Online Certificate in Budget & Public Finance

The online certificate in budget and public finance provides course work in the theoretical and practical foundations of public budgeting and in the formulation and evaluation of public budgets, as well as the complex choices of economic reasoning in response to resource allocation in the process of formulating and implementing public budgets.

The courses in the certificate provide a background in budget policy and process, characteristics of public revenue and expenditure, and governmental accounting and financial reporting. This certificate is particularly suited for those who are, or envision becoming, budget analysts or financial management officers in public agencies at any level of government.

Certificate students enroll in regular courses of the Trachtenberg School and earn graduate credit.

The Online Certificate in Budget and Public Finance is available through the George Washington University's online portal. 


Course Requirements

PPPA 6005 Public Budgeting, Revenue, and Expenditure Analysis is a required course and must completed in order to earn the online certificate. Additionally, students must complete any three other courses from the list below:

  • PPPA 6048  Financing State and Local Government (3)
  • PPPA 6051  Governmental Budgeting (3)
  • PPPA 6053  Financial Management in the Public Sector (3)
  • PPPA 6054  Issues in Federal Budgeting (3) or PPPA 6052  Tax Policy Analysis  (3)
  • PPPA 6055  Contracting Out and Public–Private Partnerships (3)


Students enrolled in the online certificate may take courses in this order: 

PPPA 6053  Financial Management in the Public Sector (3)

Intensive analysis, using the case study approach, of concepts and principles used in the not-for-profit sector for financial management purposes. Disciplines of accounting, budgeting, operations control, management, and auditing are integrated into comprehensive management control systems and include issues of system design and implementation.

PPPA 6048  Financing State and Local Government (3)
Analysis of the theory and practice of public finance in state and local governments. Includes the financing of services through municipal taxation, intergovernmental funds, debt instruments, and other revenue sources. Review of expenditures as well as financial management practices.

PPPA 6051  Governmental Budgeting (3)
Survey of the actors, institutions, and processes in the federal budgeting system. Executive budget preparation/execution, legislative review and approval of budget requirements, and independent audit of government spending. 

PPPA 6005  Public Budgeting, Revenue, and Expenditure Analysis (3)
Survey course that focuses on the institutions and analytical tools associated with raising revenue and allocating/managing resources at all levels of government. Hands-on budgeting skills and communication of analysis to decision makers. Prerequisite: PPPA 6003. 
Additional courses toward the certificate will continue to be developed and offered online in future semesters.

Admissions to the Certificate Program

Students applying to the Online Certificate Program do not need to submit a GRE score. Otherwise, applicants are required to meet the admission standards for admission to the Masters of Public Administration or Masters of Public Policy degree program.

Relations to the Masters Programs

If online certificate students decide to apply to the MPA or MPP degree program, they must apply by the posted deadline and meet the admissions requirements of the program. Up to 9 credits of their certificate coursework taken prior to admission to a degree program will be accepted in the master’s program within two years of completing the course and if a grade of B or better has been earned in the course. Certificate students who think they may wish to apply their entire certificate courses toward a degree (that is, all 12 credits) thus need to apply and gain admission to the degree program before registering for their fourth course.

For further information, contact  our admissions team at [email protected].

Apply Now Button Applications for Summer or Fall entry are due on January 15 for those seeking fellowships, and February 1 otherwise. Applications for Spring entry are due on October 1. Applications for Certificate programs are due November 1 for spring entry and July 1 for fall entry.