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 you for a career with 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

If you are interested in completing the certificate, you must email a letter of intent to Mike Belsky in the fall of your second year. This letter of intent should include a course plan for the fall, winter, and spring quarters, listing the planned coursework for the certificate.  Additional 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 of the following courses:

      • 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 

      • PPHA 42510 Applied Financial Management

      • BUS 30000 Financial Accounting

      • ECON 26060 Public Sector Economics

      • SSAD 49600 Financial Management for Nonprofit Organizations

      • LAWS 53110  Project and Infrastructure Development and Finance

      • 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 are also required to participation in relevant co-curricular activities, including:
    • The annual CFO Forum

    • Two alumni networking events

    • Conferences in the spring and fall (eligible topics to be decided)

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.

Consider a Policy Lab As Well

Harris Policy Labs can be an excellent complement to certificates. Certificate programs allow students to specialize in particular areas of inquiry, while Policy Labs allow students to apply their knowledge to real world policy challenges for actual client organizations.

Descriptions of Policy Labs projects for the current academic year are available in the Current Student portal. In particular, you may find the following project of specific interest:

Please consult with Policy Labs staff, or the certificate program director, to see which Policy Lab project is right for you.