Executive Master of Public Leadership

Rudy Metayer speaks at EMPL event

For Leaders. By Leaders.

A 12-month program for working professionals focused on public and nonprofit leadership

The LBJ School's Executive Master of Public Leadership prepares nonprofit and public professionals for senior leadership. Learn to lead organizations and people through substantial in-person coursework, interaction with high-performing leaders and simulations. The application deadline is May 10. For more information, please visit how to apply.

Preparing You to Lead

Hit the ground running with skills in:

  • Public leadership
  • Value-driven decision making
  • Organizational development
  • Strategic Communications
  • Personal Brand Development
  • Negotiation
  • Crisis Management
  • Financial Management
  • Data Analytics
  • Policymaking

Nearly 70% of EMPL graduates said they had been promoted since starting the program (2022 EMPL Survey)

Erica Davis



"The LBJ School gave me something beyond academia. It redefined my trajectory of professional development while refining my purpose for serving others."

Erica Davis, EMPL '20
Harris County School Board Trustee



Why LBJ?

  • Compatible with full time work
  • Immediate real-world application
  • 12-month, in-person program
  • Personalized leadership plan
  • Ranked high for quality and cost
  • Small class size
  • Mentorship pairing
  • Powerful alumni network

"The EMPL program has been invaluable. It gave me the skills that launched me into senior management, and I continue to use what I learned in EMPL on a daily basis." (2022 EMPL Survey)

View the Program Calendar

Orientation day for EMPL is scheduled for Saturday, August 12, 2023. Check out the current class schedule for the EMPL program.

Attend an Information Session

We will have upcoming information sessions to help you determine if EMPL is right for you. During these sessions, you will have the opportunity to meet the program director, network with alumni, learn more about the curriculum, and find out how to apply.

EMPL Curriculum & Class Schedule

The EMPL degree is designed for 21st century public leaders to cultivate modern-day leadership skills. The program combines substantial coursework, interaction with high-performing leaders, and simulations to help executives raise the bar on their own personal brand of leadership for the public they serve.  

Program curriculum will be taught primarily by tenured, tenure-track and professional track faculty in the LBJ School, with select courses taught by adjuncts and lecturers in the LBJ School and other UT Austin departments.   

The degree requires the successful completion of 30 credit hours spread across three consecutive semesters: fall, spring, and summer. Each course is three credit hours. Upon successful completion of all courses and program requirements, you will earn a Master in Public Leadership degree from The University of Texas at Austin. Course sequencing is subject to change.   

EMPL program graduates will be trained to:  
• Create a personal leadership philosophy to effectively lead in a changing society  
• Exemplify the confidence to lead strategic change initiatives  
• Apply value-driven decision-making to leadership challenges  
• Build organizational cultures of inclusion  
• Shape public messages, create partnerships, and manage risks  
• Engage and inspire high-performing teams  
• Understand public financial management and data-driven decision-making  
• Deploy policymaking expertise to advance policy solutions  
• Manage future-oriented technology policies in public organizations 

Fall 2024 Semester 
*Leadership & Management Foundations - This course will explore the many facets of leading a public organization, drawing on research about the sources of success for leaders. It will review a set of management foundations and strategies – decision-making, self-awareness, goal setting, team building, and more – necessary to create a personal leadership philosophy. 

*Politics & Policy Development - This course will explore how to develop and implement policy and examine the relationship between policy and politics in developing and implementing policy. Additionally, this course will delve into the intersection between national, state, and local politics and policymaking. 

*Strategic Policy & Public Communications - This course will demonstrate how to shape policy and public messages, use modern communication tools, and manage personal brands. 

Spring 2025 Semester 
*Public Leadership Ethics & Leading through Belonging - This course will study the concept of ethics and how to deploy value-driven decision-making in public organizations. It will also provide steps for creating and leading a welcoming organization.

*Data Analytics & Program Evaluation - This course will provide executive students with the tools, skills and experience they need to be sophisticated data-driven decision makers. 

*Managing Risks & Creating Shared Value - This course will explore risk assessment and crisis management and provide a variety of practical tools and skills participants can use when faced with crises. It will also address how effective leaders create shared value by building cross-sector partnership and engaging in negotiation with stakeholders to solve challenges. 

Summer 2025 Semester 
*Leading Strategic Change - This course will equip participants with the skills, knowledge, and thinking to plan and lead strategic change initiatives more effectively. 

*Financial Management for Decision-Makers - This course will examine the theory and practice of public financial management, including the principles of budget, finance, accounting, and fiscal administration. 

*IT, Cybersecurity & the Public Sector - This course will explore modern-day organizational and technology change processes in the public sector and outline techniques for managing future-focused IT projects and policies in public organizations. It will also provide leaders with the knowledge and skills to acquire, exploit, and protect digital and other sensitive information entrusted to public sector organizations. 

*Capstone – This course, which will be spread out over the entirety of the program, will contribute to leadership success in current or future employment. Students will create research, writing, and presentation skills as a component of this comprehensive project. 

Class Format & Schedule  
EMPL’s class format and schedule were carefully designed to accommodate the demands of executives and working professionals. Classes will meet in-person one weekend per month (5:30 PM – 9:30 PM on Friday evenings and 8:30 AM – 5:30 PM on Saturdays) and each semester will include a four-day, in-person residency. A combination of synchronous and asynchronous online content will fulfill the remaining course content requirements.  

For planning purposes, students should expect to be in-person for 11 class weekends (one weekend per month) and three four-day residencies (Wednesday-Saturday) in June 2024, December 2024, and May 2025. Specific dates and times for residencies and class weekends can be found here. 

EMPL Tuition

EMPL tuition is $46,500. This covers tuition and fees and other expenses related to the program including books and materials, executive coaching, snacks/meals on class weekends and residencies, accommodations during residences, and access to other The University of Texas at Austin resources, e.g. libraries and research databases. Tuition does not include accommodations on class weekends, or any travel associated with class weekends or residencies.  

You are encouraged to explore funding options through your employer, student loans/financial aid, and/or veteran’s benefits. Please contact the EMPL office to discuss possible funding options. For more information, please visit how to apply.  

Tuition Payment Schedule 
Payment Period  Amount and Due Date 
Deposit          $1,000 (non-refundable; due upon acceptance of admission) 
Fall I Tuition      $15,500 (due August 1) 
Spring Tuition    $15,500 (due January 1) 
Summer Tuition  $14,500 (due May 1)