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Master of Public Administration (MPA) - MA

Why study this course?

Our Master of Public Administration MA course is a well-established and prestigious programme aimed at those who aspire to begin or enhance a public service or voluntary sector career.

Apply for the course if you’re a graduate working in public services and want to develop expertise in public service reform, capacity strengthening and institutional development. If you’re a manager (or want to become one), our course will help you learn how to deal with the growing political and economic uncertainty affecting public sector and voluntary organisations.


You’ll undertake an intensive year of professional and academic development of the highest standard. This includes a work placement with an organisation from our wide network of public and voluntary sector employers.

In the most recent (2015-16) 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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Our course aims to equip you with the skills and understanding needed to make significant change within your professional environment.

In particular, 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

Work placement

The work placement module is a key feature of our course. You’ll have the chance to directly experience work within a relevant area of public service in a London-based organisation over a substantial period.

The network of employers that offer work placements for you include:

  • the London Boroughs of Hackney, Harrow, Havering, Islington, Redbridge, Tower Hamlets and Westminster
  • government bodies such as the Department of Work and Pensions
  • voluntary sector organisations such as Thames Reach

Your work placement is an excellent opportunity for you to apply the knowledge acquired during class to develop your practical skills in the real world.

If you’re looking for work after the course, you’ll receive the guidance and support of our full-time placement and employability officer.

Meeting public sector demands

One of the greatest benefits of our course is how it helps you strike a fine balance between theory and practice. This means you’ll be prepared to use the knowledge you’ve gained and implement it in the real world.

We’ve designed our course to meet the demands of an increasingly complex and changing public sector made up of government departments, local authorities, public agencies and voluntary organisations from Britain and abroad. You’ll be equipped to bring positive change to these types of organisations by developing the skills needed to become an innovative public manager, administrator and policymaker.

We’ll also introduce you to the latest strategic management and planning tools applied in public agencies, including an overview of emerging trends and best practices in public policy.

Our teaching team

Our innovative Master of Public Administration MA is taught by an experienced team who are active in the international research community. Their research focuses on:

  • 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 teaching team is involved in civil service training, consultancy and advisory work for public sector organisations and internationally recognised academic research. They will use this experience to provide you with relevant, informative and contemporary case-studies.

There will also be expert practitioners from a range of public and voluntary sector organisations contribute to the course.

Teaching methods

You’ll study through a blended learning approach that uses a variety of strategies. For example, you’ll make use of our specially-designed research methodology focused on public policy and management research and analysis.

You’ll also have access to the University’s online Virtual Learning Environment. This supports the teaching and learning process as well as enabling you to reflect on your personal academic development and access a wide range of resources that will aid your studies.

Are you applying from abroad?

Our course has historically attracted students sponsored by the Commonwealth and 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. Many of our graduates from these countries have gone on to access managerial and decision-making positions in a range of public and voluntary sector organisations.

We want to help you to become a high-quality administrator and manager who will play a critical role in your home country. We’ll encourage you to achieve this through our interdisciplinary programme of study that is intellectually rigorous and relevant to your local context and organisation.


You’ll be assessed through a diverse range of methods including essays, reports, portfolios, individual or group classroom presentations and a dissertation.

Your dissertation is part of the 60-credit International Public Administration Project core module. You’ll be free to pursue individual research on a topic of your choice within public administration and public policy fields.

You’ll receive detailed verbal and written feedback on all assessments. We’ll give you significant tutorial support during your dissertation including dissertation workshops.

You will be required to have:

  • a good honours degree in a relevant subject discipline

If you have lower qualifications but appropriate and substantial professional work or voluntary experience in a relevant area, your application may still 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 modules listed below are for the academic year 2017/18 and represent the course modules at this time. Modules and module details (including, but not limited to, location and time) are subject to change over time.

Year 1 modules include:

  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester - Wednesday afternoon

    The module will explore the explanations that have been given for the variations in policy in fields such as health, education, urban policy, etc between nations and groups of nations. It will draw on examples of policy in each area from both developing and developed nations. Students will be encouraged to research case studies in particular fields of policy and to present these. The instructional model is devoted to a comparative analysis of local policies in some of the most important social fields. The general principles of government policy are considered in turn, along with a comparative study of national economic development policy, social policy, and policy in health, education and public order. There will be special topics consisting of the basic directions of local policy (municipal development, public services and transport). Having studied the model, the students will have gained an overall impression of typical problems tackled at national level in these areas, ways of solving them in different states and the machinery of government policy in these areas.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester
    • spring semester

    The Project/Dissertation is a major part of the MPA course and for this reason it carries three times the weight of a normal module. It allows students to conduct an extended investigation into a topic of their choice within the field of public administration / policy.

    The Dissertation provides the opportunity for students to integrate the theory, practice and experiential learning gained whilst in Britain in a piece of extended research in international public administration. This may be done either by working in their indigenous setting or by continuing to work in Britain.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • spring semester - Monday

    The module enables students to design and conduct research in a public service setting (including that required for projects and dissertations), to understand key debates in public policy research and to bid for and evaluate bids for funding.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester - Monday

    This module introduces students to the concept of public service strategies and how they relate to the public policy making process. It requires you to focus on the strategy making process in an organisation of your choice. An introduction to concepts of strategy, administration and management is followed by an analysis of contexts, core values, problem identification, options analysis, models of decision-making, and implementation. Strategies of, and management of change are a key focus. The evaluation of the success of strategic decisions and an appraisal of ethical issues arising are also considered.

