Urban planning, property taxes, and infrastructure: learn the latest approaches to public finance.

This five-day professional credential program provides a thorough foundation in municipal finance with a focus on urban planning and economic development in the United States.

Note: The 2023 Municipal Finance Professional Credential is currently offered in a fully-virtual format starting on May 8, 2023.

The application for 2023 is open. Apply here.

Program Overview

This program is created by Harris Public Policy's Center for Municipal Finance in partnership with the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. The program is led by Professor Christopher Berry, Academic Director of the Center for Municipal Finance at Harris Public Policy; Jenna Martin, Associate Director of Local and Regional Fiscal Health at the Lincoln Institute; and Ge Vue, Director of Learning Design, Lincoln Institute.

The program includes modules on the following topics:

  • Urban Economics and Growth

  • Intergovernmental Fiscal Frameworks, Revenues, Budgeting

  • Capital Budgeting and Infrastructure Maintenance

  • Debt/Municipal Securities 

  • Land Value Capture

  • Cost Benefit Analysis

  • Financial Analysis for Land Use and Development Decision Making

  • Public-Private Partnerships 

  • Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG)

For planners maintaining their AICP credentials, this course provides Certification Maintenance (CM) credits from the APA.

Note: While the University appreciates international perspectives in all of our courses, this program is currently limited to municipal finance topics within the United States and does not include any content within an international context. 

Who Should Attend

This course is for professionals with limited or no knowledge of how public finance works in the United States. The goal of this course is not to teach you to be a finance expert, but rather, to help you understand the field of municipal finance so that you can make better informed decisions in your current or future careers. Those with the following experience will be given preference for admission:

  • New to senior-level urban planners who work in both the private and public sectors, as well as individuals in the land development industry at large.

  • Job titles including:

    • Urban Planners 

    • Community and Economic Development Staff

Gain the Skills You Need

Public finance faces a period of heightened scrutiny, which presents opportunities as well as challenges. As communities continue to struggle with effects of the pandemic while facing an array of urgent needs, from affordable housing to infrastructure investment, it is essential that they make equity, efficiency, and sustainability central to their decisions regarding revenue and expenditures.

Even before COVID-19, events in communities like Detroit, Stockton, Flint, and Puerto Rico highlight the severe challenges related to fiscal systems that support public services and the continued stress they face given the shrinking revenue streams facing many local governments.

While there has been a recent increase in federal funds flowing to local governments to help them provide the services and infrastructure residents demand, this funding source is not unlimited and will soon go back to pre-pandemic levels. Communities not only need to build the capacity to spend this influx of money equitably, but they need to be prepared to adequately and fairly raise revenues when federal funding diminishes.

Whether you want to better understand public-private partnerships, debt and municipal securities, or leading land-based finance strategies to finance infrastructure projects, this program will give you the skills and insights you need as you advance your career in local government or community development.

“We need to rethink the practices and techniques of contemporary municipal finance to provide government services more efficiently and to manage pressing problems related to the public sector.”

Christopher Berry, Harris Public Policy Professor and Academic Director, Center for Municipal Finance

Program Details

Application Details

Interested participants should submit the online application form.

The faculty committee will review applications on a rolling basis starting in December 2022 until the cohort is full. Applicants who are admitted will receive an email confirmation with payment details and next-step actions.

The program has limited need-based partial scholarships available for selective applicants who submit the application with an explanation for the financial need by February 8, 2023.

For any questions, please contact the program administrative lead Ashley Mayer at amayer01@uchicago.edu.

The Fundamentals of Municipal Finance Credential is an ongoing credential program created by the Center for Municipal Finance at Harris Public Policy.

Lincoln InstituteThis course has been developed in partnership with the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. The Lincoln Institute of Land Policy seeks to improve quality of life through the effective use, taxation, and stewardship of land. A nonprofit private operating foundation whose origins date to 1946, the Lincoln Institute researches and recommends creative approaches to land as a solution to economic, social, and environmental challenges. Through education, training, publications, and events, we integrate theory and practice to inform public policy decisions worldwide.