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Key Executive Leadership Programs

FAQ About the Key MPA


1. What is the Key Executive Leadership MPA Program?
The Key Executive Leadership Master of Public Administration (MPA) Program is a graduate course of study in the skills, knowledge, and values needed by top-level public executives and offers participants the perspectives and competencies necessary for effective performance in high-level executive work. 

The curriculum includes the major activity areas, as identified by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, to certify candidates for career positions in the Senior Executive Service. Using an executive education model, participants maintain employment while attending courses on selected weekends (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) for 24 months.

The mission of the Key Executive Leadership Program is to foster better government by educating professionals and managers to become effective, top-quality team and executive leaders.

2. Who should consider and apply for the Key Executive Leadership Program?
The Key Executive Leadership Program is designed for mid-career professionals who typically hold the GS-12 (or above) rank, Senior Executive Service candidates, and Senior Executive Service members.

Equivalent non-governmental organizations and private sector managers and executives are encouraged to apply.

3. Is the Key Executive Leadership MPA open to participants from outside of the Washington, DC metro area?
Yes, the program is open to applicants outside of the Washington, DC metro area. However, please keep in mind classes are held in-person on the campus of American University in Washington, DC.

4. What are the application deadlines?
Applications are due by May 15 for Fall admission into the Key Executive Leadership MPA program.

Applications for the Key Executive MPA scholarship are due by April 15.

5. Do I have to take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) to be admitted to the Key Executive Leadership MPA Program?
No, the GRE is not required for admission to the Key Executive Leadership MPA Program. See program requirements.

6. Is there a required minimum grade-point average (GPA) for admission?
While the Key MPA Program is highly competitive, it does not have a minimum GPA required for admission. The program considers the academic credentials along with an applicant's professional experience.

7. Can I transfer credit into the program?
Students who wish to reduce their credit load of the Key Executive Leadership MPA may be eligible to transfer credit from DAU and OPM courses. Please contact the program advisor for additional information.

8. What is the total cost of the Key Executive Leadership MPA program?
The total cost (including tuition, most fees, and textbooks) of the program is $65,808.

9. What options are available to finance my degree?
There are several financing options available to student.

  • Scholarships & Fellowships: The Key Executive Leadership Program offers several scholarshipsKey Executive MPA Scholarship, Anita F. Alpern Scholarship, and Donald G. Zauderer Scholarshipto new and continuing students. Students also have the option to seek external scholarship funding. Learn more.
  • Federal or Private Loans: Federal and private loans are available to eligible students. For additional information on federal and private loans processing please visit The Office of Financial Aid's website or call (202) 885-6018.
  • Employer Sponsorship/Scholarship: The Key Executive Leadership Program will work with employers to credit the student's account. Employers can pay via training forms, government credit card, and/or electronic transfer.
  • Military & Public Service Programs: American University and the Key Executive Leadership Program are proud supporters of our military. The Key Executive Leadership MPA Program accepts educational benefits from eligible veterans, and participates in the Yellow Ribbon program. Learn more.
Click here for more information on costs and payment options.

10. What is American University's Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) code?
American University's FAFSA code is 004134.

11. Where is the Key Executive Leadership MPA Program located?
The Key Executive Leadership MPA Program is housed within American University's School of Public Affairs. The mailing address for the university is: 

4400 Massachusetts Ave NW
Washington, DC 20016.

To visit the program office, please come to the Watkins Building. Click here for directions to AU's campus.