Graduate Catalog
Policies, Procedures, Academic Programs
Local Government Management
Center for Public Administration and Policy 104 Draper Road (0520) Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, VA 24061
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Stephanie Davis:
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Graduate Certificate in Local Government Management

The Virginia Tech Center for Public Administration and Policy (CPAP), in partnership with the Virginia Local Government Management Association (VLGMA), has developed a graduate certificate program in local government management that helps to address the workforce development need for highly qualified public managers in local government. The central goal of the program is to offer graduate-level training in local government management that both prepares pre-career students for capable public service at the local level and enhances the capacities of existing local government employees who aspire to be town, city, or county managers or assistant/deputy managers.

The certificate program consists of four 3-credit hour courses, for a total of twelve hours of graduate coursework. Students are required to complete all four courses with a GPA of 3.0 or better in order to earn the certificate. Students are exposed to a full spectrum of local government issues, service delivery options, and management tools. The analysis of an actual local government case study is central to each classroom experience. Case studies are used within the courses to emphasize the relationship between the political and management worlds which all local government managers must understand and navigate in order to be successful. All courses are taught by experienced, highly qualified local government practitioners.

How to Apply:
Fill out the online application for participation in the certificate program.
Upon processing of the application, you will be contacted
with information about the submission of additional
required materials. Thank you for your interest.

Admission Requirements

Non-degree candidates may apply for admission to the certificate program using the Virginia Tech Graduate School's online application system found at Admissions. Interested students must submit an official copy of their college transcript documenting receipt of a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university with an acceptable grade point average mailed to the Virginia Tech Graduate School as part of the application process. Current MPA students should discuss their plans with the certificate director before applying for the certificate.  If approved, 3 credit hours can be used as a core course substitution (personnel or budgeting course) for the MPA degree and 9 credit hours used towards the MPA elective courses. Transfer credits are not permitted for the Certificate program.

Course Requirements

Students are required to complete four courses with a GPA of 3.0 or better to earn the certificate.  The Certificate offers five course options.

Required Courses:
  • PAPA 5044 Local Government and the Professional Manager
  • PAPA 6354 Advanced Topics in Public Management: Human Resource, Financial, and Performance Management for Local Government Managers 
  • PAPA 6154 Advanced Topics in Public Organizations: The Context of Local Government Management in Virginia
  • UAP/PAPA 5874 Local Economic Development Planning
  • UAP 5184 Planning Administration

On-line certificate

The local government certificate program is offered as a synchronous on-line program using Zoom as the digital platform.  The program is offered both in-state and out-of-state.