Gain the skills to diagnose and manage state and local government finances.

The Certificate in Municipal Finance is a one-of-a-kind offering through the Center for Municipal Finance that prepares Harris students for careers in local and state governments, as well as private-sector financial and consulting firms. 

Gain in-depth expertise in the process, politics, and economics of public revenue and expenditure decisions. Learn the practices and techniques of modern financial administration, and the operation of the municipal securities market.

Such policy expertise is essential for raising, spending, and borrowing money to provide basic local government services, as well as for tackling many pressing municipal problems that are dependent on resources provided by the budget, such as funding public pensions and health care.

Application Process

Students interested in completing the certificate must declare their intentions to Mike Belsky in the fall of their second year.  This letter of intent will include a course plan for the fall, winter, and spring quarters, listing the planned coursework for the certificate.  Details will be shared before the start of the fall quarter.

Planning for the Certificate

For information on which quarter(s) each course will be offered see the Harris Courses page and filter by certificate. For courses offered by other divisions the typical quarter(s) offered has been indicated.

Certificate Requirements

Please note that certificate requirements and/or course offerings for 2017-18 still subject to change.

  • To earn the certificate students must complete three courses, including:

    • Two courses from this list:

      • PPHA 32100 State and Local Finance (not offered in 2017-18)

      • PPHA 35801 Political Economy of Cities (not offered in 2017-18)

      • PPHA 36050 Public Budgeting and Financial Planning (not offered in 2017-18)

      • PPHA 42510 Applied Financial Management

      • BUS 30000 Financial Accounting

      • ECON 26060 Public Sector Economics

      • SSAD 49600 Financial Management for Nonprofit Organizations

      • LAWS 53193 Topics in State and Local Finance

    • And PPHA 32530 Fundamentals of Municipal Bonds (should be taken in the spring of second year)

  • Students must earn at least a B- in each of the courses to earn the certificate

  • No course in the track may be taken as pass/fail

  • Participation in the co-curricular activities, which may include:

    • the annual CFO Forum

    • two alumni networking events

    • conferences in the spring and fall on topics to be decided

Recommended Policy Lab Projects

Harris Policy Labs provides beneficial opportunities to get real world experience in public policy and municipal finance beyond the certificate requirements. Detailed descriptions of Policy Labs projects for the current academic year are available in the Current Student portal. Either one of the following two Policy Lab projects are recommended to students pursuing the Municipal Finance certificate: