Course Schedule

Consists of 22 five-week, online core courses, and 4 online electives. 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.

Online Courses

Instructor-led core courses:

  • Public Administration
  • Managerial Statistics
  • International Public and NGO Management
  • Nonprofit Finance and Management
  • Special Topics in Public Affairs 1
  • Special Topics in Public Affairs 2
  • Microeconomics for Management and Policy
  • Effective Writing for Public Affairs 
  • Public Finance and Budgeting
  • Leveraging Information Technology for Public and Nonprofit Management
  • Systems Thinking and Modeling for Public Affairs
  • Translation of Research into Policy and Practice
  • Legal Aspects of Public Agency Decision Making
  • Corporate Responsibility
  • Fundraising, Grantmaking, and Lobbying
  • Strategic Stakeholder Engagement
  • Leadership in Public Affairs
  • Negotiation Skills
  • Project Management
  • Market Regulation and Public Policy
  • Program Evaluation


On-Campus Courses

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. Microeconomics for Managers, Part 2
  2. Nonprofit Finance and Management, Part 2
  3. International Public and NGO Management, Part 2

Year 2 Summer residency week:

  1. Vulnerability and Resilience Planning 
  2. Politics of the Policymaking Process
  3. Public-Private Partnerships

Year 2 December residency week:

  1. Project Management
  2. Capstone Project Presentations

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

Concentration Elective Courses

Tailor your program by choosing from two concentrations:

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


Course Sequence

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


Course Grading

  • Letter grades. 

EMPA Admissions Counselors

If you have questions, please feel free to contact our EMPA Admissions Counselors: