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Master of Public Financial Management

As a student in the Masters of Public Financial Management program, I have been exposed to instruction, strategies, and experts that directly impact my day-to-day professional life. The content is directly applicable to my job responsibilities. The experience and knowledge I have acquired, the interactions with its faculty, and the discussions with fellow students have been a positive experience. I cannot recommend this program highly enough.

- A.J. Wells, MPFM Graduate

The Master of Public Financial Management (MPFM) is designed to meet the current and expanding national demand for well-trained financial managers for public and non-profit organizations. The MPFM prepares students for careers in public financial management, accounting, and budget analysis in public and nonprofit organizations. Offered 100% online, the MPFM course structure and schedule is designed with working and non-traditional students in mind. Core classes include advanced topics in public accounting, audit, budgeting, tax policy, municipal securities, public pensions, legal issues, and other special topics in public finance.The Martin School is among the top graduate programs in the nation in public financial management, and is one of very few offering an online MPFM degree program.

Like the PFM Graduate Certificate, the MPFM consists exclusively of online coursework to engage students weekly through assignments, readings, exams, and other activities with the same level of rigor of other traditional Master programs offered by the Martin School of Public Policy and Administration. Where the MPFM differs from the Graduate Certificate, however, is in its depth. The 36-credit hour degree program includes all of the courses found in the Graduate Certificate, plus an additional 24 credit hours focused on technical, central financial management questions.

How does this degree compare to our other Master degrees? Students interested in the graduate certificate or the master program are encouraged to check out this graphic to get a "bird's eye view" of the differences between the two. The MPFM also differs from our MPP and MPA programs in a few key ways:

  • The MPFM program prepares students for advanced-careers in public financial management, public/nonprofit accounting, and budget analysis. In comparison, the MPP program prepares students for a policy analyst or research career; the MPA prepares students for public management and administration positions.
  • The MPFM offers advanced topics in public accounting, audit, municipal securities, public pensions/insurance, and other special topics in public finance, topics not included in the MPA or MPP programs.
  • The MPFM courses are offered in an asychonistic format allowing students to work within the weekly modules at a pace and schedule that suits their needs.
  • The MPFM courses are offered in 8-week and 4-week sessions allowing students to take one class at time while still completing the degree program in two years. 
  • The MPFM program is completely online, allowing for non-traditional and working students the flexibility and convenience of online coursework. The MPA is available as a residential and new online program starting Fall 2021. The MPP program does not offer online classes; however, the majority of our residential MPA and MPP courses are in the evenings to accomodate working professionals living in the area.

Tuition and Fees

Like the Graduate Certificate program, all MPFM students will pay the in-state tuition rate, which is assessed per credit hour, in addition to semesterly fees. For the current tuition rate, visit the Registrar's website.

Prerequisites

For admission, students must meet all requirements of the University of Kentucky Graduate School, including a baccalureate degree from an accredited university. For more information about applying, click here. Given the nature of the program, applicants are strongly encouraged to have some experience or education in accounting, however it is not a formal prerequisite.

Application Materials

  • Official Transcripts
  • 2 Letters of Recommendatiaon
  • Personal Statement
  • Resume
  • GRE/GMAT (Optional)

Curriculum

The program can be completed in two years, including two summer sessions each year. Students take one 3-credit hour course at a time in 8-week sessions, with the exception of the first summer session, which is 4 weeks long. The culmination of the program is the Capstone Project, which is a self-selected research project centered on relevant policy questions.

Given the nature of the online format, this program requires self-motivation and time management from the student.

Suggested Sequence of Courses

Fall

(8 weeks)

Session 1

Fall

(8 weeks)

Session 2

Spring

(8 weeks)

Session 1

Spring

(8 weeks)

Session 2

Summer

(4 weeks)

Session 1

Summer

(8 weeks)

Session 2

Year 1

PA 631: Public Financial Management: Budgeting & Debt Management

PA 632: Public Funds Management

PA 625: Governmental Accounting and Financial Condition Analysis

PA 627: Governmental Auditing

PA 696: Legal Issues in Public Financial Management

PA 626: Applications in Governmental Accounting and Audit

Year 2

PA 633: Municipal Securities

PA 695: Data and Revenue Forecasting

PA 683: Tax Policy PA 697: Special Topics in Public Financial Management PA 694: Public Pensions and Insurance PA 681: Capstone Project

 

Graduate Certificate and Master's in Public Financial Management share courses

It is important to note that the first four classes in the Graduate Certificate in PFM are identical to the MPFM. Courses completed in the Graduate Certificate will count towards the MPFM if students chose to apply. This process does require another application and must meet other requirements in the application process. Students interested in this process should contact the Martin School Student Affairs Officer

Distance Education Special Circumstances

Please be aware that admission and/or enrollment in this program cannot lead to the issuance of an F-1 or J-1 student visa. The University of Kentucky cannot sponsor a student visa or issue an I-20/DS-2019 to students in an online program.

Per state laws, distance education courses and programs must be legally authorized in a state prior to offering courses or programs to students residing there. Therefore, program availability varies by state. Students should check UK Online to determine if a distance education program at the University of Kentucky is available in their state of residence.

Relocating During the Program

All distance education students should keep in mind that relocating during the course of a program to another state could impact whether that student can continue in the course and/or meet the eligibility requirements of that state.

“The online Master of Public Financial Management Program has provided me the opportunity to take my legislative work on financial policy to the next level. The academic curriculum equips students with the knowledge they need to ensure they have a fundamental understanding of sound government financing while networking with individuals from a multitude of government backgrounds to build a solid traditional and experiential learning experience. No matter what level of government you are interested in or serving in, the Public Financial Management Program will give you the tools and education to be successful. By far, my academic work at the Martin School of Public Policy has been, both personally and professionally, beneficial.”  -Seth Grove, Pennsylvania State Representative, 196th District, MPFM Student.