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Master of Public Administration (MPA) - MA

Why study this course?

The Masters in Public Administration is a well established and prestigious programme aimed at students who aspire to access or progress within a public service or a voluntary sector career. Benefiting from a work placement with an organisation from our wide network of public and voluntary sector employers, this programme offers an intensive year of professional and academic development at the highest standards. In the most recent (2014-15) Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey, 100% of graduates from this course were in work or further study within six months.

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The aim of this course is to equip present and future public service practitioners with the skills and understanding needed to play a significant role as change agents within their home professional environments.

The programme places great emphasis on:

  • developing a variety of academic capacities and transferable skills related to public administration
  • instilling flexibility of thought and innovation as guiding principles to public sector management and reforms
  • developing a commitment to lifelong learning and reflective practice in students.

This innovative public policy oriented and public management based course is taught by an experienced and dynamic team of academic staff who are active in the international research community in the fields of public management reform in transitional countries, comparative public policy and governance, strategic management in public sector organisations, corruption in transitional countries, and local and regional governance.

Our aim is to develop high quality administrators and managers who will play a critical role in their home country environments. This will be achieved through an interdisciplinary programme of study, which is intellectually rigorous and professionally relevant to your local context and organisation. The course is particularly attractive to graduates working in public services abroad who want to develop expertise in public service reform, capacity strengthening and institutional development.

The course meets the demands of an ever more complex and dynamic sector comprised of government departments, local authorities, public agencies and voluntary organisations from Britain and abroad, thus reflecting the need for skilled and innovative public managers, administrators and policy makers acting as agents for change.

Using a blended learning approach incorporating a variety of teaching and learning strategies appropriate to postgraduate level study, the course introduces you to the latest strategic management and planning tools applied in public agencies, overviews emerging trends and best practice in public policy within a comparative context and provides a strong theoretical and methodological grounding. Uniquely, the programme benefits from a bespoke research methodology component focused on public policy and management research and analysis. Moreover, the University’s vanguard Virtual Learning Environment, coming to support the teaching and learning process, as well repeated opportunities to reflect upon personal academic development, add value to your student experience and to the overall value of the programme.

The core teaching team on this course is both experienced and dynamic. The team is involved, on a regular basis, in civil service training, in consultancy and advisory work for public sector organisations, as well as in internationally recognised academic research, thus providing the Master in Public Administration teaching with relevant, informative and contemporary case-studies. One of the course’s greatest strengths is that it achieves a fine balance between its theoretically informed structures and the practical application of skills developed throughout. Expert practitioners from a range of public and voluntary sector organisations contribute to the course.

The course has historically attracted students sponsored by the Commonwealth, the governments of Bangladesh, Indonesia, Japan, Romania, South Korea, Vietnam, and students from (amongst others) Afghanistan, Germany, Kosovo, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa, Poland, Russia, Ukraine and the USA. Our graduates access managerial and decision-making positions in a range of public and voluntary sector organisations.

A key feature of this course is that it includes a work placement module that offers students the chance to experience directly the work of a relevant area of public service in a London-based organisation over a substantial period of time. You will also benefit from the skills and support from our full-time placement and employability officer.


The course’s variety of teaching and learning styles is reflected in the variety of assessment tools employed throughout the course. Within the general principle of mixed mode formative and summative assessment, we use a diversity of assessment instruments: a range of written assignments, such as essays, reports, portfolios, individual or group classroom presentations, and the dissertation.

The MPA dissertation is a 60 credit project that allows students to pursue individual research on a topic of their choice, within the public administration and public policy fields.

Detailed verbal and written feedback is given on all assessments, and significant tutorial support is given during the dissertation, including bespoke dissertation workshops.

You will be required to have:

  • a good honours degree in a relevant subject discipline (applicants with lower qualifications but with appropriate and substantial professional work or voluntary experience in a relevant area will be considered)

All applicants must be able to demonstrate proficiency in the English language. Applicants who require a Tier 4 student visa may need to provide a Secure English Language Test (SELT) such as Academic IELTS. For more information about English qualifications please see our English language requirements.

