The new EMPA degree, which is designed to prepare public administrators at the executive level, requires 30 credit hours of courses that are delivered online.

“This program will enhance executive skill in the region’s public and nonprofit organizations, further contributing to the reputation of South Dakota’s professional workforce and governance sectors,” said Michael Card, Ph.D., associate professor of political science and director of The U’s Master of Public Administration and EMPA programs.

The EMPA supports the Board of Regents’ goals of increasing the educational attainment of South Dakotans and enhancing workforce development opportunities. It also supports the Governor’s 2010 Educational Initiative of doubling the number of persons 25 years of age and older engaged in postsecondary education and increasing the percentage of South Dakotans who possess a graduate degree. Currently, 5 percent of South Dakotans attained a master’s degree compared to 7.1 percent nationally.

“The Executive Master of Public Administration degree from USD provides an extraordinary results-driven curriculum as it prepares graduates to provide leadership, manage change, build coalitions and understand advanced business concepts,” explained William D. Richardson, Ph.D., Odeen-Swanson Distinguished Professor of Political Science, chair of the Department of Political Science, and director of the W.O. Farber Center for Civic Leadership at USD. “It’s an opportunity to expand professional development and advancement opportunities for people in state, regional, local and tribal governments.”

Participants can complete the graduate degree in less than two years through part-time study.

“The EMPA at USD prepares executive level administrators in a flexible and accommodating environment,” added Laurie Becvar, dean of the GraduateSchool and Division of Continuing and Distance Education at USD. “This type of graduate study is particularly needed in areas outside of southeastern South Dakota and among non-traditional students who maintain full-time, mid-career employment.”

For more information about the Spring 2010 EMPA at USD, please visit:, or call 1-800-233-7937. Applications continue to be accepted.

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