Public Finance Administration

Make the bottom line a top priority

From City Hall to overseas capitals, understanding public finance and budgeting is essential to provide the support to transform ideas into reality. In the Public Finance Administration concentration, you’ll learn the theory and practice of raising public revenue, allocating resources through the budgeting process, and managing public assets and other fiscal resources. Just part of the reason U.S. News & World Report ranked us #1 in this area. 

The applied and experiential nature of the advanced courses in this concentration will prepare you well for a variety of positions in government finance and budgeting, management, and applied program and policy analysis.

How to apply

15Public Finance MPA students (Spring 2021)

1:3Faculty: student ratio (2021)

89%All O’Neill MPA placement rate (2020)

A broad base, plus depth and detail

You’ll begin by mastering the fundamentals reflected in our MPA program's core competencies. These five courses (15 credit hours) will give you well-developed analytical skills and a broad understanding of policy issues and government processes. In addition to these highly transferable core skills, the Public Financial Administration concentration requires three of the following four courses.

  • Seminar in Revenue Theory and Administration (F 609)
  • Seminar in Government Budget and Program Analysis (F 610)
  • Seminar in Public Capital and Debt Theory (F 667)
  • Public Program Evaluation (P 562)
For the final required course, you will work with your advisor to choose one of the two following courses:
  • Governmental Financial Accounting and Reporting (F 542)
  • Benefit-Cost Analysis (P 541)

The remainder of the coursework comes in a wide range of elective courses. These will allow you to tailor your Public Financial Administration program to your own specific interests. Working with your advisor, you'll be able to select from many elective options, including the following,

  • Governmental Financial Accounting and Reporting (F 542)
  • Public Revenue (F 666)
  • Public Management Information Systems (I 516)
  • Data Analysis and Modeling for Public Affairs (P 507)
  • Benefit-Cost Analysis (P541)
  • Public Program Evaluation (P 562)

Combining your Public Financial Administration concentration with another MPA concentration—such as International Development, Policy Analysis, or Environmental Policy and Natural Resource Management—can offer you unique advantages in pursuing a particular career. As they help you design your program, our faculty will work to accommodate your specialized professional interests.

The above are examples of your course options. For a complete listing, see the official Indiana University Graduate Bulletin and work with your advisor as you make your schedule.

See course descriptions in the Graduate Bulletin

Experiential learning

Your MPA program offers far more than traditional lectures and lessons. You'll also get the benefit of experiential learning—typically through an approved internship. What's more, your concentration’s coursework will culminate in a project-oriented course—a Capstone—that integrates and allows you to apply the knowledge you gained throughout the program.

Gain real-world experience while still in school

You can join the O’Neill Public Finance Association (PFA), a professional student organization for the public financial administration concentration that offers networking and current information on events in the public financial industry.

Contact PFA

  • Arizona Joint Legislative Budget Committee
  • Booz Allen Hamilton
  • Crowe Horwath LLP
  • Democratic National Committee
  • Deutsche Bank
  • Georgia Department of Audits and Accounts
  • Google
  • Government Accountability Office (GAO)
  • Grant Thornton LLP
  • Office of Management and Budget (OMB)
  • PFM Group
  • US Department of Transportation
  • US Securities and Exchange Commission
  • US Senate Staff

Learn from faculty with expertise and experience in public finance


Associate Professor

(812) 855-7493

Executive Associate Dean, Professor

(812) 855-9783

Professor; Director, Ph.D. Programs in Public Affairs and Public Policy

(812) 856-7559

Megan Erwin, MPA’17

Budget and policy analyst, City of Norfolk, Virginia

“The courses and professors prepared me with the necessary base knowledge and skills to not only secure a professional role in a budget office, but to make a positive impact on citizens in that role. I would not be here without the O’Neill School.”


Fadzai Mugobogobo, MPA’15

Associate relationship manager, AVP, PNC Bank, Chicago

“Obtaining an MPA through O’Neill further solidified my genuine interest in the field of Public Finance with my employer. It enabled me to seamlessly transition into a different phase of my career with the firm.”


Melissa Neuman, MPA’10

policy analyst, white house office of management and budget, adjunct professor, george washington university

“I am proud of the education that I received at O’Neill that helped me to become a clearer thinker and communicator.”

50 years at O'Neill