Online Graduate Certificate in Local Government Management

Online Graduate Certificate in Local Government Management 2016-12-08T06:21:33+00:00

Online Graduate Certificate in Local Government Management – A Partnership between Virginia Tech and the VLGMA program

The Virginia Tech Center for Public Administration and Policy (CPAP), in partnership with the Virginia Local Government Management Association, developed a graduate certificate program in local government management that provides the next generation of local government managers with the tools to advance their careers and provide exceptional leadership within the communities where they work. The International City/County Management association (ICMA) has identified leadership development as one of the most important issues that local governments will face in the coming decade.

The Local Government Management Certificate program received the Stephen B. Sweeney Academic Award by the International City/County Management Association.

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 a real life, 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 that all local government managers must understand and navigate in order to be successful. Experienced, highly qualified Virginia local government practitioners teach all courses.

Need help applying? Download the application guide

For more info, download our helpful information sheet

Non-degree candidates may apply for admission to the certificate program using the Virginia Tech Graduate School’s online application system found under “Admissions” at

Interested students must submit an official copy of their college transcript or diploma 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. Please contact us for specific instructions on applying online.

Application deadlines are as follows:

Fall: August 1st
Spring: January 1st
Summer: May 1st

University Bursar is responsible for all tuition, fees, and student accounts. Their website contains extensive details on topics such as tuition and fees, deadlines, payment instructions, refunds, penalties, tax information, and more.
For SP15 semester, tuition and fees are as follows:

Tuition is $750 per credit hour, or $2,250 per course. Costs for books vary but are approximately $100 per course.

Tuition is applied at the time a student if officially registered in a course. Regardless of attendance or performance, students are responsible for tuition payment unless a formal request is made to be withdrawn and proper paperwork is submitted and approved. Tuition refunds follow a sliding scale.

Payment – Application fees (non-refundable) must be made before applications are processed. Graduate students may pay online by credit card or check. Students in courses awarding university credit will receive a bill via e-mail from the University Bursar for tuition and fees. Payments can be made by check, by money order, or online by credit card.

For More Information, Please Contact:

Stephanie Davis
Online Program Coordinator

The courses comprising the graduate certificate were designed to provide a challenging, master’s level, “real world”-based educational opportunity in local government management and public policy. The courses engage faculty, practitioners, and graduate students in systematic research and study designed to improve the quality of local government management, policy making, and public service.

The four courses required for the certificate:

Explores the institutions and systems in which public administrators work, and the dynamics of public administration within the larger political, economic and social environment. Special focus on the local government management profession, the evolution of the council-manager government and the core ethical and democratic values of the profession. Review skills necessary for effective local government managers, including critical strategic thinking, communication, organizational and community leadership competencies. Explores career management approaches for the local government managers. Considers the implication of future trends in local government management and the profession. (3 hours, 3 credits)
An examination at an advanced level of a selected managerial process(s) in the public sector. This course will focus on local government human resource, financial management, information technology, and performance management processes that managers must use when working in local government organizations. Additionally, topics will review public procurement, risk management, safety management, franchise agreements, contracting for municipal services. (3 hours, 3 credits)
Examines the powers, structure, roles and responsibilities of the local government within the U.S. and Virginia federal system from the perspective of the local government manager. Considers the election process, state legislative process, state/local relations and intergovernmental relations that constitute important internal and external forces in the local management environment. Explores the state/local government delivery systems of public education, public safety, transportation, public health, social services, environmental quality, criminal justice, and public works and utilities, as well as other programs that are provided either partly of wholly by local governments. (3 hours, 3 credits)
This course will focus on local government management and community development. It will examine the local government management process that supports community and economic development, including the local and regional planning processes, growth management, urban design for creating livable communities, property law, and local government tools and strategies for securing economic and community development. In addition, it will focus on the managerial competencies required for leading the community and economic activities of local governments. (3 hours, 3 credits)
Stephanie Davis, Professor of Practice, is a Doctoral Candidate in Public Policy and Administration and her research interests are local governments, nonprofits, partnerships, and organizational theory. Teaching experience includes Financial Management and Capital Asset Management. Her career experience includes service as Vice-President and Management Consultant of Springsted, Inc. She served as the Director of Finance, Human Resources and Information Technology for Powhatan County, Virginia. Prior to Powhatan, she worked for Chesterfield County as a Budget and Management Analyst and the Virginia State Compensation Board. She has a Master of Public Administration from Virginia Commonwealth University and a BS in Economics from Virginia Tech.
Courtesy Professor of Practice Dr. John Nalbandian is a professor of public administration at the University of Kansas and has also served as the Mayor of Lawrence, Kansas. Having earned his PhD from the University of Southern California in 1976, Dr. Nalbandian has focused his career on preparing students for careers in local government and has partnered with academic and professional organizations in many states to create more effective training programs for future local government managers. Dr. Nalbandian has been honored by the International City/County Managers Association (ICMA), the National Association of Schools of Public Administration and Affairs (NASPAA), and the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) for his work in furthering the education of local government administrators. Dr. Nalbandian worked in an unofficial capacity with the development and enrichment of Virginia Tech’s Local Government Management Certificate program for several years before beginning an official partnership in 2012.
What can you expect from Virginia Tech’s online learning environment?

Enjoy a flexible, unique and robust online learning environment. Technology joins you, your classmates and faculty in active discussion, no matter where they are and provides excellent tools for independent learning as well.

Leactures by World-Class Faculty
Online lectures by the faculty are a mixture of streaming video and powerpoint slides. Watch as often as you wish, download the notes, and of course, email the professor with questions. More about our lectures

Regular Discussion Seminars
Meet your professor and other students in your class online for regular discussions using Webex software. All you need is a computer and a headset.

A Community of Peers
Use Webex software, discussion boards, and other technologies to stay in regular contact with other students in the program. Engage in group projects and study.

Understand how your performance will be evaluated

Support Resources
Need help? Virginia Tech offers a full range of services for online students. From library access to academic advising to career help to a 24/7 technical help desk, online support is available to help you navigate the program successfully, no matter where you are.More about support resources