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Executive Master in Public Leadership - Applications Now Open


For leaders. Designed by leaders. Taught by leaders.

The Executive Master in Public Leadership (EMPL) program is designed to attract individuals who are successful leaders in their own right. They want to expand their career horizons and be more impactful as they move through their careers. The first of its kind in Texas, the EMPL at the LBJ School of Public Affairs is a blending of rigorous academic studies and practical learning.

Seasoned practitioners who have made their imprints in public and nonprofit sectors join together with well-established scholars. This balance is what sets the LBJ School apart.

The EMPL program provides the skills, application and learning environment to help professionals raise the bar on their own personal brand of leadership for the publics they serve.

It doesn't matter whether you have 9 employees or 9,000 - strong leadership is essential to make lasting change. Stephanie Muth, Chief of Staff, Texas Health and Humas Services Commission (MPAff '93)

Connection and Influence

Real-World Master's

The EMPL nurtures valuable personal engagement and interaction among high-performing leaders and people who have “been in the trenches” in the public and nonprofit sectors.

An intimate cohort creates opportunity for its own extensive network that will continue throughout the students’ careers.

EMPL students become part of a powerful and influential professional network of over 1,000 LBJ alumni in Austin with ties throughout city offices, the Texas state legislature, state agencies and nonprofits.

The EMPL Mentor Program will also pair students with current and former CEOs of government, not-for-profit, and private sector agencies for one-on-one mentor sessions near the start and conclusion of the EMPL program. These mentor sessions will enrich the student’s executive perspective, provide input on critical skills for executive level leadership, and help provide direction on career development.


The building blocks for the EMPL curriculum arose through feedback from CEO focus groups and the program objectives identified by an LBJ School task force. Senior leaders in public service need a mix of deep technical, analytic, management and leadership skills grounded in a strong personal ethical foundation. Our curriculum is built around four themes that reflect our beliefs about the skills and thinking capacities needed for success as senior leaders:

  1. providing strategic direction through leadership;
  2. working with and leading people;
  3. business and operational acumen; 
  4. strategic awareness, communications and coalition building.

Throughout the curriculum, we will provide you with many opportunities to reflect on, discuss, and develop the personal attributes that characterize effective leaders. Upon matriculating in the program, all students will participate in a short, intensive immersion experience. The immersion is designed to build community and a common intellectual foundation on which to start your work.

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As a graduate level program, a prospective applicant to the Executive Master in Public Leadership is expected to meet minimum requirements set by the UT Graduate School. It is expected that you will have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university and a 3.0 GPA for your upper division classes. The LBJ School expects a minimum of seven years of experience in the public sector. A GRE score is not necessary.

Receipt of all applications and documents for graduate admissions are collected electronically by the Graduate and International Admissions Center (GIAC) at the University. Access to applications will be open at on August 2015, and will close on November 16, 2015 Interviews will be scheduled as part of the application process in November. 

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LBJ EMPL Fast Facts. Highest ranked Public Affairs School in Texas. The LBJ School gives you a recognized credential and a ready-made network. 1000+LBJ Alumni Network in Austin. Student Cohorts of 20.  Premier Faculty and Lecturers.  No GRE required.  32 credit hour program. May 2014 classes begin. Every other weekend for 15 months.  Questions? Information Session June 18, 2015. 5:3pm LBJ School Lobby.

Information Sessions

Upcoming Information Sessions

February 10, 2016 - Career Forward, 4:00-7:00pm, LBJ Lobby:

Past Information Sessions

August 25, 2015 - Director Craig Pedersen and Program Coordinator Beth Rutter

August 16, 2014 - Director Craig Pedersen and Associate Dean Chandler Stolp:

September 10, 2014 - Director Craig Pedersen and Academic Adviser Jeremi Suri: