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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.


As a student at USD, the opportunities available to you extend beyond the classroom. Explore your interests, find your community and experience your education to the fullest extent through the following opportunities.

An Affordable Education

Gain valuable real-world, professional experience while enjoying paid employment and discounted tuition rates as a graduate student at USD. The affordability you gain through graduate assistantships and fellowships will equip you with valuable, professional-level skills that will set you apart after graduation. 

Teaching and research assistantships are awarded by individual departments. If you do not receive an assistantship within your department, you are eligible for an assistantship outside of your academic program or within support offices (non-academic units) at USD. Further inquiries should be directed to the graduate director of the department.

Learn More

Real Experience Through Research

You'll find the mentorship and opportunities you need to study topics that spark your curiosity. 

At USD, you can pursue unique research, creative scholarship opportunities and attend conferences to share your work with others both on campus, within the community and across the nation. Additional research opportunities include:

Graduate Research

USD is home to more than 170 student organizations, including several that are housed in the Department of Political Science. You may be interested in joining College Democrats, College Republicans or Students of Public Administration (SOPA) to make friends, develop new skills and explore your interests.

Explore Student Organizations

Graduate & Professional Student Association (GPSA)

Join your fellow graduate and professional students at USD. We aim to build a sense of community between graduate and professional students. Build your resume, network with others and gain experience and the unique opportunity to represent the interests of graduate students to the greater campus and community.

Join Now

Departments & Facilities

Explore the departments, facilities and centers that contribute to your education in political science.
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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.
Bio Image for Faculty Member David Earnest

David Earnest

Chair, Political Science
Bio Image for Faculty Member Jenna Borseth

Jenna Borseth

Assistant Professor
Bio Image for Faculty Member April Carrillo

April Carrillo

Assistant Professor
Bio Image for Faculty Member Ilmira Dulyanova

Ilmira Dulyanova

Dir. Online Grad Prog & Coord.
Bio Image for Faculty Member Matthew Fairholm

Matthew Fairholm

Professor/Coord, Grad Programs
Bio Image for Faculty Member Jacqueline Faulhaber

Jacqueline Faulhaber

Senior Lecturer/Adviser
Bio Image for Faculty Member Ed Gerrish

Ed Gerrish

Coordinator, MPA/Associate Professor
Bio Image for Faculty Member Julia Hellwege

Julia Hellwege

Associate Professor
Bio Image for Faculty Member Joshua Houy

Joshua Houy

Senior Lecturer
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 Shane Nordyke

Shane Nordyke

Coordinator, Chiesman Center
Bio Image for Faculty Member Timothy Schorn

Timothy Schorn

Assoc Prof/Coord Int'l Studies
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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. 
GA (Resident*)
Tuition (1 cr.)
GAF Fee (1 cr.)

More About Tuition & Fees

Tuition rates are subject to change and may vary depending on the program or department. Visit the Graduate Tuition & Costs page for more information.

* Graduate Assistant (GA) rates are available for resident, non-resident and online students.

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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