Master of Public Administration (MPA) - MA

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Why study this course?

Our Master of Public Administration (MPA) 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 in public services, non-for-profit sector, government agencies or social impact-focused private and social enterprise organisations.

More about this course

Our Master of Public Administration (MPA) MA aims to equip you with the applied and professional skills needed to manage and affect change within your professional environment.

In particular, the programme places great emphasis on:

  • developing a variety of academic capacities and transferable skills in public administration and management, instilling flexibility of thought and innovation as guiding principles to public service design and transformation
  • developing a commitment to lifelong learning and reflective practice

This course would be suitable for you if you’re a graduate working in public services and want to develop expertise in policy analysis, service transformation and design, capacity strengthening, institutional development and general and strategic management of public organisations. If you're a manager (or want to become one), our course will help you learn how to understand, analyse and manage change, as well as plan, assist and monitor effective implementation in complex and uncertain political and institutional environments in your sector.

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

Work placement

The work placement module is a key feature of our course. You’ll have a choice between directly experiencing work within a relevant area of public service in a London-based organisation, or undertaking a research placement working on relevant public sector research in partnership with one of the progamme's members of staff 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 and develop your practical skills in the organisational context.

Meeting public sector demands

One of the greatest benefits of our London Met MPA is the thoughtful balance and interplay between theory and practice embedded in the course.

We've designed this course to meet the demands of an increasingly complex and changing governance landscape made up of government departments, local authorities, public agencies and voluntary organisations from Britain and abroad, as well as private organisations engaged in public service delivery. You'll be equipped to bring positive change to these types of organisations by developing the skills needed to become an innovative and adaptable professional.

We'll also introduce you to the latest strategic management and planning tools, to current trends in re-designing and transforming services, and facilitate a stimulating environment where you can learn for life.

Our teaching team

Our Master of Public Administration MA is taught by an experienced team who are active in the international research community, with interests in:

  • public management reform and capacity building in transitional countries;
  • comparative public policy and multi-level 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 is internationally recognised for 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 contributing 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 will be engaged in practical simulations, debates, produce bespoke reports of response to real on-going policy consultations.

You will be supported by the University's online Virtual Learning Environment, which will also enabling you to reflect on your personal academic development and access a wide range of multi-format 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.

Fees and key information

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Entry requirements

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.

To study a degree at London Met, you must be able to demonstrate proficiency in the English language. If you require a Tier 4 student visa you may need to provide the results of a Secure English Language Test (SELT) such as Academic IELTS. For more information about English qualifications please see our English language requirements.

If you need (or wish) to improve your English before starting your degree, the University offers a Pre-sessional Academic English course to help you build your confidence and reach the level of English you require.

Modular structure

The modules listed below are for the academic year 2020/21 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
    • summer studies
    • 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 a chosen field of study that falls within public administration/management or public policy.

    This module, therefore, has the following objectives:

    to test the student's ability to undertake a sustained investigation into a particular topic or issue within the field of international public administration;
    to enable the student to formulate a project proposal justifying selection of methodologies;
    to test the student’s ability to plan, organise and write a lengthy prose work;
    to test the student’s ability to undertake a sustained investigation into a particular topic or issue within their chosen field of study.
    to test the student’s ability to use empirical research in testing a theory in the field of public administration

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  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester - Monday evening

    The module aims to explore the contemporary issues and developments in public administration and governance at the local, regional and national levels. More specifically, it aims to:
    - introduce the contemporary context for multi-level governance and administration
    - overview the paradigmatic shifts from government to governance
    - outline historic developments in modern state governance, including horizontal service transformation (privatisation, fragmentation, marketization) and horizontal transformation with the emergence of multiple levels of authority
    - outline new forms of localism and the importance of informal networks in governance
    - evaluate the interaction between different levels of government and different actors
    - outline the political and administrative implications of multi-level governance for scrutiny and accountability

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  • This module currently runs:
    • spring semester - Monday afternoon

    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.

    The principal aims of this module are to provide students with:

    the opportunity to develop understanding of research as a holistic process, and to gain familiarity with the different stages involved in the design and conduct of a research project
    an appreciation of the range of research methods and techniques available, and the capacity to make informed and appropriate choices when designing projects
    an awareness and understanding of the key methodological issues that arise in research, and the ability to address them in research plans
    the capacity to read critically and to evaluate published research studies
    a familiarity with the policy making process
    the ability to analyse the decision making process and to provide policy analysis for decision making
    the ability to analyse the implementation and impact of public policies including use of the comparative method.

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  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester - Tuesday evening

    This module aims to provide a critical understanding of the policy process and of challenges confronting countries in policy development, analysis, implementation and evaluation. The module uses a range of theoretical and practice-based perspectives from social science disciplines to examine the varying contexts in which health policy is developed and implemented and which shape health policy.

    To introduce students to a range of theoretical perspectives related to policy process.
    To develop an awareness of the varying social, political, economic and institutional contexts that influence the development of policies in different countries.
    To foster students’ engagement with major contemporary issues and debates in the policy process through group participation in them.

