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Syracuse University Executive Master of Public Administration (EMPA) online

The online Executive MPA, delivered by the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, prepares learners — who have extensive professional leadership experience — to solve public service challenges from the highest levels of their organizations.

About the program

  • Ranked No. 1 and No. 2: The online Executive Master in Public Administration program is ranked No. 1 in graduate education in public affairs and in the public management and leadership specialty area and No. 2 in specialty in nonprofit management.
  • No GRE or GMAT required: The admissions committee prefers to focus on an applicant’s professional leadership experience and solution-oriented mindset.
  • Diverse professional network: Of all-time enrolled EMPA learners and alumni, 42% identify as members of a racial minority or ethnic group.

About Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs 

Founded in 1924, Syracuse University’s Maxwell School has a goal to teach citizenship and develop leaders with strong social science backgrounds and the practical skills required for public service.  As such, it prepares its community of diverse professionals to drive meaningful change. As an online EMPA learner, connect with 200+ faculty across 11 highly regarded departments of social science and public policy, discover 14 research centers generating policy-relevant insight into pressing issues, and engage with 3,000+ active Maxwell learners.

Tuition and fees

Tuition and fees are subject to change and may increase each academic year. Tuition does not include student fees, technology platform licensing, or support services. Learners are also responsible for travel and accommodation costs related to any in-person immersions or residentials.

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Core courses

The Maxwell School designed the online EMPA for professionals who have demonstrated leadership experience and excellence. Online EMPA learners begin to formulate, implement, and evaluate the policies that drive powerful change in their communities. Explore the nuances of organizational leadership and management, and connect with expert instructors who will teach you how to use evidence-based analysis to make a positive impact in your community. Core courses include:

  • Fundamentals of Policy Analysis: Study a combination of basic economic principles and policy analysis techniques. Use cost-benefit analysis as a way to discover the rationale for and limits to public sector policies.
  • Managerial Leadership: Develop a foundational understanding of leadership theories and apply them to managerial situations to improve leadership skills and competencies within your organization.
  • Master’s Project Course: Integrate learned concepts — from across the online EMPA curriculum — to design an evidence-based master’s project paper that has practical application to a real-world organization. This capstone is generally taken at the end of the program.
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Prospective learners interested in the online program must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. They must also have at least five years of work experience in a position with significant organizational responsibility. Common areas of experience include leading teams, financial management, and strategic planning.

No GRE or GMAT scores required to apply. To complete an application, you will need to submit:

  • Online application

  • Application fee

  • Personal essay

  • Letters of recommendation

  • Official transcripts

  • Résumé

Elective course options


In addition to taking seven specialized subject area courses, learners can also complete and customize their elective course requirements in preferred focus areas through other elective offerings. 

These additional elective offerings are either:

  • Online programs that are offered through other Syracuse University schools. Discover a wider range of elective course options delivered by the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, the Martin J. Whitman School of Management, and other Syracuse University schools. 

  • Short courses that are offered in an intensive format. — Complete a 3-credit course in as few as one to two weeks of immersive study. The Maxwell School typically offers short courses at least twice a year, in January and May, on cutting-edge issues or topics of broad interest.

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