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Executive Public Administration, EMPA

Important Notice: This program will be discontinued and replaced with the Public Administration, MPA program effective with the Fall 2024 Academic Period.

Program at a Glance


Executive Public Administration, EMPA


Online, Hybrid

Total Units



No GMAT or
GRE Required

Summer ’24 Final Application Deadline

April 21

Program Overview

Be a Bold Leader with Integrity

GGU has educated over 7,000 public administration professionals for more than 50 years, making it the most proven program of its kind in Northern California. The EMPA program is for working professionals who want to become a police or fire chief; city or county manager; legislative supervisor; government department director – any position that maximizes your effect on your community.

Golden Gate University’s Executive Master of Public Administration (EMPA) program provides working professionals with knowledge of public affairs, policy, and administration through a challenging and cutting-edge curriculum taught by instructors who are also professionals in the field. Our program differs from other public administration programs in that it offers accelerated, real-world content intended for experienced professionals. Students can earn an EMPA in as little as 18 months in an entirely online format or through innovative, hybrid cohorts.

GGU is fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) and has been an institutional member of the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA) since 1973.

Who Should Enroll

The typical EMPA student has five or more years of experience in public or community service, and wants to build skills to move into a supervisory or leadership role. Students are highly motivated and diverse in both their experiences and backgrounds. Veteran students can draw upon extensive military benefits, including GGU’s participation in the Yellow Ribbon Program.

What to Expect

EMPA students learn advanced problem-solving skills to identify, assess, evaluate, and act on serious concerns faced by communities and governments. Coursework includes material on ethics, organizational leadership, public policy, government-business partnership, budgeting and financial management, personnel management and labor relations. A capstone (final) project requires students to research, develop, and defend a public policy paper. The project has the potential to impact public policy, affairs, and administration through thoroughly-researched recommendations that draw on best practices to offer practical solutions to real-world issues.

Undergraduate Public Administration Pathway Program

Students enrolled in the Dual BAM/EMPA Degree program will have the opportunity to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Management with Public Administration Concentration, which provides a solid foundation in essential management concepts, techniques, communication, and organizational behavior, and then continue on to earn the Executive Public Administration (EMPA), which provides a thorough understanding of the advanced processes, issues, and practices associated with the management of high-performing public service and nonprofit organizations at the municipal, regional, state, federal and international levels of governance. The EMPA will introduce students to the relevant set of real-world knowledge and skills required to function effectively in a managerial or executive role within such organizational settings. Students will learn to organize, motivate, and lead individuals in diverse public and private business enterprises. Those who complete the dual degree program will be in a unique position to understand and navigate the complex interactions between the public and private sectors, including policymaking, ethics, and the increasing privatization of the public sector.

Admission Requirements

  • Applicants should hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited US institution or the equivalent from a recognized foreign (outside the US) institution, and provide official transcripts.
  • Applicants whose native language is not English must meet the English Language Proficiency Admission Requirements.
  • Applicants with an undergraduate GPA below 2.50 should submit a statement of purpose and a resume. The statement of purpose should address the circumstances that may have led the applicants to poor academic performance, what had changed and why they think they’ll be successful now.

Proficiency Requirements

Writing Proficiency

Students are expected to possess proficiency in writing to ensure they can be successful in their course of study. Students may meet this requirement by satisfying one of the screening criteria listed under Graduate Writing Proficiency Requirement.


The Executive Master of Public Administration requires a total of 36 units, including 24 units of required courses and 12 units of concentration courses.


Students may declare concentrations when they have completed the coursework required for their desired concentrations, or after the “Last Day to Drop Course without Tuition Charge” (per the Academic Calendar) for their final terms, if they will be able to complete their concentrations in their final terms.

To be eligible to declare concentrations, students must have already completed the required concentration coursework, or be able to complete it in their final terms without requiring waivers, substitutions, or directed study courses, unless they are approved in advance by the department chair, program director, or dean.

Students may declare up to two concentrations in a given degree program. Students seeking to declare more than two concentrations will be required to appeal to the dean or vice president of academic affairs for approval. Students’ diplomas will list the concentrations that they had successfully completed at the time their degrees were conferred. Students may not declare additional concentrations after their degrees have been conferred.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the program, students will be able to:

  • Provide the leadership and organizational skills necessary to effectively and efficiently manage change, productivity, and diversity in public service and nonprofit organizations.
  • Critically but constructively analyze and evaluate public policies and programs within dynamic political, economic, environmental, and social contexts at municipal, state, national, and international levels of governance.
  • Develop collaborative professional relationships and partnerships with consideration for the legal, ethical, and moral influences that affect governmental, non-governmental, and business organizations.
  • Synthesize and apply knowledge from the scholarships on public affairs, policy, and administration to form a solid intellectual basis for professional practice and action.

… and will demonstrate knowledge of the theory and practice of:

  • Ethics, accountability, and governance in public service
  • Policymaking and intergovernmental relations
  • Leadership and organizational reform
  • Government, business, and civil society partnerships
  • Public finance and budgeting
  • Law and justice in public service
  • Law enforcement and security
  • Public personnel, labor relations, succession planning
  • Policy research, analysis, and presentation.
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