • Applied—Blend professional skills with community-focused practice to empower you as a change-maker
  • Systemic—Learn to navigate power structures and work within a range of cultural contexts to make targeted, systemic change

Watch the video below to learn more about civic engagement.

Read the video transcript.

Why Earn a Degree in Civic Engagement?

Because we need more equitable leaders with advanced professional, communication, and data literacy skills to serve our communities. Luckily here in Minnesota, we have one of the most generous and engaged populations in the country. It’s a great place to generate action and create change.

We are:

  • 3rdIn voter turnout in 2022*
  • 1stIn volunteerism among US metro areas** 
  • 3rdIn volunteerism across all states***

* Minnesota Compass: Voter Turnout
** Americorps – Volunteering in America: Cities
*** Americorps – Volunteering in America: Rankings


Required Courses (18 credits)

Electives (12 credits)

Working with an advisor, you'll select courses from academic departments across the University of Minnesota related to your chosen track. Courses must be taken at the graduate level. Here is just a sampling:

Title Number Credits
Can We Feed the World Without Destroying It? GCC 5001 3
Life Course Inequality and Health SOC 8551 3
Seminar: Race, Representation, and Resistance GWSS 8260 3
Analysis of Discrimination PA 8312 4
Seminar in American Minority Literature ENGL 8300 3
Media Outlaws COMM 5231 3
Trends and Impacts in Arts and Cultural Leadership and Management ACL 5211 3
Policy in Sexual Health: Cutting Edge Analyses (offered online) HSEX 6011 3
Ethical Dilemmas and Legal Issues for Cultural Leaders ACL 5231 3
Culture, Place, and Community: Ways of Living Together in the 21st Century ACL 5261 3


You may take up to 6 credits of GCC (Grand Challenge Courses).

Title Number Credits
Global Survey of Gender and Public Policy PA 5601 3
Policy in Sexual Health: Cutting-Edge Analyses HSEX 6011 3
Climate Change Policy PA 5724 3
Diversity and Public Policy PA 5422 3
Natural Resource and Environmental Policy ESPM 5241 3
Human-Centered Service Redesign PA 5161 3
Ethical Issues in Global Health BTHX 5710 3
Intercultural Communication Processes COMM 5451 3
Whole Person, Whole Community: The Reciprocity of Well-Being CSPH 5118 3
Can We Feed the World Without Destroying It? GCC 5001 3
Global Venture Design: What Impact Will You Make? GCC 5005 3
Toward Conquest of Disease GCC 5007 3
Policy and Science of Global Environmental Change GCC 5008 3
Global Climate Challenge: Creating an Empowered Movement for Change GCC 5031 3
Pathways to Renewable Energy GCC 5011 3
Making Sense of Climate Change: Science, Art, and Agency GCC 5013 3
The Future of Work and Life in the 21st Century GCC 5014 3
Bioinspired Approaches to Sustainability: Greening Technologies and Lives GCC 5015 3
World Food Problems: Agronomics, Economics, and Hunger GCC 5017 3


Title Number Credits
Survey of Election Administration PA 5971 3
Elections and the Law PA 5972 2
Strategic Management of Election Administration PA 5973 2
Electives (5 or more credits)    
Election Design PA 5975 2
Voter Outreach and Participation PA 5976 1
Data Analysis for Election Administration PA 5982 2
Introduction to Election Security PA 5983 1
Elections Security: How to Protect America's Elections PA 5984 2



Sculpture of woman holding scales and sword

Civic Life and Social Justice 

Civic organizations need leaders skilled in business and management in order to help their communities thrive. Your passion for improving the world around you, serving your community, and enacting social justice will be enhanced through this disciplinary focus.



Group of diverse young people standing arm in arm

Perspectives in Global Citizenship 

The opportunities and tensions that arise from living in a global society require a broad knowledge of what it means to be a global citizen. This focus prepares you for work in health care and health disparity nonprofits and NGOs that concentrate on climate change, the environment, wealth inequalities, maternal and child health, or diversity and equity issues. 


Man and woman at polling place

Election Administration 

This 12-credit online certificate, offered through the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, allows you to gain up-to-date expertise in election administration at the local, state, or national level. In this focus area, you will earn two academic credentials: the MPS in Civic Engagement and the Election Administration Certificate.


Young smiling woman with backpack

Self-Designed Track

If you are interested in a disciplinary area outside of the three described, work with your academic advisor and faculty to craft a personalized master's in community engagement that fits your professional goals.

Careers in Civic Engagement

Civic engagement professionals can work for organizations, corporations, government agencies, educational institutions, and much more. Leaders who can foster civic behavior are needed at every level of employment, no matter the field.

