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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 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

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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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