Get started with EMPA admissions

The EMPA admissions team is here to help you develop a high-impact career that serves the community and helps people reach their fullest potential. Apply to the EMPA program to gain the skills and knowledge you need to excel as a leader dedicated to serving the public good. This accelerated, work-compatible degree program provides advanced leadership education and exposure to critical areas for professionals in throughout their career.

Application Materials

Gather your required University of Washington (UW) Graduate School and Evans School application materials:

  • Application fee of $85 for completing the online application to the UW Graduate School and Evans School.
  • Resume or curriculum vitae (CV), including:
    • All professional, volunteer, community service, and military experience
    • Any post-secondary education, including any degrees, certificate programs, other coursework, and professional development (even if not specific to public administration)
  • Statement of purpose describing in about 750 words or less:
    •  Why the EMPA program fits your educational, career, and/or personal goals, and what unique perspective you can contribute to the cohort experience
  • Unofficial/electronic transcripts
    • For each degree, certificate, or other credit-bearing coursework legibly showing credits and grades (just electronic uploads or scans are needed.
    • If admitted to the EMPA program, the UW Graduate School will require official transcripts (in sealed envelopes that have not been tampered with) to verify the completion of your bachelor’s degree (and master’s degree, if you have one).
  • Two letters of reference
    • Letters of reference from professional colleagues or educational mentors who have worked closely with you and are familiar with your talents, attributes, and style, and how you might benefit from the EMPA program and vice versa (familiarity with you carries more merit than an important title).
  • Essay on equity, diversity and inclusion in 500 written words or less. You can use the prompt below to inspire you (but you do not have to answer any/all of the questions):
    • How has your background and experience prepared you to be effective in an environment that holds equity, diversity, and inclusion as core to our mission and values?
    • What impact have you had on the climate for equity, diversity, and inclusion at your present position? What are you still working on?
    • In what ways do you hope the EMPA program will further your learning and skill sets in equity, diversity, and inclusion?
  • Demonstration of English proficiency for applicants whose native language is not English. Proficiency can be demonstrated in several ways laid out by the UW Graduate School.

Complete the UW Graduate School online application for the Evans School. During this process, you will be asked to identify which Evans School program you are applying to, and should choose Public Policy & Governance – Daniel J. Evans School – Executive Master of Public Administration as your degree option. You will then be directed to the appropriate Evans School portion of the application to submit the majority of your required application materials.

For questions and more information about the application process, contact our EMPA office at or schedule a meeting with our Admissions team using the scheduling tool on this page.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Bachelor degree or equivalent 4-year undergraduate degree
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0 (applicants may calculate the GPA of their last 90 quarterly credit hours or the last 60 semester credit hours).
  • Minimum 7 years of professional experience, a significant portion of which should include management
  • No GRE or GMAT exam required
  • The EMPA application is online and requires an $85.00 fee
  • Resume or curriculum vitae (CV)
  • Unofficial transcripts of degree, certificate, or other credit-bearing coursework
  • Personal statement (about 750 words)
  • Essay on diversity, equity, and inclusion commitment (about 500 words)
  • 2 to 5 letters of reference from professional colleagues or educational mentors

We take a holistic approach to reviewing prospective EMPA student applications. While we look for some substance in each aspect of the application, most viable EMPA candidates completed their undergraduate degrees several years ago, and their more recent professional experience, letters of reference, and ability to write professionally carry as much weight as academic performance.

For the EMPA program, letters of reference from former professors are not required. Most applicants ask current or former supervisors from a professional setting. It is more important that the recommender has worked closely with you and is familiar with how you work and your personal qualities, rather than that they have an important job title. You must submit a minimum of 2, or maximum of 5 letters. While at least your first 2 letters should be from professional supervisors, for your 3rd, 4th, or 5th letters, you are also welcome to ask those from other supervisory positions: from volunteer work, the board or committee chair if you sit on a board, a former professor or instructor, or a client you’ve worked for. Again, we’re interested in the breadth of your experience and how each angle might give perspective on your eligibility for this program.

There is a function on the online application form where you can enter the email addresses for your selected references, and the system will send them each an invitation via email asking them to complete a brief online form where they rate you in a few areas and submit their letters. Sometimes, these notifications do go to junk mail or are otherwise missed, so as backup, your references may submit letters to us directly at our email, For these letters, there is no set format or structure, and letters may be emailed as attachments or simply typed text in the email.

We do recommend contacting your references directly beforehand to make your initial request to them, to give them a sense of your application deadline, and to give them the backup email should they have any problems.

If you submit your application by the deadline, but your letters of reference submissions follow it afterwards, your application will still be considered as received on time. The most important thing is to pay the application fee and submit your application, and your letters of reference may take a number of days more to come in.

Due to the credit structure of the EMPA program, international students are not eligible for student visas, as our courses do not meet the full-time credit requirement for F-1/J-1 visas. The only way this would be workable is if students complete two graduate programs simultaneously. The EMPA program could be completed along with other programs such as:

International applicants can consider the Evans School’s MPA, which satisfies the credit requirement for an international student visa.

Unfortunately, as the EMPA program is a fee-based program, it is not eligible for Washington State tuition exemption.

The EMPA program is eligible for both federal financial aid FAFSA loans and military and veteran benefits. Typically, there is no departmental scholarship funding for the EMPA program.