Local Government Certificate

The Master of Public Administration program at Binghamton University focuses on preparing professionals for positions in either local government or nonprofit sector. A majority of the faculty in the Department of Public Administration have expertise related to local government management, and, as demonstrated by their teaching, research and service activities and accomplishments, understand the need for advanced study of local government issues. This preparation enables our graduates to compete successfully for academic appointments, positions at research or clinical institutions, and placements in human services and industry.


In order to complete the Certificate in Local Government Management, students must complete 15 credits and earn a grade of a B or better in each course. There are four required courses for all Certificate Students:

1. PAFF 580, Introduction to Local Government Management and Leadership, 3 credits (offered every fall)

2. PAFF 581. Functions and Services of Local Government, 3 credits (offered every spring)

3. PAFF 527, Budgeting and Finance, 4 credits (offered every fall and spring)

4. PAFF 526, Managing Information and Technology, 2 credits (offered every fall and spring, along with some summers)

Students must also take 3 additional credits that focus on local government issues.

Electives include:

  • PAFF 531, Law for Administrators, 3 credits
  • PAFF 533 Intergovernmental Relations (3 credits) 
  • PAFF 582, Emerging Issues in Local Government Management (topics vary, may be repeated for credit), 3 credits
  • PAFF 569X: Sustainable Communities: Theory and Practice, 3 credits
  • PAFF 564: Service Learning and Language Immersion in Cusco, Peru: "Sustainability in an Era of Globalization, 6 credits
  • PAFF 583. Community and Economic Development, 3 credits
  • PAFF 584 Comparative Local Government, 3 credits
  • PAFF 585: Emergency Management, 3 credits
  • Courses offered in other departments with a clear local government focus as approved by the Director of Admissions and Student Services (for example, certificate students would be encouraged to complete courses on issues related to Land Use Planning, Economic Development, GIS Mapping and Spatial Analysis)

Students pursuing the Nonprofit or Local Government Certificate must compile a portfolio that includes samples of work which represent knowledge and skills specific to their certificate and which they believe best demonstrate their grasp of the core competencies identified for each Certificate program. The portfolio is required for all students entering the program in fall 2014 and beyond; the portfolio is optional for students who entered the program earlier than that date. A list of competencies and
assessment tools for each certificate is provided in Appendix E. Students must submit their portfolios by the last day of classes of their final semester in the program. While all Certificate students must submit a portfolio to graduate, assessment of portfolios will not affect students' graduation. Members of the MPA Advisory Board will assess portfolios periodically. Assessments will be shared with the students after graduation and will be used on an aggregate level to inform program improvements within certificate programs.

Admission Requirements

If you wish to pursue a certificate in conjunction with your MPA, please fill out the Add-on Certificate Application located here and return to Brianna King (DC 437): https://www.binghamton.edu/grad-school/docs-forms/Add-On_Certificate_Application.pdf

To be admitted into the Certificate Program, if a student is not already enrolled in the MPA Program, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  1. A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university
  2. An undergraduate grade point average of 3.0

For prospective students who do not hold or are not currently enrolled in a master’s degree program:

  1. Two or more years of experience as a volunteer or paid staff member in a nonprofit organization
  2. Or, a master's degree in Public Administration or a related field (such as Social Work or Student Affairs Administration).

The application process requires students to submit the following materials:

  1. The online Grad School Application
  2. Transcripts from your undergraduate institution
  3. A current resume
  4. A letter of recommendation from a professor or professional colleague (such as a supervisor or executive director of a nonprofit organization) who can evaluate your suitability for the Certificate program.
  5. A one page personal statement that addresses why you are interested in the program.

These materials will be reviewed in total to assess whether applicants bring the necessary skills and experiences to succeed in the program.

If students are interested in completing two specializations or certificates, a minimum of 51 total credits must be completed. If a student is interested in completing three specializations or certificates, a minimum of 60 total credits must be completed. Credits cannot be “double counted” for more than one specialization or certificate.

If you would like to discuss the certificate further, please contact:

Brianna King: bking@binghamton.edu or 607-777-2719.

Gainful Employment Disclosure Information for the Local Government Management Certificate is available at:  http://www.binghamton.edu/public-administration/academic-programs/localgovt.html


Last Updated: 9/8/16