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

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

With leading experts in municipal finance and public policy, learn how to effectively apply tools of financial analysis to make strategic decisions.

Please Note: The Professional Certificate in Municipal Finance is currently being offered in a fully-virtual format. Our previously scheduled 2020 programs to be held in Chicago and Phoenix have been canceled due to the ongoing COVID-19 emergency. Individuals who enroll in our virtual program before September 18th will receive a 10% tuition reduction.

If you would like to apply for this course, please click the link to the right or contact schmidt1@uchicago.edu.


Program Overview

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 and features noted guest speakers.

The program includes modules on the following topics:

  • Urban Economics and Growth

  • Intergovernmental Fiscal Frameworks, Revenues, Budgeting

  • Capital Budgeting/Accounting and Infrastructure Maintenance

  • Debt/Municipal Securities 

  • Land-Based Finance/Land Value Capture

  • Public-Private Partnerships 

  • Cost Benefit Analysis – Across Instruments

  • Fiscal Impact Analysis

Upon completion of the program, participants receive a Certificate in Municipal Finance. For planners maintaining their AICP credentials, this course provides Certification Maintenance (CM) credits from the APA. 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. Potential students who are interested in additional course topics are encouraged to explore additional University of Chicago and Harris Executive Education courses here

Who Should Attend

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

    • Developers and real estate professionals 

    • Real Estate Attorneys

Gain the Skills You Need

As state and local governments rise to meet the challenges of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and resulting recession, many are facing fiscal pressures like never before. Even before this, 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.

Whether you need to better understand how to finance new infrastructure projects, public-private partnerships, land use optimization strategies, or new approaches to debt and municipal securities, Harris Public Policy’s Professional Certificate in Municipal Finance will give you the skills and insights you need as you advance your career in urban planning, real estate, or economic 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


The Professional Certificate in Municipal Finance is an ongoing executive education 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.

Maxwell Schmidt | Professional Certificate in Municipal Finance Staff