The course consists of five taught modules, a work experience placement in a UK public service organisation (two days a week over 15 weeks), and a triple-module dissertation (which may be completed in your home country).

Core modules cover:

  • Strategic Planning and Change Management Core (20 credits)
  • Comparative Public Policy Core (20 credits)
  • Researching Public Services Core (20 credits)
  • Public Administration Dissertation Core (60 credits)
  • A range of subject-related optional modules within management, community development and European studies. You have the opportunity to specialise in, for example, health management, development and administration, or project and human resources management.

Read more about the modules from our course specification.

”Studying the MPA course on a part time whilst working full time from 2011 to 2013 was challenging and rewarding as it involved the opportunity to share and learn different working practices and policies from Europe, Asia, Africa and the USA. The MPA course is set-up to test your skills and abilities as you are assessed via different means such as regular presentations, to written reports and essays and the feedback received from colleagues and lecturers were very insightful. The knowledge and skills gained has enhanced my career prospects at current organisation and future aspiration to work in the public sector in other parts of the world.

I would recommend the MPA as you are taught by experienced and helpful lecturers with varied background who deliver lectures in an interactive manner and the international background of the students makes for an interesting and lively informative debates throughout the lectures.” 

“I am proud that I have been part of London Metropolitan University. Through very qualitative teaching and practical experience, it has prepared me professionally for the job market. As part of my Masters degree in Public Administration (MPA) I finished an internship at the London Borough of Redbridge. This has been a life changing opportunity. I was able to learn a lot and practice my knowledge gained during the MPA in evaluating one of the Borough's employment project. I was even offered a job!”

"My MPA experience was the best work - study balance decision I've ever made. The course content and teaching was excellent and I thoroughly enjoyed the varied interactions with my globally oriented course mates. During my work placement with the London Borough of Hackney's Policy and Research department, I had the opportunity to put to practice all the taught strategic public policy theories.”

Graduates can expect a host of public administration job opportunities in the contexts of transition and modernisation – the course is ideal for those already employed in the sector who wish to update their skills, or progress to further study.

The work placement is also an excellent opportunity for you to practice the skills and apply the knowledge acquired during the programme, but also to forge long lasting professional relationships within the sector. The network of employers that offer work placements for our students include: the London Boroughs of Hackney, Harrow, Havering, Islington, Redbridge, Tower Hamlets, Westminster; government bodies such as the Department of Work and Pensions, and voluntary sector organisations such as Thames Reach, amongst others. Students have praised the work placement for its relevance to their career development and the employability skills it fosters.

Our recent graduates have accessed positions in central governments in Romania, Poland, Bangladesh, in executive agencies and local government in the UK and in wide range of voluntary sector organisations in the UK and abroad – to name just a few.

Between 2016 and 2020 we're investing £125 million in the London Metropolitan University campus, moving all of our activity to our current Holloway campus in Islington, north London. This will mean the teaching location of some courses will change over time.

Whether you will be affected will depend on the duration of your course, when you start and your mode of study. The earliest moves affecting new students will be in September 2017. This may mean you begin your course at one location, but over the duration of the course you are relocated to one of our other campuses. Our intention is that no full-time student will change campus more than once during a course of typical duration.

All students will benefit from our move to one campus, which will allow us to develop state-of-the-art facilities, flexible teaching areas and stunning social spaces.

Please note, in addition to the tuition fee there may be additional costs for things like equipment, materials, printing, textbooks, trips or professional body fees.

Additionally, there may be other activities that are not formally part of your course and not required to complete your course, but which you may find helpful (for example, optional field trips). The costs of these are additional to your tuition fee and the fees set out above and will be notified when the activity is being arranged.

How to apply

Use the apply button to begin your application.

When to apply

You are advised to apply as early as possible as applications will only be considered if there are places available on the course.

Fees and key information


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