Executive MPA Tuition


  • 45-credit program
  • Total program cost: $54,245 (subject to change)
  • Cost same for in-state and out-of-state students
  • Tuition is paid quarterly

Tuition Includes

  • Instruction
  • Course materials (all exercises, case studies, other readings)
  • Textbooks: Approximately $200 for entire program, purchased by student
  • Foundation Week lodging (single-occupancy)
  • Full lunch and light snacks each day of every course
  • Evans School Career Development support
  • Access to UW Libraries, athletic and recreation facilities, free and discounted software, local/regional transit access, and many other benefits

Funding Options

  • All students eligible for Federal Financial Aid loans
  • Program qualifies for veterans benefits
  • Some students funded by employers; some employers grant professional development time to attend courses on weekdays

FAQ - About the EMPA Program

What makes the (EMPA) program unique?

The EMPA’s work-compatible, accelerated, 18-month format is designed to complement our students’ careers without interrupting them. The program features a curriculum rooted in academic research and theory but taught for hands-on, real-world application by seasoned practitioners, at a graduate school nationally ranked in the Top 5 for public administration, the University of Washington’s Evans School of Public Policy & Governance. The cohort model complements the format to give each mid-career professional student a supportive and diverse network of peers.

What are the main differences between the regular MPA program and the Executive MPA program?

Students in the regular MPA program usually attend as full-time students during day classes, over two academic years. They complete core courses in the first year, a 400-hour internship over the summer, and electives around their areas of focus in the second year, capped off by a degree project in their two final quarters. The MPA program offers areas of focus and opportunities to gain career experience so that students may begin their career paths after graduation, supported by the Evans School’s Career Development staff unit.

The Executive MPA program, on the other hand, has a career-compatible format for cohort of about 40 mid-career professional students who complete the set curriculum of 13 courses together. The EMPA program approaches topics from a perspective of strategic planning, decision making, and capacity building, to complement the EMPA students’ existing management know-how. Students spend the majority of assignments applying tools and frameworks to their own real-life work challenges and discussing those complexities in class. The EMPA program therefore assumes students have current, robust professional experience, and students instead leverage Career Development staff for networking and coaching specific to job applications.

What makes a good EMPA student?

EMPA students have a commitment to service and contributing to the common good; they thrive on engaging in a diversity of opinions and perspectives; they bring intellectual creativity and curiosity, analytical thinking, and academic rigor to their lessons; they leverage the complexities of their real-world management experiences to bring value to class discussions; they can express the organization of their thoughts and analysis in succinct, professional writing; they are undaunted by obstacles and are accustomed to working around constraints; they also have a true need for learning frames, tools, and frameworks that they can turn around and apply at their jobs; they are used to balancing priorities from different aspects of lives, e.g. personal, professional, education.

I see that admission to the EMPA program requires a minimum of 7 years of professional experience. How much of that needs to be in management?

A significant portion of the minimum of 7 years should be in management, although there is no hard and fast rule to how many years and at what level that is. More relevant, this experience should include managing other people, i.e. above a supervisor level where coaching, performance, and influencing organizational culture and strategy are part of the job and/or program management that involves balancing competing interests and priorities from a variety of stakeholders e.g., different departments, organizations, community groups, elected officials, a board or commission, etc. Applicants with job challenges that are more one-dimensional would struggle to apply strategic frameworks to their job experience, and might rather benefit from the regular MPA program to develop more career experience and specific skills. While we cannot predict the success of one’s program application, we welcome you to connect with us to discuss your own professional background and goals.

What professional backgrounds do your students come from? How much of my experience needs to be in the public or nonprofit sectors in order to be admitted to the EMPA program?

We welcome students from a diverse variety of sectors, backgrounds, cultures, and political leanings. While most of our students have a professional background that relates to social benefit, this includes quite a wide variety: public sector (local, special district, state, federal, fire, safety, law enforcement, military, legislative), nonprofit, philanthropic, NGO, public health, health administration, consulting, and for-profit with a social or community benefit aspect. Read more about the EMPA Cohort of Peers.

How exactly does the EMPA schedule work? Is it an online or part-time program?

The EMPA program is not an online program and is considered an accelerated program (with a part-time credit load). It can best be described as a hybrid model. Courses are held in-person, where the first course is a 6-day residential (hotel provided) Foundation Week; the subsequent 12 courses are 3-day weekends, Fri-Sat-Sun in an all-day format (8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.). These occur 4–8 weeks apart from each other, each preceded and followed by online reading and assignments.

Is an EMPA right for me? What are EMPA students looking for in their career and own leadership?

Many of our students are looking to develop their leadership, become equipped with tools that will allow them to better engage complex challenges, and advance their careers. In addition, every cohort includes some students who are looking to make a career pivot, who may have management experience in a particular area but are interested to explore other sectors. Most of our students have experience in a combination of sectors—all part of the variety that contributes to the dynamism and rich diversity of perspectives in an EMPA classroom—but are all personally dedicated to creating stronger communities and a better world.

Can I start the program and decide if it is right for me?

We encourage you to learn as much as you can about the Executive MPA program before making the decision to apply. If you are admitted to the program and you start, then realize the program is not a good fit, we will work within the university's withdrawal parameters. Depending on the timing of your withdrawal, you might be subject to fees associated with Foundation Week expenses (catering, copyright etc.). 

FAQ - EMPA Application & Admissions

What are the eligibility requirements for the EMPA program?

  • 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

What do I need to submit as part of my application to the EMPA program?

  • The EMPA application is online and requires an $85.00 fee
  • Resume or curriculum vitae (CV) including all professional, volunteer, and community service experience, and any post-secondary education, including any degrees, certificate programs, other coursework, and professional development (even if not specific to public administration)
  • Unofficial transcripts of degree, certificate, or other credit-bearing coursework legibly showing credits and grades (just electronic uploads or scans are needed; official transcripts are not required for the purpose of the application)
  • Personal statement (about 750 words) explaining why the EMPA program fits your educational, career, and/or personal goals, and what unique perspective you can contribute to the cohort experience
  • 3−5 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). Read more about Executive MPA application requirements and instructions here.

What aspect of the EMPA admission application to you weigh most heavily?

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 write professionally carry as much weight as academic performance.

What is the application deadline, and how long will it take for my application to be reviewed for me to hear back from you?

The Priority Application deadline is April 1 and the Final Deadline is June 1. Applications are processed in 4–8 weeks following the April 1 deadline. After the June 1 deadline, applications are still accepted on a rolling basis until the cohort is filled. If you intend to apply after the June 1 deadline, we encourage you to email the Executive MPA administration to ensure there is still room and time to apply. 

Whom should I invite to write my letters of reference/recommendations?

For the Executive MPA 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 3, 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.

By what format do my references submit their letters of recommendation?

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, execmpa@uw.edu. 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 execmpa@uw.edu should they have any problems.

What if my letters of reference are not all submitted by the application deadline?

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.

Are international students eligible for the Executive MPA program?

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 one of the following examples:

International applicants might alternatively be interested in the regular MPA program at the UW Evans School, which does satisfy the credit requirement for an international student visa, although application to it does require the GRE or GMAT exam.

Is the Executive MPA program eligible for Washington State employee tuition exemption?

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

Is the Executive MPA program eligible for federal financial aid loans or military and veteran benefits? Are there any scholarships available?

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.