Executive Master of Public Administration

A dynamic graduate degree program designed to prepare students to manage public sector organizations at all levels of government.


Golden Gate University has been educating public administration professionals for more than 50 years, making it the oldest public administration program provider in Northern California. With 7,000 alumni and growing, GGU has produced government and community leaders of every kind, including police and fire chiefs, city and county managers, regional and department directors, executive directors, legislative supervisors, policy analysts, and others.

The 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.

GGU's EMPA 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 in San Francisco and Silicon Valley.

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.



The typical EMPA student has five or more years of experience in public or community service, and is looking 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.



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.


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 non-profit 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.


EMPA Courses: $3,000 per 4-unit course.

Tuition varies for other courses. See Tuition & Fees for details.


This program is offered at the following locations: