Home Graduate Master's programs MPP/MPM Specializations Public Financial Management specialization

Public Financial Management specialization

Public financial management is an area in which SPP has traditionally excelled with nationally recognized faculty and significant publication, as well as outstanding teaching and internship mentoring. The Public Financial Management specialization prepares future leaders and the individuals who will assume major management responsibilities at the local, state and/or federal level. The public demand for excellence in the management of public resources has never been stronger. Virtually every level of government faces unprecedented pressure for improved accountability while striving to provide high levels of service at low cost. This growing challenge requires a keen understanding of complex financial mechanisms, management and leadership theories and practices, and the ability of government to work with the private and nonprofit sectors.  

Public Financial Management alumni jobs 

  • Senior Consultant, Booz Allen Hamilton
  • Senior Budget Analyst, City of Pittsburgh, Office of Management and Budget
  • Asst Director, National Policy Programs, Rural Policy Research Institute
  • Asst Director of Operations, State of Maryland, Dept of Health and Mental Hygiene
  • Policy Analyst, State of Maryland, Office of Legislative Services
  • Deputy Director, Communications, Office of the Comptroller, State of Maryland
  • State Representative, Office of Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention, U.S. Department of Justice
  • Analyst, U.S. Government Accountability Office
  • Budget and Management Analyst, U.S. Office of Management and Budget
  • Senior Associate, Under-Secretariat of Treasury, Turkey
  • Asset Manager, Urban Housing Solutions, Inc.

Public Financial Management specialization curriculum

In addition to meeting the core requirements of their degree program, students specializing in Public Financial Management are required to take:

  • Federal Budgeting: Policy and Process (PLCY717) Examines budgeting as a political and administrative instrument of the government. 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; and current issues such as the effects of resource scarcity on budgeting behavior. Emphasizes the federal level, but state and local practices are also considered.
  • State, Local, and Nonprofit Financial Management (PLCY688F) Covers the fundamentals of accounting and financial management for public and not-for-profit organizations.  Through course readings, case studies, and short assignments, students will learn how to understand and use public sector financial information to inform decision-making.  The first half of the course will focus on: operating budgets, cash budgets, tools for evaluating capital budgeting decisions, and an introduction to accounting principles.  Topics in the second half of the course include financial reporting, financial condition analysis, and unique aspects of accounting for public and not-for profit organizations. Along the way, students will gain familiarity with spreadsheet applications and financial calculations.  By the end of the course, students should be able to read and interpret financial information and perform straightforward financial analyses. (Recommended prerequisite: PLCY688R "Public Budgeting and Financial Management")
  • Two of the following: 
    • Networks: Leading and Managing Across Sectors (PLCY698T)
    • Performance Management: Leading for Results (PLCY689X)
    • Nonprofit Management and Leadership (PLCY798Y)
    • Federal Acquisitions: Concepts and Management (PLCY689A)

Sample plan of study for the Public Financial Management (FM) specialization

Below is an example of how a student in this specialization may progress towards her MPP degree semester by semester. It does not represent the only way to sequence the courses.

Centers conducting Public Financial Management research

  • Center for Public Policy & Private Enterprise (CPPPE)


Public Sector Financial Management specialization curriculum for students admitted before Fall 2019

Students admitted before Fall 2019 may meet the Public Sector Financial Management specialization requirements by completing the following courses.

(1) One course from the following:

  • State and Local Government Budgeting (PLCY716)
  • Federal Budgeting: Policy and Process (PLCY717) 
  • Contemporary and Comparative Budget Practices (PLCY688D)

(2) Two courses from the following:

  • Financial Systems & Control (PLCY699E) 
  • Analysis of Fiscal Conditions (PLCY712) 
  • Tax Policy
  • A remaining budgeting course in section (1) above.

(3) One acquisitions or public management and leadership course 


For more information, please contact the Public Financial Management specialization head, Dr. Philip Joyce, pgjoyce@umd.edu.