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  • This module currently runs:
    • spring semester - Thursday evening

    The module provides an advanced examination of the management of public services principally in the United Kingdom, as well as an introduction to current issues and developments in public finance and the budgetary process in public sector and non-for-profit contexts. It places the current public management reform agenda within a broader historical, theoretical, and institutional framework. The module examines key components of, and developments in, the management of public services including: finance; regulation; performance and quality management; human resources; and ethics.

    This module aims to:
    - Explore theoretical and practical implications of the emergence of new public management (NPM)
    - Provide a context within which to understand the contemporary design, resourcing and delivery models in the public services
    - Examine developments which aim to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, legitimacy, sustainability and social impact of public service transformation.
    - Introduce basic concepts around budgetary planning, execution and control.

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  • This module currently runs:
    • spring semester - Tuesday evening

    This module introduces students to strategic planning and change management in the public service and to how these relate to the policy making process. It requires students to focus on the strategy making process in an organisation of their choice. The module overviews the design, formulation and implementation stages of organisational strategies and assesses the role of political and administrative leaders in the process of innovation and change.

    The module places great emphasis on the strategic management analysis of public organisations. Key tools, such as SWOT and PEST analysis, Scenario Planning, Brainstorming, Cost-Benefit analysis, Stakeholders analysis will be presented and applied on a series of case studies that will inform the teaching and learning process.

    An introduction to concepts of strategy, policy, leadership, innovation and change 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.

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

    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.

    This module aims to:
     To develop a detailed understanding of the role and functions of the principal agencies promoting reform in developing and transitional societies
     To critically examine the differing perspectives which have been used to understand the work of these agencies
     To develop skills of analysis based on quantitative and qualitative data on development strategies.

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

    The Module introduces the student to the principles of inter-professional practice and offers the opportunity to apply these concepts to their own practice context. The Module uses blended learning in order to develop a range of skills and competencies for effective professional practice.

    Module Aims

    To provide an opportunity for students of health & social care, public health & associated disciplines to explore key theory, policy and practice elements of inter-professional practice from a user centred perspective.

    To enable students to experience in a highly interactive way, inter-professional practice and organisational management in order to inform present and future practice.

    To develop students’ capability to reflect upon their own experiences of inter-professional practice and explore both factors that influence this, including resource constraints and the ethical bases across the different professional groups and to see how common values may underpin effective practice.

    To locate the changing nature of organisations and evaluate the implications for effective inter-professional working within a theoretical framework.

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  • This module currently runs:
    • spring semester - Tuesday afternoon

    The module focuses mainly on the micro level of management with the focus on developing team management and leadership skills. Management issues are addressed in the context of values-based organisations whether in the public, voluntary, or community sectors or social enterprises. Participants are introduced to management and leadership theories and relevant policy frameworks in order to facilitate critical reflection on aspects of their management and leadership role. In addition, participants will explore key practice areas, drawing from relevant theories and reflecting on their relevance to their own experience. Particular attention will be paid to health and wellbeing in the workplace, time management, leadership, and communication and negotiation skills. Students will also review their developmental role as a leader and manager, and the module will critically explore current ideas and practices regarding when working with teams, networks, and inter-professional working groups.

    The aims of this module are:
     To provide an overview and introduction to management within organisational contexts encompassing both community and voluntary organisations and the wider public sector.
     To enable participants to apply an analytical and reflective approach to their personal management skills and leadership styles.
     To explore the relevance and application of current theories and concepts in the management and organisational studies field to participants’ own experience, work context and roles.
     To explore a range of strategies and approaches to improve performance across diverse organisational contexts.

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

    This module will equip people working in public services (statutory, voluntary or private) with a range of tools for designing, developing and managing and monitoring projects. The module aims:
    - To give students an understanding of the development process of projects
    - To familiarise students with project management tools
    - To enable students critically to assess project proposals and reports

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  • This module currently runs:
    • summer studies

    The module aims to provide students with a detailed understanding of:
    1. Conventional and co-productive policy development approaches
    2. Challenges of Complexity, design and governance in public services
    3. Design thinking in policy making and public sector innovation

    The aim of the course is to develop an understanding of the role of design thinking in assisting public and non-for profit sector transformation.

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  • This module currently runs:
    • summer studies

    The aim of the Public Service Placement module is to enable students to experience directly the work of a relevant area of public service in an organisation over a substantial period of time. Through a sustained period of work-based experiential learning, and through exposure to and engagement with current professional practice in public administration, students will have the opportunity to:

    - become familiar with current practices and recent developments in public administration methods and processes, within a specific organisational context and policy area;
    - develop and strengthen their practical knowledge and theoretical understanding of public service systems and mechanisms;
    - acquire a range of appropriate professional competencies and more general transferable skills in public administration work, which can support them in future practitioner roles as change agents in their own societies and future work roles;
    - develop a reflective understanding of what constitutes effectiveness in public administration and how to evaluate this.

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What our students say

"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

Where this course can take you

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.

Summer school

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.

Additional costs

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.

Non-EU applicants looking to study part-time should apply direct to the University. If you require a Tier 4 visa and wish to study a postgraduate course on a part-time basis, please read our how to apply information for international students to ensure you have all the details you need about the application process.

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.

News and success stories

Meet the team

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