Graduate Certificate in Local Government

School of Public Affairs


Degree: Graduate Certificate

Classroom Type: Online and on campus classes

This certificate prepares students to become well-versed in the forces that shape the agendas of the public sector, including those of municipalities, counties, regional authorities and councils of government. Additionally, students gain an understanding of government management and policy making.

Application deadlines

Fall: August 1; Spring: December 1; Summer: May 1

Program Details

Interest Categories: Criminology & Law Public Administration & Policy

Campus: CU Denver

Local governments are integral to providing and producing a range of public goods and services to residents including public works, education, parks and recreation, housing, emergency medical services, broadband, local courts, vital records, and transportation. Local government officials are also crucial for assisting higher-level governments in designing, implementing, monitoring, and evaluating public policy, thereby helping to achieve broader social outcomes. Perhaps more so than any other level of government, local government officials regularly coordinate and collaborate with non-profit and grassroots organizations to alleviate local policy problems. 

As demand for higher quality and quantity of public services from all levels of governments increases, the need for an educated, public-service oriented local government workforce has likewise grown. To help meet this demand, the Graduate Certificate in Local Government in the School of Public Affairs allows students to become well-versed in the forces that shape the agendas of local governments and the organizations they interact with in order to gain a richer understanding of governance and policy making.

Review CU Denver's Academic Policies.

Program requirements

  • The Graduate Local Government Certificate requires 12 credit hours of coursework.
  • Students must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0, with a minimum grade of B- in each course.

Required courses

Students must complete the course below, for a total of 3 credit hours. 

  • PUAD 5503: Public Budgeting & Finance (3 credit hours)

In addition, students must complete at least one of the three courses below, for a total of 3 credit hours.

  • PUAD 5625: Local Government Management (3 credit hours)
  • PUAD 5626: Local Government Politics & Policy (3 credit hours)
  • PUAD 5628: Social Problems & Policies (3 credit hours)

All course descriptions can be found in the Graduate Academic Catalog.

Elective courses

In addition to the required courses, students must complete two PUAD graduate elective courses from the list below or that have been approved by their advisor, for a total of 6 credit hours. All course descriptions can be found in the Graduate Academic Catalog.

  • PUAD 5130: Collaboration Across Sectors (3 credit hours)
  • PUAD 5170: Strategic Management for Nonprofit & Public Managers (3 credit hours)
  • PUAD 5220: Human Resource & Talent Management (3 credit hours)
  • PUAD 5250: Intergovernmental Management (3 credit hours)
  • PUAD 5260: Managing for Social Equity (3 credit hours)
  • PUAD 5271: Managing Conflict & Change (3 credit hours)
  • PUAD 5380: Public Participation, Political Equity & Government (3 credit hours)
  • PUAD 5410: Administrative Law (3 credit hours)
  • PUAD 5440: Negotiation & Conflict Resolution (3 credit hours)
  • PUAD 5460: Political Advocacy (3 credit hours)
  • PUAD 5502: Public Financial Management & Policy (3 credit hours)
  • PUAD 5632: Seminar in Environmental Management (3 credit hours)
  • PUAD 5650: Public Service in Emergency Management & Homeland Security (3 credit hours)

Recommended Completion Time:1 Year

Max Transfer Credits:0

Max Credits Per Year:In most cases, students wishing to take more than 18 credit hours per semester (12 in the summer session) must have the overload approved by the dean.

Required Credits for Completion:12 Credits

Admission Requirements

View the admissions requirements for the School of Public Affairs.

CMS Login