•  Hybrid (SF / Online)
  •  36 Total Units

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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.

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.

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.


  • 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.



EMPA 301
Research Methods and Analysis
EMPA 302
Public Policy Analysis and Program Evaluation
EMPA 304
Public Enterprise Management and Public Sector Business Relations
EMPA 305
Budgeting and Financial Management
EMPA 307
Personnel Management and Labor Relations
EMPA 396
Graduate Research Project in Public Management


One of the following:
  • General Concentration
  • Law Enforcement and Security Concentration
  • Urban Innovations




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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Featured Alumni

Karen Roye

Karen Roye

EMPA '15

Department Head
City and County of San Francisco, Director of Child Support Services

Sandra Poole

Sandra Poole

MPA 11

Labor Relations Director
County of Santa Clara

Adjunct Professor
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Douglas Cook

Douglas Cook


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Golden Gate University

Cook & Company

Murat Wahab

Murat Wahab


Vice President, Commercial Banking Relationship Manager
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