EMPA Modules and Course Offerings

The degree program is comprised of:

  • seven modules (five core modules and two specialization modules/or electives), seven non-consecutive weeks on-site that can be spread over a 24–48-month period
  • a capstone project undertaken over 6 months, primarily remotely, with ongoing support from the EMPA Director and team. 

More information on Program Structure

CORE MODULES (30 CEU/60ECTS)

Core Modules are each 6 CEU credits /12 ECTS offered over 8 days. 

Specialization/electives modules are 5 CEU credits/10 ECTS covered over 5 days

The five core modules and their component courses are set out on this page, as well as the specializations/elective modules.

(Please note, course details may be subject to change and the page will be updated regularly)

Module 1:  Persuasive Policy Making  (6 CEU/12 ECTS)  

Classes offered in this module provide insights into effective communication strategies employable at various levels of public administration, as well as the NGO sector, how to use the most effective communication tools available, drawing on insights from psychology, cognitive science, linguistics, and sociology. It will engage candidates on how to build and manage lasting coalitions to pursue their policy goals, creating managing and using networks, and how to manage organisational intransigence and protectionism, and how to develop their skills of negotiation.  

This module introduces concepts that are developed further in the Reforming Public Sector Organisations Specialization. 

Persuasive Policy Making Courses

  •  Negotiations (2 credits)

This course provides candidates with an understanding of effective negotiation strategies and tools applicable for different levels of public administration, the NGO sector and various other audiences.  

  • Conflict Resolution, Collaboration, and Peace Building (2 credits)

This course has three main focal areas: turning conflicts into collaboration (techniques for reframing issues and solving problems), personal skills and networking (creating managing and using networks and personal skills), fostering peace in divided societies (exploring the social political and economic and psychological dynamics of peace and violence turn into disciplinary and critical analysis of the causes and consequences of a wide range of contemporary conflicts). 

  • Organisational intransigence and protectionism (2 credits) 

This course aims to prepare EMPA candidates with the necessary theoretical knowledge and skills needed to overcome personal and organizational pushback when aiming to make policy change, part of this is also understanding how to apply psychology to public policy overcome organisational pushback when aiming to make policy change.  

Module 2: Digitalisation and Public Policy (6 CEU/12 ECTS) 

This module will provide participants with tools for digital policy making, examining the role of social media or AI, digitalisation of public administration (e-governance), and the resources and strategies for effective remote policy making and management. Policy makers will be equipped with skills enabling them to make sense of the large amount of data available today, adapting and adopting data in policy making, understand how data is regulated and protected (GDPR), and the legal implications and ethical considerations of data use for policymaking, including the implications and challenges of algorithms.  

Courses in this module also closely relate to the Knowledge Management & Innovation module, in which issues of data, information and knowledge in the public sector will be examined in more detail. 

Digitalisation and Public Policy Courses 

  • Internet and Human Rights (2 credits) 

This course will examine the Internet as a contested space for human rights from activist and state perspectives as well as the impact of the Internet on freedom of expression, gender, hate speech, privacy, and more.  Finally, the course will look at the interplay between artificial intelligence and human rights as this important technology assumes a greater role in the modern world. 

  • Social Networks and Knowledge Production ( 2 credits)  

The first part of this course reviews some current research on social networks in economics. Course participants will explore theoretical models and their applications to fields including development, trade, labor and finance. Social networks also affect the production and dissemination of information. The second part of this course will familiarize course participants with the most important changes in the distribution and dissemination of journalistic content that were triggered by the digital economy, and prompt discussions on how these changes affected the quality of journalistic content and its outreach. 

  • Algorithms and Digitalization of Policy Making (2 credits)  

Digitalization, Policy Making and e-Governance (1 credit)- This course will provide participants with tools for digital policy making, examining the role of social media or AI, digitalisation of public administration (e-governance), and the resources and strategies for effective remote policy making. 

 Algorithmic Policy Making Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Data Science Public Policy (1 credit) - How and why are algorithms adopted in government?This course examines the main types and applications of algorithms in public policy makes making. Candidates will consider the risks and potential benefits of algorithmic systems for pursuing public policy goals, and the challenges for implementing algorithmic systems in government. 

Module 3: Knowledge Management & Innovation (6 CEU/12 ECTS) 

 This module will give participants an in-depth understanding of processes and tools of knowledge and evidence-production, and its dissemination via research, private-public partnerships, think tanks and other research organisations, the ways in which production, access, dissemination and use of knowledge is regulated and to what ends, as well as the main sources of innovation in the public sector and the civil/non-governmental sector. Focus will also be on how to transform data into knowledge useful for the public and non-governmental sectors, and how to adapt and transfer knowledge between different fields, which will allow for smooth transition when navigating overlapping roles of policy makers.  

Knowledge Management & Innovation Courses

  • Knowledge production, Knowledge Transfer and Innovation in the Public Sector (2 credits) 

Knowledge production and dissemination via research in universities, private-public partnerships, think tanks and other research organisations. Transferring and adapting knowledge between different spheres. Relevant sources of data/information/knowledge. The role of the media in knowledge production and dissemination.  

