Online EMPA Academics

The online Executive MPA curriculum is designed to help professionals develop the skills, insights and strategies to successfully lead organizations amid dynamic global change. Students will expand on their leadership and management expertise and learn to apply analytical principles to address real-world public service challenges.

The program consists of 30 credits that can be completed entirely online in as little as 15 months. Students in the program will complete:


Weeks Per Term


Specialized Subject
Area Courses


Core Courses, including
a Master’s Project
Capstone Course

Download the online Executive MPA program brochure (PDF) to learn more about the program.

Learning Objectives

The goal of the online Executive MPA program is to help professionals take the next step toward leading and managing more effectively. The curriculum focuses on three key areas of public service and private sector leadership: management, policy implementation and evidence-based analysis.

Ideal for those professionals looking to evolve in a rapidly changing global landscape, the online program will prepare them to build the problem-solving skills they need to drive positive change at the highest levels of their organizations and across their communities.

Learning outcomes for this program are:

  • Identify and define key public administration concepts
  • Apply policy analytic skills
  • Explain and assess leadership and managerial theories, skills, and competencies
  • Discuss their role and potential as public administrators
  • Identify and analyze the uniquely public features of managerial and/or policy problems

Course Breakdown

Online Executive MPA courses are designed and led by the same faculty who teach on campus at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Courses are made up of core requirements in organizational leadership and general policy analysis as well as offerings in specialized subject areas. Please note, both core and specialized subject areas are required.

Core Courses (9 credits)

PAI 897: Fundamentals of Policy Analysis (3 credits)

PAI 895: Managerial Leadership (3 credits)

PAI 996: Master’s Project Course (3 credits)

Specialized Subject Area Courses (21 credits)

PAI 755: Public Administration and Democracy (3 credits)

PAI 760: Public Policy Process (3 credits)

PAI 746: Ethics and Morality in Public Affairs (3 credits)

PAI 734: Public Budgeting (3 credits)

PAI 732: Collaborative and Participatory Governance (3 credits)

PAI 730: Data-Driven Government (3 credits)

PAI 747: Human Resources Management for the Public Sector (3 credits)

Other Elective Course Options (varies)

Other Elective Course Options (credits vary)

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

These additional elective offerings are delivered two different ways:

  • Online programs are offered through other Syracuse University schools, such as the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications or the Martin J. Whitman School of Management, that give EMPA students a wider range of elective course options. Past students have taken advantage of this curricular flexibility to pursue coursework on campaign management and public relations at the Newhouse School, or project management and entrepreneurship at the Whitman School of Management, for example.  Students could also integrate a Certificate of Advanced Study into their EMPA online program by selecting from those offered online, such as the Certificate of Advanced Study in Data Science with SU’s School of Information Studies.
  • Short courses offered in an intensive format, allowing students to complete a 3-credit course in as few as 1-2 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, such as “Governing in a Crisis: Pandemics, Disasters, and other Emergencies” and “Performance Management: Ensuring Effective Governance of Public Programs.” 

Sample Schedule Breakdown

The online Executive MPA program consists of 30 credits which can be completed entirely online in as few as 15 months.

To help you better visualize how you may move throughout the online Executive MPA program, we have created this sample course schedule. Please note that this is only an example of a possible course sequence. Your student advisor will provide support and recommendations as you select courses, however there is no mandatory sequence you are required to follow.

PAI 755 Public Administration and Democracy
PAI 897 Fundamentals of Policy Analysis
PAI 760 Public Policy Process
PAI 746 Ethics and Morality in Public Affairs
PAI 732 Collaborative and Participatory Governance
PAI 734 Public Budgeting
PAI 895 Managerial Leadership
PAI 747 Human Resources Management for the Public Sector
PAI 730 Data-Driven Government
PAI 996 Master’s Project Course
ExecutiveMPA@Syracuse – Sample Schedule Breakdown