    Read full details.
  • This module examines the process of European integration. It seeks to explain why this process has occurred and to examine the nature of its principal institutional manifestation, the European Union.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • spring semester - Thursday

    This multi-disciplinary module examines health and health care in urban settings. It focuses on the notions of urban health crisis, urban health penalty and urban health advantage which are examined by reference to London and other selected “global” and "world cities". It explores the significance for health and health care of London and other world cities by focusing at their position as global cities as the starting point. Hence, students will examine health challenges experienced in London and other world cities by patients, communities, health workers, service providers and local authorities against a background of globalization. The module uses a public health approach grounded in the impact of social and economic factors on health exemplified in the work of the London Health Improvement Board and WHO Commission on the Social Determinants of Health. The module highlights urban and public health issues and inequalities in health status amongst population groups and communities within urban settings. In addition, it analyses the outstanding factors that create differences in health and healthcare systems between global / world cities in the developed and developing world. Therefore, it provides an opportunity for students to develop skills underpinned by global citizenry and attributes that will enable them to engage critically with the process of formulating policy in relation to shifting public health agendas towards health promotion and health care improvement in urban settings in the context of globalisation.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • spring semester - Wednesday

    Issues such as corruption, organised crime, political violence, state disintegration, and extreme poverty present particular challenges to administration in developing and transitional societies. This module examines the new pressures and opportunities such societies face in administering public services. It will also explore the role of key international agencies engaged in global governance reform, such as the WTO, UN, World Bank and the IMF, and the role of NGO’s and bilateral donors. A key focus of the module will be to evaluate the effectiveness of different development strategies, using quantitative and qualitative techniques.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • spring semester - Wednesday

    This module has been designed to enable students to reflect on their management knowledge, skills and experiences, set their own development goals and draw on a robust theoretical framework and practice skills set to address common management issues. Students will be able to analyse management approaches critically in respect of the quality of service delivery and staff performance and in the context of resource constraints.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester - Tuesday

    This module provides an advanced examination of patterns in multi-tier governance, within the context of globalisation and increased complexity of the modern state. It explores the historical and contemporary nature of sub-central (local and regional) and supra-national governance, their relationship with central governments, and sets this within the theoretic and systemic context.

    The module provides an analysis of competing theories that could explain the complexity of modern state administration and governance. The tensions between globalisation and subsidiarity will be discussed, as well as the concepts of multi-level governance, decentralisation and localism. These concepts and theories will be reviewed through a series of case studies of local and regional governance in the United Kingdom, the European Union and internationally, as well as through identifying the issues and frameworks that impact on contemporary modes of governance at these levels. It concludes by evaluating the potential future direction of governance at local and regional levels.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester - Tuesday

    This is a core module for the MSc Public Health programme. The module explores theory, policy and practical aspects of public health and health promotion within a World Health Organisation context and a Faculty of Public Health approach. Students contextualise current public health practice drawing on comparative approaches. The main focus will be key theories, policies and practices influencing developments in public health and health promotion at international, national and local levels. Relevant initiatives and research in strategies and priorities for public health and health promotion such as health inequalities, participation and involvement, partnership working, social determinants of health, life styles and behaviour and population groups will be analysed. The Module also provides an opportunity to examine multiple global perspectives in relation to key contemporary public health challenges.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • spring semester

    The module enables students to experience directly the work of a relevant area of public service in a public or voluntary sector organisation over a 25-30 day period.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester - Thursday

    The module starts from the proposition that the study of social policy includes much more than the study of western welfare states. It examines critically the ways in which societies and communities from the local to the transnational, not just governments, address (or fail to address) basic needs. The module uses a selection of policy examples which aim to address a range of basic needs such as access to paid employment, healthcare, schooling, citizenship, family benefits, in and out of work benefits, pensions, affordable housing, adult care, early childhood education and care. It will look at aspects of these through various analytic lenses, including the impact of policies on social divisions, and the roles of neoliberalism, globalisation, social investment, human development, social development, antiracist and feminist perspectives. The module includes a ‘regional’ approach, covering some of the following: the European Union; Latin America; North America; sub-Saharan Africa; East Asia; the Indian sub-continent. The most prominent approaches to comparative social policy are pervasive, namely: regime analysis, path dependency/institutionalism, and convergent functionalism.

    Read full details.

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 Master of Public Administration course part-time while working full-time was challenging and rewarding. 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. You're assessed through different methods such as regular presentations, written reports and essays. The feedback received from colleagues and lecturers was very insightful. The knowledge and skills I've gained have enhanced my career prospects at my current organisation and improved my 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 backgrounds. Lectures are delivered in an interactive manner and the international background of the students makes for interesting, lively and informative debates throughout the lectures.”
MPA graduate

“I am proud that I have been part of London Metropolitan University. Through qualitative teaching and practical experience, it has prepared me professionally for the job market. As part of my master’s degree in Public Administration, 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 the knowledge gained during the MPA in evaluating one of the Borough's employment projects. I was even offered a job!”
MPA graduate

"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 coursemates.

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.”
MPA graduate

Our recent graduates have gone on to find roles in the central governments of Romania, Poland, Bangladesh and more. They can also be found in executive agencies and local government branches of the British government, as well as in a wide range of voluntary sector organisations in the UK and abroad.

You’ll be able to apply for a host of public administration job opportunities on graduation. Our course is also ideal if you’re currently employed in the sector and want to update your skills or progress on to further study.

Remember - your work placement will be an excellent opportunity for you to forge long lasting professional relationships within the sector. Our recent students have praised the work placement, highlighting it as the key link between the employability skills they developed and improvements in their career.

We also run the International Summer School in Public Administration. Taught by the Master of Public Administration MA staff, this summer school has attracted students of politics, management and public administration since its inception in 2003.

We're investing in an exciting, multimillion pound transformation of the London Metropolitan University campus, between 2016 and 2020. We’re moving all of our activity to one place, our current Holloway campus in Islington, north London. This will mean the teaching locations 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 2018. 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.

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