Note: The application for Fundamentals of Municipal Finance Credential is currently closed.
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.
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
Land Value Capture
Cost Benefit Analysis
Financial Analysis for Land Use and Development Decision Making
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.
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.
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:
Community and Economic Development Staff
Justin Marlowe is a Research Professor at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy. His research and teaching are focused on public finance, with an emphasis on public capital markets, infrastructure finance, state and local budgeting, and financial disclosure. He currently serves as Editor-in-Chief of Public Budgeting & Finance.
Paula R. Worthington is a Senior Lecturer at the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago, where she also serves as academic director of the School’s Policy Labs program and faculty lead on its MPP program. At Harris, Worthington teaches courses in state and local government and cost-benefit analysis and advises students completing applied projects for public and nonprofit sector clients.
John Anderson is an academic economist and an adviser to public policy makers in the fields of public finance, fiscal reform, and tax policy. Dr. Anderson has served as a Senior Economist with the President’s Council of Economic Advisers in Washington, DC.
Shishir Mathur is a professor of urban and regional planning at San Jose State University. His research and teaching focus on public finance, urban & real estate economics, housing, international planning, growth management, land use planning, transportation planning, emergency management, and systems analysis.
Minjee Kim is an assistant professor in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at Florida State University. Prior to this, Minjee was a visiting scholar at the Boston Planning and Development Agency and Research Associate at the City of Cambridge's Community Development Department.
Stephen B. Friedman, FAICP, CRE has more than 40 years of experience in real estate and development advisory services. He leads SB Friedman Development Advisors, a consulting firm with core expertise in real estate markets, development economics and finance.
Program dates for 2024 will be announced soon.
The program is delivered fully in-person at the University of Chicago campus in Chicago, which allows you to have face to face interactions with faculty and peers.
Every teaching day we have office hours with faculty and graduate teaching assistants, conducted in-person.
Interested participants should submit the online application form.
The Admission Committee reviews applications on a rolling basis in the first week of every month starting in June 2023 until the cohort is full. Admitted applicants receive an email confirmation with payment details and next-step actions.
The program fee for the 2023 ESG and Impact Investing Lab is:
The program fee includes program materials, group meals, organized group activities and transportation. Participants' lodging, travel, health insurance, visa application fee, etc. are not covered in the program fee.
Admitted participants must submit a non-refundable $1,000 USD enrollment deposit to confirm their seat in the program within two weeks after admission. The deposit deadline is listed in the admission letter. The enrollment deposit is applied to the total program fee. Participants who fail to submit the deposit by the deadline listed in their admission letter will be viewed as voluntarily giving up their seat to attend the program.
The remaining balance is due September 30, 2023—one month before the program begins. Admitted participants will receive details on the payment process.