Letitia James

Executive MPA

Executive Master of Public Administration

DEADLINES: Spring Term

Fellowship Consideration & Final Deadline: November 15


Priority & Fellowship Consideration Deadline: March 31

Final Deadline: June 1

Degree Awarded


Program Length

2-3 Years

The application for the 2024-2025 academic year is now open.

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Designed for the experienced and ambitious professional.

SIPA’s Executive Master of Public Administration (EMPA) degree prepares you for executive jobs that aim to develop free market economies, create better global security, and strengthen political bonds. The EMPA helps graduates forge careers in government, nonprofits, international organizations, and the private sector. As an effective leader, you will learn how to affect policy, influence the course of an organization, manage employees, understand the complexities of government, organize budgets, and advocate for public services.

Take your career to the next level.

The Executive MPA (EMPA) positions mid-career professionals to advance their careers in public, nonprofit, and private sectors without sacrificing work and life commitments.

SIPA students in classroom

Who It's For

The EMPA program is designed for the experienced and ambitious professional who is looking for a top-quality and practical graduate program, but cannot take the time off to pursue full-time study. The curriculum is designed to help graduates advance their careers without sacrificing their current work and life commitments.

Career Paths

The national need for trained policy analysts and public managers is a critical one, as public policy issues become larger and more complex. Our graduates pursue careers in local, state, and federal governmental agencies dealing with critical public policy issues, and work as managers and staff analysts in nonprofit organizations, private corporations, banks, and consulting firms.


The EMPA program trains professionals to be competent and sophisticated public managers by incorporating broad questions of public affairs and the specific analytic, managerial, and communication skills of management and policy analysis into the curriculum.  Students may choose from five concentrations:

Executive MPA Core Curriculum »

Management and Innovation Concentration »

Environmental Policy and Sustainability Management Concentration »

International Economic Policy Concentration »

Global Policy Studies Concentration »

Urban and Social Policy Concentration »

Program Information

  • In addition to SIPA’s general admission requirements, the EMPA program requires the following:

    • A demonstrated commitment to public service and extensive work experience in the public, private, or nonprofit sectors
    • A thorough understanding of the EMPA program and a clear indication of how the program fits the educational and professional needs of the candidate
    • Quantitative skills, including statistics and/or economics

      GRE/GMAT not required. Individuals with exceptional experience and/or accomplishments may choose to self-waive the exam in the application.
  • Students must complete the following as part of this program.

    15 courses (54 points), consisting of:

    • EMPA Core Curriculum (21 points)
    • One of EMPA's five concentrations (12 points)
    • Approved elective courses (12 points)
    • In lieu of an internship, EMPA students are granted up to 9 points for professional and management work experience.
    • Completed Application Form

      100% of the application process can be completed online.
    • Personal Statements/Essay Questions
    • Application Fee

      US $95, nonrefundable
    • Standard Résumé/CV
    • Quantitative/Language Résumé

      The second résumé requirement provides the committee with additional information on your quantitative and language knowledge and proficiency. This special quantitative/language résumé should elaborate upon the skills you have developed related to quantitative methods and language learning. It is acceptable if some of the information included in this résumé overlaps with your standard/traditional résumé. (Example résumé.)
    • Two Letters of Recommendation

      Choose recommenders who, individually or in aggregate, will give the best sense of your qualifications for study at SIPA. You may submit one professional and one academic recommendation, or two professional recommendations.
    • GRE/GMAT Test Scores

      Executive EMPA applicants who have significant work experience and/or have performed well in previous quantitative courses may request a GRE/GMAT waiver. To request a GRE/GMAT waiver, contact the EMPA Program Office. If a waiver is not approved, then your official, unexpired GRE/GMAT scores must be on file one month prior to orientation.
    • TOEFL/IELTS Scores

      If English was not the official language of instruction of your undergraduate college or university, you must take the TOEFL or IELTS exam. You must upload your unofficial score report as part of your application. The exam must have been taken no earlier than two years prior to application. Our TOEFL code is 2161. Official, unexpired scores must be on file one month prior to orientation.
    • Official Transcripts

      A bachelor's degree or its equivalent from an accredited institution is required to enroll at Columbia SIPA. Please submit transcripts from all colleges, universities, and professional schools attended (including Columbia). Official transcripts from all colleges/universities attended must be on file one month prior orientation.
Aerial view of Columbia and IAB


The EMPA curriculum is designed to strengthen students' analytical and management skills and to deepen their policy knowledge, making them more effective in their chosen careers. Students enrolled in the Executive MPA program may complete the degree in either two or three years of study, depending on the course load they wish to carry. All students complete a set of core courses and choose between four concentrations.

The program requires students to complete a total of 54 points, up to 9 of which are granted for professional and management work experience, and 45 are earned during the program of study. Upon approval of their academic advisor, students may transfer a total of two courses (6 points) from outside EMPA course offerings towards graduation requirements.

Employment Statistics


Employed / Pursuing Further Study


Seeking Employment


Not Seeking Employment

Employment information as reported by the graduates six months after graduation. In 2023, 35 students graduated from the EMPA program, 28 reported.

Executive MPA (EMPA)

Contact Us

Valerie Zimmer
Associate Director of Recruitment and Marketing
Columbia University | School of International & Public Affairs
420 West 118 Street | Room 400
New York, NY 10027
+1 212-851-9550
[email protected]
[email protected]

One-on-One Appointments
If you have specific questions about the EMPA program or admissions process, sign up for one 30-minute virtual appointment to speak with us.

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Frequently Asked Questions