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Executive Public Administration

The 100% online Executive Master of Public Administration (EMPA) program is designed for seasoned public service professionals who seek to advance their understanding of administration in public and nonprofit organizations. 

Become an Effective Leader

Build the essential skills needed to provide effective leadership, communication, innovation, and change management in the public and nonprofit organizations of the twenty-first century. This online program is flexible and ensures that you are prepared to lead and manage organizations; participate in the public policy process; analyze, synthesize, think critically, solve problems and make decisions; articulate and apply a public service perspective; and communicate and interact productively with a diverse and changing workforce and citizenry. 

Degrees & Offerings

Executive Public Administration (EMPA)


The 100% online program is flexible and consists of 30 credit hours of coursework delivered through our online platform to strengthen your knowledge and understanding of administration in public and nonprofit organizations. You will build essential skills that can be immediately applied to your career.

Program Details





Graduate Admissions

Start Your Application Today

Each program has unique application requirements and deadlines. Be sure and consult the graduate catalog for detailed program information. It will ensure your application and materials are complete and submitted on time. To learn more about the application process, visit how to apply.

Known for Excellence

With qualities like small class sizes, specialized programs and incredible student opportunities, USD is not your typical university. What makes us unique is what makes your education exceptional.
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Student Opportunities

The academic opportunities available to you extend beyond the classroom. Visit our department webpage for more information about the experiences and resources you can look forward to at USD.


Learn more about political science

Departments & Facilities

Our faculty are experts in their fields, bringing practical experience in government, law and the nonprofit sector to the classroom.
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Political Science

Whether you are interested in a career in government and politics, law, the criminal justice system, international relations or a related field, the real-world experiences and connections you find in the Department of Political Science will help you get there.

Faculty & Staff

Get to know faculty and staff in the Department of Political Science. Our faculty are experts in their fields, contributing research and scholarship in American government, criminology, victimology, international human rights, gender politics, race/ethnicity in politics, comparative political economy, international law and more. They bring practical experience in government, law and the private sector to the classroom.
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David Earnest

Chair, Political Science
Faculty Default

Sandi Allred

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Michael Card

Associate Professor
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Ilmira Dulyanova

Dir. Online Grad Prog & Coord.
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Matthew Fairholm

Professor/Coord, Grad Programs
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Jacqueline Faulhaber

Senior Lecturer/Adviser
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Ed Gerrish

Associate Professor
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Joshua Houy

Senior Lecturer
Bio Image for Faculty Member Julia Hellwege

Julia Hellwege

Assistant Professor
Bio Image for Faculty Member Eric Jepsen

Eric Jepsen

Professor/Coord Ungrad Study
Bio Image for Faculty Member Sandy McKeown

Sandy McKeown

Coord, Criminal Justice
Bio Image for Faculty Member Thomas Mrozla

Thomas Mrozla

Assistant Professor
Bio Image for Faculty Member Lynita Newswander

Lynita Newswander

Senior Lecturer
Bio Image for Faculty Member Shane Nordyke

Shane Nordyke

Coordinator, Chiesman Center
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Timothy Schorn

Assoc Prof/Coord Int'l Studies
Bio Image for Faculty Member Laura Wiemers

Laura Wiemers

Program Assistant II
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Take Your Classes Online

We're committed to bringing our knowledge to you. USD serves the largest number of online students in the state of South Dakota. With competitive online tuition rates, we offer the same price whether you’re out-of-state or an in-state resident.

USD maintains a challenging and rigorous curriculum focused on preparing you to move forward in your career.

Take classes at your own pace, enroll in an online class today! 


View all online programs
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Gain Real-World Experience

Each year, the Department of Political Science puts more than $175,000 of funding toward student internships, study abroad experiences, research and conference participation, and student organizations.
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Chase Your Dream Career

Whether you want to hit the campaign trail, apply for law school, work for state or local government, or pursue another career path. A master's degree in public administration from USD will set you up for success. 

The accomplishments of our students and alumni speak for themselves; our students are leaders on campus and at conferences, and our graduates have transitioned straight into jobs in their chosen field around the state, region and country.

Surprisingly Affordable

Whether you’ve recently completed your undergraduate degree, or you want to kick your career up a notch, graduate school is the next logical step. The good news is there is funding for both online and on-campus students to get you through your program. 
Resident & WRGP
MN Residents
Tuition (9 cr.)
Fees (9 cr.)
Books (estimate)

More About Tuition & Fees

This is an estimate tuition rate* per credit hour and other factors such as special fees associated with your program may change the cost of tuition. Tuition rates are subject to change. 

If you are wondering about how to pay for graduate school, there are additional funding options to consider.

Alum success story

Success story Jason Kayser smiling.
When I was researching universities to complete my master’s degree, there were important requirements that needed to be met. My professional, civic and family responsibilities required that an institution must deliver a quality, flexible and self-paced program. As an accredited program, the EMPA program at USD met and exceeded all my needs and demands. I have been nothing but pleased with my advanced educational experience at USD, and found it as equal, if not more challenging than a traditional learning environment.

Jason Kayser

Executive Master of Public Administration
Fire Safety Specialist
Cedar Falls, Iowa

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