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Group of students lined up smiling at camera
Joint MPA/EMPA seven-week seminar on Comparative Public Administration with a field trek to Costa Rica led by Dr. O’Toole. Group photo is taken in the Presidential House.

Consists of 22 five-week, online core courses, and 4 online specialization courses. Online courses are 1 credit. The degree includes three 1-week residential sessions* in Ithaca and a substantial capstone project which unfolds over the duration of the program and culminates in a final presentation. The entire program (online courses + on-campus intensive sessions + capstone project) comprises 36 credits. Students should expect to spend an average of 18-20 hours per week on their studies.

*Students in incoming cohort will make two 1-week visits to Cornell’s campus and will be invited to walk at the May 2026 commencement.

Online Courses

Instructor-led core courses:

  • PADM 5113 – Public Administration: A Strategic Planning Perspective
  • PADM 5119 – Leadership for Public Service
  • PADM 5133 – Law and Public Agency Decisions
  • PADM 5123 – Microeconomics for Management and Policy I
  • PADM 5173 – Market Regulation
  • PADM 5313 – Managerial Statistics
  • PADM 5413 – Strategic Nonprofit Management I
  • PADM 5414 – Strategic Stakeholder Engagement
  • PADM 5442 – Effective Policy Writing
  • PADM 5423 – Accounting for Government and Nonprofit Organizations
  • PADM 5433 – Project Management for Policy
  • PADM 5434 – Fundraising
  • PADM 5443 – Systems Thinking for Policy I
  • PADM 5444 – Systems Thinking for Policy II
  • PADM 5473 – Public Interest Technology
  • PADM 5453 – International Public Management I
  • PADM 5573 – Corporate Responsibility
  • PADM 5614 – Intergovernmental Relations

On-Campus Courses

Current students will make three 1-week visits to Cornell’s campus, where they will meet their classmates and professors in person. These Ithaca residencies include intensive courses in:

Year 1 Summer residency week:

  1. PADM 5123 – Microeconomics for Management and Policy II
  2. PADM 5413 – Strategic Nonprofit Management II
  3. PADM 5453 – International Public Management II

Year 2 Summer residency week:

  1. PADM 5733 – Vulnerability Planning
  2. PADM 5613 – Politics of the Policymaking Process
  3. PADM 5174 – Public-Private Partnerships

Year 2 December residency week*:

  1. PADM 5433 – Project Management for Policy
  2. Capstone Project Presentations

During the third visit, students will participate in program wrap-up sessions, present their capstone projects, and participate in a December graduation ceremony.

*Incoming students will make two 1-week visits to Cornell’s campus and will be invited to walk at the May 2026 commencement.

Specialization Courses

Tailor your program by choosing from two concentrations:

  • Public and Nonprofit Management, with specialization courses in managing technology, managing personnel, decision analytics, and leadership and strategy
  • International Policy, with specialization courses in frontiers of international policy, human rights, international management, and leadership and strategy

Joint Residential MPA/EMPA Seminar

  • Comparative Public Administration. This is a 7-Week Joint Residential MPA/EMPA Seminar that convenes for the first half of the fall semester. MPA students may substitute this course for one of their EMPA Specialization Course requirements in either concentration. The course will convene synchronously online and requires a field trek to San Jose, Costa Rica at the conclusion of the course (late October).
  • During the Fall 2022 trek, both MPA and EMPA students had the opportunity to engage with high-level stakeholders across the Costa Rican public, private, and nonprofit sectors on Costa Rica’s global leadership on sustainability, immigration, infrastructure, and workforce development. Students met members of Congress, former President of Costa Rica Jose Maria Figueres, diplomatic delegations from Brazil and Colombia, and several Brooks MPA Alumni, including Dr. Alvaro Salas-Castro, founder of Democracy Lab, Jairo Mena-Arce, Executive Director of AZOFRAS, and Ronald Segura Sojo, Program Management Office at the Omar Dengo Foundation.

Course Sequence

  • You will take your core courses in a prescribed sequence, together with your cohort.
  • You will take your four credits of specialization courses during the second year of the program

Course Grading

  • Letter grades


EMPA Admissions Counselors