Graduate Program Executive MPA

Students in a class smiling

Executive MPA Degree Overview

Unique Program Features:

  • Designed for Experienced Public Service Professionals – Courses are sequenced across the academic year to even out the workload and enable degree completion within 21 months. Classes are held approximately every other Saturday and supported by dedicated staff who provide a concierge level of service that enables you to focus on meeting your learning needs.
  • Cohort Learning Model – Our model brings together students, faculty, mentors, alums, and practitioners in a rigorous peer-to-peer learning experience. This model fosters community, sparks creativity, and builds leadership and collaborative skills.
  • Distinguished Faculty – Learn from credentialed and accomplished faculty with extensive real-world experience in a variety of government and non-government organizations. Our professors are dedicated to meeting the individualized learning needs of each student and doing so in ways that integrate the best of academic research with practice.
  • Legacy of Leadership – Central to the EMPA curriculum is a tested leadership model built on reflective practice, active learning, and relevant application. We have developed this model over a 20 year period of doing leadership development in the U.S. and abroad, including Japan, China, and Vietnam.  
  • Advanced Leadership Competencies – The program is designed to be intellectually challenging and personally rewarding. Students will master specific competencies that prepare them to successfully tackle multifaceted, cross-sector leadership problems at multiple scales.
  • Intensive Field Experience – Enhance your understanding of equity, justice, and governance through a transformational cross-cultural experience in domestic and international settings.

Degree Details

  • M
    Delivery Method
    On campus
    Total Credits
    Start Term

Learn more about PSU’s academic program delivery methods.

Executive MPA: Why PSU?

Our students are actively engaged in leading change in the public sector today, and tomorrow. 14 out of 21 students in our last cohort changed jobs or were promoted into new roles. Our Executive Coaching is focused on engaging students in goal-oriented conversations about their careers.

What can I do with a Master's in Executive MPA?

The EMPA program is designed for busy, ambitious, and forward-looking public and nonprofit professionals who have at least ten years of
significant work experience. The program prepares individuals for advanced leadership, with an assumption that they have already "earned
their wings" as successful managers of people, programs, and organizational units. Our students have a clear commitment to public
service and strong personal motivation to deepen their knowledge, sharpen their skills, and assume advanced leadership roles in public


Executive MPA students take classes as a cohort, ever other Saturday from 9am-5pm. We operate on 12 week terms which allows students to focus on one class every six weeks. In addition to in campus courses, our students participate in two cross-cultural field experiences that transform your understanding of equity, justice, and what counts for “good governance”.

National Policy Process

Typical Dates in Year One: First week in March

An Intense week in Washington, D.C, meeting with national agency representatives, members of Congress and their staff, White House and Executive branch officials, think-tanks, lobbyists and issue advocates. We get a first-hand and behind the scenes understanding of who and what it takes to “make our government work”. International Field Experience

Typical Dates in Year Two: Mid-October

An intensive week with one of our international partners abroad (i.e., Vietnam, Korea, Thailand, etc.) meeting with government, civil society and university officials who together “make their government work”. As a result of our faculty’s extensive executive level contacts in the country that we visit, students are able to meet face-to-face with their counterparts and compare “best practices”. This intensive immersion experience is designed to surface lessons that can be used back home to improve our governing processes, the role of citizen engagement in decision making, cross-cultural communications, equity and inclusion.

Our program is an intensive, accelerated program for experienced public sector leaders. We require applicants to demonstrate a minimum of 10 years or significant work experience during the admission process which qualfies them to complete the executive track 45 credit program versus the 65 credit program. Due to these differences, our curriculum doesn't include any electives.


Portland State University is fully accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

The Executive MPA program was the second program of its kind to be accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA). In addition, our program was ranked in the top 25 Best Value Programs by Value Colleges and US News and world Report ranked us #53 for best public affairs program