Developing Leaders in Every Sector, Industry, and Corner of the Globe

Featuring a powerful professional network and a flexible curriculum, the EMPA teaches seasoned professionals advanced competency in leading organizations to address the world's most pressing challenges. Students are trained in rigorous methods of management and leadership to develop skills and tools that allow them to affect positive change in their field. Students work closely with a faculty advisor to develop individual learning plans based on their unique leadership ambitions and career goals.

Students in the EMPA have at least 10 years of professional experience and 7 years of management-level experience, and are either a rising leader, or already in an executive position.

Degree Timeline and Requirements

Complete the 36-credit/9-course program in less than one year

  • Complete the program in less than one year via two full-time semesters (beginning in September and ending in May), or in two years on a part-time basis.
  • Engage with a close-knit executive cohort via two leadership courses: Strategic Leadership EXEC-GP.1194 and Leadership Confronted EXEC-GP.3190
  • Complete one Financial Management CORE-GP.1021 course
  • Tailor the degree via six elective courses (24 credits) from any of the following topic areas:
         Analytical Methods and Evaluation
         Arts and Cultural Policy
         Economic Development and Housing
         Environmental, Infrastructure, and Sustainability
         International Development
         Leadership and Organizational Behavior
         Politics and the Policy Process
         Public and Nonprofit Management and Organizations
         Race, Class and Diversity
         Social Entrepreneurship and Social Change
         Urban and Social Policy
  • Graduate after completing a total of 36 credits
  • *Only the credits from two school-wide core courses may be applied to the 36-credit degree requirement (including CORE-GP.1021)

Beyond the Classroom

The EMPA program fosters a strong community and provides learning opportunities that are not available in the traditional classroom through highly individualized advisement with executive faculty, a private lecture series featuring inspiring leaders in public service, and a strong alumni network.

Cross-Professional Series (XPS)

Open Society Institute's president, Aryeh Neier, introduced by Dean Ellen Schall

(Image: Open Society Institute's president, Aryeh Neier, introduced by Dean Ellen Schall)

This speaker series offers students in Wagner's Executive and Professional Dual-Degree programs a unique opportunity to hear from leaders in many different fields and with a wide array of career experiences. The series is in intimate seminar style with an accompanying reception where students are able to engage with colleagues across disciplines, fostering important connections.


Wagner EMPA students play significant roles in redeveloping neighborhoods, advocating for social justice and providing  vital human and social services in nonprofits, consulting firms, private organizations and government agencies.