Public Financial Management

Graduate Certificate Program

The University of Maryland School of Public Policy is pleased to partner with the Association of Government Accountants (AGA) in offering this financial certificate program for its members.

About the Program

AGA is the member organization for financial and performance professionals in government. The association supports nearly 15,000 professionals, who work in, for and with federal, state, local and tribal agencies. Its networking events, professional certification, publications and ongoing education help members build their skills and advance their careers.

A major program of AGA is the Certified Government Financial Manager (CGFM). The CGFM designation exemplifies an individual well-versed in governmental accounting, auditing, financial reporting, internal controls and budgeting at the federal, state and local levels of government.

UMD’s School of Public Policy is a special place for people who are interested in public policy and committed to public service.  The School offers a number of executive, certificate, and degree programs to meet the varied needs of those attracted to the public policy and management fields of study.  In particular, the School’s Executive Education post-degree Certificate in Public Financial Management program provides public service employees an elevated understanding of public financial management that can also help individuals to prepare for the AGA’s CGFM Examinations.

The AGA and UMD jointly seek to (1) increase the number and technical competency of students seeking a career in public sector financial management, (2) enhance the public policy knowledge of existing public sector finance management professionals and (3) provide persons wishing to seek CGFM certification an additional means of preparing for the examinations.


The Graduate Certificate in Public Financial Management program will consist of four, three-credit courses (18 graduate academic credits in total).  To complete the certificate, students must complete the following courses:

·       PUAF670 – Finance;

·       PUAF671 - Financial Systems and Control

·       PUAF711 - Public Management and Leadership for Financial Managers

·       PUAF717 - Budgeting: Federal, State and Local

In order to earn the certification, a student must have at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA and must remain in good standing with the Graduate School at the University of Maryland.

Contact Us for More Information

For more information regarding this exciting program, please contact Michael Goodhart at 301.405.9715 or

Course Descriptions

PUAF 670 Finance: (3 credits) This course covers how governments raise, spend, borrow, invest, and transfer public funds. It reviews federal, state, and local budget processes and introduces analytical techniques including basic spreadsheet skills, evaluating alternative revenue sources, revenue and expenditure forecasting, cost allocation, break-even analysis, capital budgeting, cost-benefit analysis, choice over time (discounting, net present value, future value, internal rate of return), bond pricing, investment strategy, and cash management.

PUAF 711 Public Management and Leadership: (3 credits) This course reviews the managerial, political, and ethical problems faced by public sector managers and leaders, including setting an organization's goals, obtaining and protecting a program mandate, designing a service delivery system and implementing a new program.

PUAF 671 Financial Systems and Control: (3 Credits) This course is designed to provide participants the opportunity to learn and refine skills pertaining to the problems of management controls.  The course approaches topics such as budgeting, finance and accounting (activity based costing – among other concepts) in a broad organizational based context.  Case studies are used and targeted for a government or non-profit audience.

Topics discussed are: Analysis of financial statements, Measurement and Use of Differential Costs, The Management Control Environment, Strategic Planning, Budgeting, Measuring of Output, Performance Reporting, Operations Analysis and Evaluation.

PUAF 717 Budgeting: Federal, State and Local: (3 Credits) The course examines budgeting as a political and administrative instrument of the US federal government. It considers the development of budgeting; the multiple uses of the budget, including the budget's role in fiscal policy and resource allocation; the roles and relationships of the major participants; the main components of the budget; and current issues such as the effects of resource scarcity on budgeting behavior. The course primarily emphasizes the federal level, but the effects of the federal budget on state and local governments are also considered.

Course Schedule

The tentative program course schedule is as follows:

Fall 2015 (August 31 – December 18)

  • PUAF 670 – Government Contracting and Pricing
  • PUAF 711 – Public Management and Leadership

Spring 2016 (Dates to be determined)

  • PUAF 671 – Financial Systems and Control
  • PUAF 717 – Budgeting: Federal, State and Local

Course Format

A Graduate Certificate in Public Financial Management program courses are offered on campus to maximize interaction with faculty, classmates, and the school. 



How to Apply

To participate in this program, all students must apply and be accepted to the University of Maryland graduate school as Advanced Special Students (non-degree graduate students).  To apply, please do the following:

  • Complete a University of Maryland Graduate School Advanced Special Student application ( and pay a $75 application fee.  For program code, please select Z094.  The actual program is “Public Financial Management”.
  • Submit all official sealed collegiate transcripts.
  • Upon completing your application, please contact the School of Public Policy Student Affairs office at 301.405.6331 or By alerting the School to your application, the Student Affairs office can track your application through the admissions office and provide you with timely feedback on the status of your package.  (Typical turnaround is approximately two weeks, however it could be slightly longer during holiday periods.)

The Graduate School requires each applicant to submit official transcripts showing a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution AND meet one (1) of the following admissions criteria:

  • have achieved a cumulative 3.0 (on a 4 point scale) average for work done at the undergraduate level; OR
  • have earned a master’s, doctoral, or a post-baccalaureate professional degree (M.D., J.D., D.V.M., etc.) from a regionally accredited institution; OR
  • have attained a score that places the applicant in the upper 50th percentile of an appropriate national standardized aptitude examination such as the GRE, GMAT, or Miller Analogies Test ;  OR
  • provide a letter of support from the Graduate Director of the degree program in which the applicant plans to take a course.

Graduate Degree Possibilities

Graduate Certificate in Public Financial Management coursework can count towards graduate degree coursework at the University of Maryland College Park.  When changing programs within the University of Maryland College Park a student may request inclusion of credits earned at UMCP.  When moving from non-degree to degree-seeking status however, advance special students may not include more than 12 credits. In this program, you may apply for admission to a degree program while completing the graduate certificate program. 

The certificate coursework in this program can count directly towards the Executive Master of Public Management offered by the School of Public Policy.  Upon completing the certificate program, a student would have to take six additional EMPM courses, to earn their Master of Public Management degree.  More program information can be found at the following link:

Tuition and Fees

Tuition for this program is based on the School’s out-of-state tuition rate regardless of residency. Effective in Fall 2015, the rate is $1,601 per credit. Please refer to the official tuition webpagefor details. Total program tuition for all four courses is $19,212 based on current rate. Costs for future semesters are subject to change. Students are billed each semester based upon how many courses that they are registered for. Students will also be charged standard graduate student fees.


Students with AGA memberships are eligible for “AGA Fellowship” which will cover the following benefits:
1) A 35% discount on the School’s out-of-state tuition rate (standard program rate).

2) The cost of required textbooks and other course materials are waived.


To apply for “AGA Fellowship”, please contact the School at 301.405.9715 or


Please note that the cost of additional AGA CGFM preparatory materials and the examination itself are not covered in the tuition.