  •  In the Real World: Leveraging Knowledge and Facilitating Change in the Public Sector (2 credits)

The overall aim of this course is thus to familiarize course participants with the main actors and processes of the knowledge exchange and knowledge brokering process and expose them to current debates, challenges, and proven good practices in this field. 

  •  Technical, Legal, Ethical and Social Justice Implications of Accessing/Sourcing/ Disseminating of Data, Information, and Knowledge (2 credits) 

The overall aim of the course is to familiarize course participants to the technical, legal, ethical and social justice implications of accessing, sourcing, and disseminating data, information, and knowledge in the public sector and expose them to current debates, challenges, and proven good practices in this field. 

 Module 4: Organisational Effectiveness and Leadership (6 CEU/12 ECTS) 

 This module will focus on the ways of achieving organisational effectiveness and what it means to be effective in public and non-governmental sectors. Participants will learn about varying skills that can be employed through strategic management, and policy and impact evaluation. Candidate to have the opportunity to examine crisis management and leadership in the public sector from the real world experience of a former national ombudsperson. 

Organisational Effectiveness and Leadership Courses

  • Policy and Impact Evaluation (2 credits)

Evaluation is an increasingly important part of the work of public policy, international organisations, and NGOs. The starting point of this course is the assumption that evaluation is more than the assessment of results. The evaluation of results is an important component, but evaluation goes further. Evaluation questions the whole architecture of a project or programme in its various components. It distinguishes between (long-term) objectives, (medium-term) results and actions that need to be taken to achieve results. The first part of the course provides an overview of the main stages of an evaluation. In the second part, selected qualitative methods are presented, which can be used to make an impact analysis of a project. 

  •  Strategic management in public and non-profit Organizations ( 3 credits) 

Strategic management is a toolkit, which can be employed to further many different goals. The only way to ensure that people with best ideas win in the ever more intense global competition is to help them develop skills in the most effective implementation of these ideas. That is precisely the ambition of this class. 

  •  Leadership: Crisis Management in The Real World  (1 credit) 

In the Real World: Crisis Management in state organisations - The Course will provide the participants with understanding of some common types of crises in state institutions, and the tools to prevent, mitigate, and solve them – from a practitioner’s perspective.  The focus will be on strengthening the public trust and overall resilience of the state institutions. 

Module 5: Inclusive and Socially Responsible Policy Making   (6 CEU/12 ECTS) 

 This module will explain how different socio-economic backgrounds can disenfranchise certain groups from policy-making processes, and explore a human rights-based approach to policy making. Participants will learn how to make policies in a gender-balanced and inclusive way, which empowers marginalised and disadvantaged communities, and how divergent voices can be reconciled. Issues addressed will include:  

  • Economics and public policy in an unequal world: Understanding how socio-economic backgrounds can disenfranchise people from policy-making process – the importance of participation and inclusiveness. 
  • Human rights-based approach to policy making. 
  • Gender balance in policy making – gender dynamics in public policy making, obstacles to and advancement of gender-equal policies. 
  • Moving disadvantaged communities (ethnic and racial minorities, disabled people, low-income groups, LGBTQ+) "from the periphery to the centre" of policy making.  
  • Ways of reconciling voices from divergent socio-economic groups and overcoming hierarchies/inequalities in policy making processes. 
  • Understanding how diversity of backgrounds (socio-economic, cultural etc.) can impact career progression and actual workplace diversity ('who gets heard'!)   
  • Understanding policy impact in the real world.  

Inclusive and Socially Responsible Policy Making Courses

  • Human Rights, Inclusivity, and Public policy – A Human Rights-based Approach to Policy Making ( 2 credits) 

This course considers HRBA as a means of promoting inclusive policy making. How and where it can reconcile voices from divergent socio-economic groups and overcome hierarchies and ensure social equity in policy making processes, and how it can promote oversight and accountability in policy making and public administration. 

  •  Economic and Equality in Public Policy ( 2 credits) 

Section 1: The aim of this section is to understand how socioeconomic backgrounds can disenfranchise people from policy-making process and the importance of participation and inclusiveness. Section 2:  This section aims to familiarize Candidates with how the abstract legal principle of and political claims for equality can be and are turned into policy and practice. Along these lines the course critically analyzes equality policy approaches and tools and looks at interventions through the lens of various grounds of inequality such as race and ethnicity, gender, disability, or sexual orientation. 

  • Lobbying and Impact Evaluation ( 2 credits) 

The first part of the course provides an in-depth consideration of the main stages of an evaluation. In the second part, selected qualitative methods are presented, which can be used to make an impact analysis of a project. 

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SPECIALIZATION/ELECTIVE MODULES (10 CEU credits/20 ECTS)

Specialization modules have been designed to enable candidates to identify and define policy problems related to a given specialization, and deepen their understanding of the following distinct areas:

  • Reforming Public Sector Organizations
  • Smart Policy Making
  • From Business to Public Leadership. 

Each specialization is divided into 2 to 5 credit modules.

Candidates not wishing to take a specialization can choose from a selection of courses from each module, up to 10 CEU/ 20 ECTS credits.