Since 1995, the Maxwell School has been consistently ranked in the top two by U.S. News & World Report for graduate education in public affairs. In the 2020 report released, the school is now ranked #1 in the nation for best public affairs programs1 and #1 in the public management and leadership speciality area.2
Students learn from acclaimed faculty who are leaders in the field of public affairs and build genuine connections with their classmates while discussing ways to solve public service challenges. The program is designed for experienced professionals, and students can earn a Master of Public Administration degree from the Maxwell School online in as few as fifteen months.
The Maxwell School’s online Executive MPA program is designed for professionals with demonstrated leadership experience.
To be considered for admission, applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and have at least five years of work experience in a position with significant organizational responsibility.
Application Fee. The nonrefundable application fee is $75. Applicants can contact an admissions counselor to find out if they qualify for an application fee waiver.
Personal Essay. Applicants must write one essay that discusses their background, professional goals, and reason for pursuing an Executive MPA.
Letters of Recommendation. Three letters of recommendations from academic or professional references are required.
Official Transcripts. All transcripts from degree-bearing institutions that an applicant attended must be submitted.
Resume or CV. Applicants are required to submit a resume or CV that outlines professional experience and accomplishments.
Admissions decisions are made on a rolling basis. Students can begin taking classes in January, April, July, or October. We encourage candidates to submit their application as early as possible to join the next cohort.
Summer 2019 Cohort
Early Priority Deadline: March 21, 2019
Priority Deadline: April 11, 2019
Final Deadline: May 9, 2019
Join Our Community of Experienced Public Service Professionals
Learn how to navigate modern public administration challenges alongside a cohort of ambitious leaders in the Maxwell School’s online EMPA program.
Raissa Figueiredo has worked as a consultant for the departments of Homeland Security and Education. She aspires to advance into a leadership role in procurement policy, and the Maxwell School’s online EMPA has helped her develop the necessary skills in leadership and management to do so.
“Looking at other schools, I recognized Maxwell’s program as an ideal blend of coursework in leadership, management, and specialized public administration study. The school’s national ranking and reputation for cultivating top-notch leaders and administrators was proof of its value and effectiveness.”
Raissa Figueiredo, online Executive MPA student, class of 2018
A Curriculum for Experienced Public Administration Leaders
3 Core Courses
7 Specialized Courses
Students in the online Executive MPA program learn to formulate, implement, and evaluate policy; lead and manage organizations; and use evidence-based analysis to make a positive impact on the public good.
Topics of study include challenges such as:
Integrating data analysis into management and policy making
Managing budgets within organizations and evaluating public expenditures
Upholding ethics and morality in sectors facing conflicting values
Leading teams and organizations collaboratively across boundaries
By assessing case studies and collaborating with other dedicated public servants, students can apply what they learn in the classroom to real-world settings and immediately begin developing solutions to public service issues in their current roles.
The program can be completed part time in as few as 15 months.
Core courses focus on leadership, management, and analytical skills.
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.
Develop a foundational understanding of leadership theories and apply them to managerial situations to improve managerial skills and competencies.
Master's Project Course
Integrate 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.
Specialized Subject Area Courses
Specialized subject area courses cover topics that are relevant to current public administration challenges and are subject to change.
Public Administration and Democracy
Discover the social and political context of public administration by discussing the complex questions that surround the relationship between public administration and democracy.
Public Policy Process
Explore how the actions of elected officials, public managers, nongovernmental organizations, and contractors affect policy-making procedures in areas such as social, environmental, and security policy.
Ethics and Morality in Public Affairs
Understand the moral issues facing public service leaders and learn how to resolve conflicts in an ethically responsible manner. Analyze cases through normative concepts and ethics principles.
Learn fundamental concepts in financial management and public finance that are useful for managing budgets within public and nonprofit organizations and evaluating public expenditures.
Collaborative and Participatory Governance
Study theories that support collaborative and participatory governance, assess their effectiveness, and explore how current practice can be applied to a career in public administration.
Explore how cities use data to inform policy, and integrate analysis-based decision making into effective policy making. Experience new software hands-on and perform simple analysis on real data.
Human Resources Management for the Public Sector
Learn the value of effective human resource management in achieving public administration goals. Examine how human resource management is changing from strategic, legal, and individual perspectives.
Other Elective Course Options
In addition to the specialized subject area courses, students can choose electives based on their particular interests. Options include connecting remotely to main campus classes, taking short courses, and attending other online classes offered through partner Syracuse programs.
Ready to Become a Well-Rounded Public Service Leader?
Learn how to drive effective policy change with an online EMPA from the Maxwell School.
The online Executive MPA program delivers a learning experience that expands on the quality of the Maxwell School’s renowned on-campus programs. By learning through our online platform, students can meet in real time to share diverse insights and collaborate on solutions to public service issues that they face in their own communities. Find out more about the online student experience.
Live Online Classes
Webcam-enabled classes bring students face to face with their classmates and faculty.
Assignments reinforce classroom discussion and are available 24/7 online and via the mobile app.
Our team is available to help students acclimate to the online platform or resolve any technical difficulties they encounter.
WeWork Global Access Membership
Students are able to study, attend class, and collaborate with classmates at WeWork locations worldwide.
Professional Development at the Maxwell School
At the Maxwell School, we are dedicated to helping our students succeed throughout their academic career and long after graduation. Students can take advantage of a variety of professional development resources, including:
Meet with a career advisor in face-to-face online sessions to discuss career development strategies and job search needs. Get personalized feedback on resumes, cover letters, and LinkedIn profiles.
Discover exclusive internship, job, and fellowship opportunities on our job board, OrangeLink. Explore strategies for career advancement, employer information sessions, and industry advice in our virtual career-building course.
Maxwell Alumni Community
Connect with our diverse alumni network of over 30,000 public service professionals. Access the community through in-person events, exclusive social networks, and alumni groups.
Tina Nabatchi, recently named the inaugural Joseph A. Strasser Endowed Professor in Public Administration, has taught at the Maxwell School since 2007. Her academic interests include citizen participation, collaborative governance, conflict resolution, and challenges in public administration.
“Maxwell has an incredible legacy in the [public service] field. We teach you a range of skills to excel in any organization, from policy, data, and budget analysis to effectively navigating interpersonal relationships.”
Earning an Executive MPA can have similar benefits to earning an MPA or Master of Business Administration (MBA), but the online Executive MPA degree from Syracuse gives experienced public service professionals the resources to be effective leaders, wherever they’re located. Our program prepares students to take the next step toward executive leadership in government, nonprofit, and for-profit organizations.
Students will graduate from our Executive MPA program ready to:
Effectively manage employees and financial resources
Use analytical thinking to assess and implement policy
Experience level: Public service professionals with 5+ years of experience
Skills Acquired: Public managerial leadership competencies, including managing human, financial, and information resources; analyzing and evaluating social and political systems; and planning and coordinating executive actions
Completion time: ~2 years
Degree Earned: Master of Public Administration
Experience level: Early to midcareer public servants (1–5 years of experience)
Skills Acquired: Basic public management skills, including strategizing for public policy, sociology and law; writing grant requests and public policy outcomes; and community development
Completion time: ~2 years
Degree Earned: Master of Business Administration
Experience level: Professionals in the private sector
Skills Acquired: Foundational business practices, such as analytical thinking; managing people, finances, and projects; marketing; and business communications
Careers in Public Administration for Executives
Graduates of our Executive MPA program are able to enact change through efficient project management and analytical decision making. They can use their Executive MPA degree to advance their career in the following areas:
With a public administration background, professionals can meet the needs of diverse organizations by overseeing budgets, directing fundraising efforts, and motivating teams. Students can use their EMPA to work in a variety of nonprofit areas, including:
Foundations and philanthropic organizations
Higher education institutions
Research institutions and think tanks
United Nations NGOs
Many of our students pursue leadership roles in the public sector and use their leadership skills to head government initiatives and analyze and implement effective policy. EMPA students can seek positions across the public sector, including:
Local and state government
Students who pursue careers in the private sector are able to act as a liaison between public and private organizations and ensure that their organization supports the public good. EMPA students develop a skill set that is relevant in the following areas:
Ready to Become a Leader Who Influences Positive Change?
Take the next step toward advancing your public service career in the Maxwell School’s online Executive MPA program. Request more information today.
1 Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs was ranked #1 by U.S. News & World Report, Best Public Affairs Schools 2020 (https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-public-affairs-schools). Return to footnote reference
2 Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs was ranked #1 by U.S. News & World Report, Public Management and Leadership 2020 (https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-public-affairs-schools/public-management-leadership-rankings). Return to footnote reference