USC Price School of Public Policy

Certificate in Public Financial Management

Complex social and economic climates — at the national, state, or local level — make sound public financial management essential to the future sustainability and growth of communities everywhere. The USC Price graduate Certificate in Public Financial Management ensures students are well-prepared to meet the growing demands of this profession by providing an updated skill set that incorporates new and innovative modes of analysis.

This Certificate in Public Financial Management requires 52 units of graduate course work (53 for pre-service students):

Core Courses (14 units)
PPD 500 — Intersectoral Leadership
PPD 501ab — Economics for Policy, Planning, and Development
PPD 540 — Public Administration and Society
PPD 546 — Professional Practice of Public Administration

Management Competencies (12 units)
PPD 541 — Public Financial Management and Budgeting
PPD 542 — Policy and Program Evaluation or
PPD 557 — Modeling and Operations Research or
PPD 666 — Administration Research and Analysis
PPD 545 — Human Behavior in Public Organizations

16 units from these courses:
PPD 516x — Financial Accounting in the Public and Nonprofit Sectors
PPD 554* — Foundations of Public Policy Analysis or
PPD 555 — Public Policy Formulation and Implementation
PPD 647 — Finance of the Public Sector
PPD 661 — Intergovernmental Management: Local Perspective or
PPD 662 — Intergovernmental Management: State Perspective or
PPD 669 — Federal Management Systems

10 units of approved electives from the following list:
PPD 510b — Economics for PPD
PPD 542 — Policy and Program Evaluation
PPD 652 — Financial Administration in Local Government
PPD 660 — Local Agency Debt and Cash Administration
PPD 661 — Intergovernmental Management: Local Perspective
PPD 662 — Intergovernmental Management: State Perspective
PPD 669 — Federal Management Systems
PPD 679 — Financial Administration in Developing Countries
PPD 688 — Business and Public Policy

Pre-service students must also complete an internship and enroll in PD 543.

Students may receive this certificate with a specialization in intergovernmental management, provided they complete the requisite three course sequence (PPD 661, PPD 662, PPD 669). Students may satisfy this requirement by applying two of these courses toward the 10-unit elective requirement and the third course toward the 16-unit “finance and related subjects” requirement.

*Students who select PPD 554 (rather than PPD 555) must select an additional 2-unit elective.

Admission Requirements and Application Procedures

Current USC Graduate Students — Applicants for the Certificate in Political Management who are currently enrolled in a graduate program at USC (and are in good standing with a 3.0 GPA ) need only submit the appropriate paperwork for adding the certificate program, which may be obtained from the student services advisor in RGL 102.

Prospective Applicants — Applicants who have not matriculated at USC must make a formal application at the USC Graduate Admission website.

Applicants must submit the following items:

  1. Official transcripts from ALL institutions attended sent directly to our office:

Office of Recruitment and Admissions
650 Child’s Way – RGL 111
Los Angeles, CA 90089

2. Resume (upload via online application)

3. Letter of Recommendation (uploaded via online application)

Please contact the USC Price Office of Admissions at for more information.