Here are just a few potential job titles you could have:

  • Director of Equity and Community Engagement
  • Director of Immigration and Civic Engagement
  • Race Equity and Public Policy Strategist
  • Civic Engagement Strategist
  • Corporate Social Responsibility Officer
  • Civic Engagement Manager
  • Policy Communications Manager
  • Communication and Engagement Manager
  • Data Coordinator for Civic Engagement
  • Program Manager of Engagement Services


MPS in Civic Engagement faculty come from a range of community engagement, business, education, and legal backgrounds.

Meet the Faculty

Admissions Advising

Graduate enrollment advisor Steve Wicks is happy to answer your questions about the Civic Engagement program and the application procedure.

Steve Wicks

Or you can give Steve a call at 612-301-6127.

Do you have a more detailed question or want to tell us a little bit about yourself before the meeting? Fill out this brief questionnaire.


Fall Application Deadline: April 15
Spring Application Deadline: October 15

We strive to be fair in the admissions process. Our program thrives when we have students from different backgrounds and cultural experiences. The admissions committee completes a holistic review of all required application materials to ensure that you will be successful in the program. We do not require standardized test scores from the Graduate Record Exam (GRE).

You will receive an admission decision four to six weeks after the application deadline. If you have questions about the admission requirements, would like advice on how to put together application materials, or missed the application deadline, please contact Steve Wicks.

Admission Requirements

We welcome applications from students who have:

  • a bachelor's degree from an accredited post-secondary US institution or its international equivalent.
  • an undergraduate GPA of 3.0*.

* If you have a GPA below 3.0, please include an explanation in the extenuating circumstances part of your professional statement.

Application Checklist

Your complete application will include:

  • An online application
  • A professional statement
  • Two letters of recommendation (now optional: see FAQ below for guidance)
  • College transcripts
  • A resume or curriculum vitae
  • English proficiency test scores (if applicable)
  • An application fee

Application Fee Waiver

CCAPS offers a limited number of application fee waivers to US citizens/permanent residents. Complete this form if you’d like to be considered. We strongly recommend applying for a fee waiver at least two weeks before the application deadline. 

If you are applying for a fee waiver, do not submit payment along with your application. We can not reimburse your fee if you have already paid. Due to the limited number, not all application fee waivers will be approved. 

You will be notified via email if your application has been approved. If approved, the fee waiver will be applied to your account. If not approved, you should then submit your payment.

Ready to take the next step?

Frequently Asked Questions

Civic engagement is the act of working to improve our communities and developing the necessary skills to make a difference. It can take many different forms. On a basic level, it includes voting, donating to candidates or causes, or serving on local boards or commissions. Civic engagement also involves community service, environmental action, and other forms of volunteerism. Ultimately, civic engagement is about using one's voice and abilities to make a difference in the world.

Civic engagement is important because it helps to build strong and thriving communities. When people get involved in their community, they feel like they are a part of something larger than themselves. They are more likely to take pride in their community and work to make it a better place. Civic engagement can create a sense of belonging, empowerment, and ownership. It can bring about changes that impact people's daily lives.

Civic engagement can have a larger impact, too. It can play a role in making institutions more transparent and accountable. It can build deeper and more trusting relationships between organizations and communities. Civic engagement can even shape laws, create policies, and influence funding.

Leaders in civic engagement are more than just activists. They identify areas of public concern and address them using professional skills like data analysis, leadership, budgeting, and project management. They tackle issues that affect communities in areas like education, health care, the environment, housing, and racial justice. They create innovative solutions to complex social problems.

Every field and industry could use more socially conscious leadership. Civic engagement professionals are needed in government, educational institutions, organizations, and corporations. With a degree in civic engagement, you could pursue roles such as:

  • Director of Equity and Community Engagement
  • Director of Immigration and Civic Engagement
  • Race Equity and Public Policy Strategist
  • Civic Engagement Strategist
  • Corporate Social Responsibility Officer
  • Civic Engagement Manager
  • Policy Communications Manager
  • Communication and Engagement Manager
  • Data Coordinator for Civic Engagement
  • Program Manager of Engagement Services

Letters of recommendation are an additional way to share your story with the admission panel, but not submitting letters of recommendation will not decrease your chances of admission. If you’re concerned that some areas of your application are not particularly strong, you may want to include a letter of recommendation that supports that area of your application. For example, if you feel that your resume doesn’t show the extent of your professional experience, you might ask a supervisor of a recent volunteer position to write a letter of recommendation about the impact you’ve made in their organization.

CCAPS Graduate Education programs do not provide living stipends, research assistantships, or teaching assistantships as might be expected in a typical PhD program.

  • US based students: CCAPS offers modest financial need-based scholarships to eligible students, and a limited number of merit-based scholarships. However, in most cases students work while going to school in order to cover living expenses and pay tuition out of pocket, including health insurance. 
  • International students: Are not eligible for federal financial aid or CCAPS scholarships and must show financial evidence showing that they can cover tuition, living expenses, and the Student Health Benefit plan health insurance during their period of study. To learn more about planning for these expenses, visit Plan Your Expenses or make an appointment with International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS).

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