Skip to content

Executive Master’s Degrees for Midcareer Professionals

Maxwell from the sky

Executive Master of Public Administration and Master’s in International Relations

Advance your career and professional knowledge with an executive master’s degree from the #1-ranked school of public affairs. 

The executive master of public administration (E.M.P.A.) and executive master’s in international relations (E.M.I.R.) programs are specialized for midcareer professionals with seven or more years of experience who want to build leadership, managerial and organizational skills and fill gaps in their knowledge to refocus or grow in their career. Both degrees are:

  • 30 credits (10 courses)
  • Completed in 12 months full time or at your own pace on a part-time basis
  • Flexible and allow you to focus on topics relevant to you with multiple areas of study to choose from
  • A combination of practical knowledge and case studies with academic research and professional skill building 


Request Information


Maxwell ranks #1 for schools of public affairs.

U.S. News badge 2024
Matt Kavgian headshot

As a midcareer professional with a young family, Maxwell's E.M.P.A. and E.M.I.R. programs provided me with superior credentials and life-changing experiences in an accelerated timeline. The knowledge and skills I acquired in policy analysis, law, negotiation and conflict, crisis and program management have all been mainstays of my work ever since.”

Matt Kavgian ’12 E.M.P.A., E.M.I.R.

Director of Strategic Communications and Projects, Indiana University Foundation


Who should apply?

Midcareer professionals with at least seven years of work experience who are ambitious learners eager to connect with top policy experts. Our students come from diverse backgrounds including federal government, research institutions, private corporations, NGOs and professional associations. The GRE is not required.

Priority Deadlines

Applications for the executive master’s programs are accepted year round. We encourage you to apply by the following dates for priority consideration.

May 1 to start in the summer semester.

July 1 to start in the fall semester.

November 1 to start in the spring semester.

The investment in myself and my degree from the Maxwell School has been invaluable. I can honestly say that the education and skills I gained help me to develop, amplify and champion strategies that improve the lives of underserved communities.”

Elizabeth Cardona ’10 E.M.P.A.

Community Engagement Manager, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MASSDEP)

Elizabeth Cardona headshot

Core Requirements

Three courses (9 credits) will prepare you with the fundamental skills and knowledge to be an impactful leader:

  • Executive Education Seminar: Managerial Leadership
  • Master’s Project Course
  • E.M.P.A: Fundamentals of Policy Analysis
  • E.M.I.R.: Either Comparative Foreign Policy OR Governance and Global Civil Society

The remaining 21 credits will be divided into specific focus areas and electives from departments across Maxwell.

Concurrent Certificates of Advanced Study (Optional)

Students enrolled in our executive programs are also eligible to earn a certificate in the following specializations as they work toward their degree:

  • Conflict and Collaboration
  • Data Analytics for Public Policy
  • Health Services Administration and Policy
  • Leadership of International and Non-Government Organizations
  • Civil Society Organizations
  • Population Health and Aging
  • Post-Conflict Reconstruction
  • Public Leadership and Management
  • Security Studies
  • European Union and Contemporary Europe
  • Latin American Studies
  • Middle Eastern Affairs
  • South Asian Studies


Focus Areas

Many E.M.P.A. students focus their program on one of the following areas of study:

  • Data Analytics for Public Policy
  • Environmental Policy and Administration
  • International and Development Administration
  • National and International Security Policy
  • Public and Nonprofit Management
  • Social Policy
  • State and Local Government Financial Analysis and Management

All E.M.I.R. students choose one of the following career tracks:

  • Global Security and Intelligence
  • Foreign Policy
  • Global Markets
  • Global Development
  • Public Diplomacy (D.C. campus only)
  • Transnational Organizations and Leadership (Syracuse campus only)

Where do alumni work?

Maxwell executive graduates are leading change in every sector all over the world including:

  • Community Engagement Manager, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MASSDEP)
  • Data Scientist, ZS Associates
  • Deputy Chief Health Officer, Project HOPE
  • Disaster Response Lead, American Red Cross
  • Director of Strategic Communications and Projects, Indiana University Foundation
  • Programme Officer for Chile and South Cone, IDEA International
  • Public Affairs Officer and Senior Director of Communications, U.S. Navy
  • Senior Director of Operations, Central New York Regional Transportation Authority
  • Senior Internal Communications Specialist, Syracuse University
  • Show Presenter & Senior Interview Producer, Middle East Broadcasting Networks


About the Maxwell School

As the leading school of public affairs in the United States, the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs is Syracuse University's home for innovative, interdisciplinary teaching and research across the social sciences, public policy, public administration and international relations.

Derrick M. Ingle

The hybrid [of] policy and research education from Maxwell and CSIS equipped me with the tools of understanding the makings of grand strategy, foreign policy and national security. An in-depth understanding of all national power tools is mission-critical to my job as a senior advisor and military officer.”

Lt. Commander Derrick M. Ingle ’20 E.M.I.R. IN D.C.

U.S. Navy