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Public and Nonprofit Financial Management (PNPFM)

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This certificate program is designed to develop students’ understanding of the concepts and practice of financial management in government, university, and complex non-profit organizations. The certificate integrates financial management perspectives from federal, state, local, and nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations, while synthesizing the concept of financial resiliency for organizations. Students will learn the foundations of resilient financial management and explore their area of interest (federal, state, local, or nonprofit) through their assignments, projects, and case studies.

As organizations in public service continue to face financial difficulty, financial mastery can no longer simply be the sole purview of accountants and other specially trained individuals. In the new public service landscape, financial competency is a must for all employees, and financial mastery is increasingly a pre-requisite for high-level positions in public service organizations. Available throughout the Commonwealth through virtual classroom technology, the Public and Non-Profit Financial Management certificate is designed for full-time students as well as part-time and working professional students. This shared format allows for a productive mix of viewpoints and experience levels, which enhances learning for all students. Students earning this certificate are prepared for a public service labor market that will demand financial literacy, whether they are a pre-career student seeking their first job or a working professional looking to broaden their horizons and seeking opportunities for advancement.

Students who wish to pursue the certificate as a non-degree candidate may apply for admission to the certificate program using the Virginia Tech Graduate School's online application system.  Students who complete the certificate may apply for entrance as a degree-seeking student in the CPAP MPA program and transfer all twelve credit hours towards their MPA. Students enrolled in a degree conferring program may participate in the certificate program through their elective requirements and obtain both the certificate and degree upon graduation.

All students must complete SPIA 5544 and at least three of the other four courses listed below for a total of 12 hours of graduate coursework. Students are required to complete four courses with a GPA of 3.0 or better in order to earn the certificate.


  • SPIA 5544: Public and Nonprofit Financial Mangement

Three of the following:

  • SPIA 5654: Capital and Debt Financial Management for Public and Nonprofit Organizations
  • SPIA 5674: Financial Health of Public and Nonprofit Organizations
  • SPIA 5654: Budgeting for Performance Management and Outcomes for Public and Nonprofit Organizations
  • PAPA 5694: Asset Management for Public and Nonprofit Organizations
  • PAPA 6314: Public Budgeting and their Policy Implications