MPA in Public Administration


Program Description


This interdisciplinary programme unites the expertise of the School of Sociology and Social Policy and Leeds University Business School, allowing you to study a broad range of modules which will enhance your knowledge of public administration and policy analysis in varying contexts of global and local challenges.

The programme will equip you with the necessary skills to take up a senior position in public administration. You will acquire a mastery of the diverse range of problems that public administration professionals face in the contemporary socio-economic climate and an in-depth understanding of the contested nature of debates in social and public policy.

Throughout the course, you will be introduced to and debate the challenges, opportunities, understandings and approaches to managing such issues as ageing populations, social inclusion, migration, unemployment, health, inequality, sustainability and resilience, drawing on the insights and experiences of public and third sector leaders from across the globe.

A key part of the programme is its vocational element which enables you to apply your acquired knowledge to real-life situations through project work linked to partner organisations. Throughout the course, you will be exposed to a wide variety of the challenges, issues and problems that individuals engaged in public administration face and you will be supported to develop a portfolio of project work tailored to your own interests and career aspirations.

  • Enhance your knowledge of decision making, policy analysis and implementation.
  • Benefit from the expertise of two schools: Sociology and Social Policy and Leeds University Business School.
  • Consider challenges faced on a global level to broaden your expertise.
  • Develop or strengthen the skills required for senior positions in public services across sectors.
  • Complete a portfolio of project work where you can apply the advanced skills and attributes developed across the programme.

Course content

Throughout the course, you will take a range of modules from across the three schools. One of the compulsory modules is the MPA Project Labs module which represents the vocational element of the course, designed to replace the traditional dissertation.

The MPA Project Labs will run across each semester, giving you the unique opportunity to conduct independently designed project work anchored in collaboration with a partner organisation, enabling you to apply the advanced skills and attributes developed across the programme. The module will be supported by workshops on public administration scenarios and challenges by academic leaders and guest speakers, including professionals and officials with different roles in the public and third sector; workshops on research and impact; problem-focused group work; and one-to-one project supervisions. You will be equipped with a depth and breadth of expertise and specialist skills valued by employers and commissioning bodies working in the public sector.

Course structure

The list shown below represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time.

Year 1

Compulsory modules

  • Social Policy Analysis
  • Policy and Programme Evaluation
  • Public Administration: Policy, Planning and Development in a Globalised World
  • MPA Project Labs

Optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

You will choose 60 credits from the below:

  • Risk Perception and Communication
  • Effective Decision Making
  • Human Resource Management: An International Perspective
  • Advanced Management Decision Making
  • Systems Thinking and Consulting Practice
  • Understanding and Managing Effective Groups and Teams
  • Internal Communications and Change Management
  • Financial Reporting and Analysis
  • Quantitative Research Methods
  • Inequalities: Exploring causes, Consequences and Interventions

125956_pexels-photo-288477.jpeg energepic / Pexels

Learning and teaching

We use various teaching methods including lectures, seminars, guest lectures and workshops from external speakers, problem-focused group work, and student-led debates.


Assessment methods are likely to vary, depending on the optional modules you choose. Most of our taught modules are assessed through written work such as essays and reporting.

Entry requirements

A bachelor degree (Hons) with a 2:1 or non-UK equivalent in social sciences, humanities or related discipline plus two years of work experience in a relevant area.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component.

Improve your English

International students who do not meet the English language requirements for this programme may be able to study our postgraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.

This pre-sessional course is designed with a progression route to your degree programme and you’ll learn academic English in the context of your subject area.

How to apply

Application deadlines

  • International – 30 June
  • UK/EU – 31 July

If you intend to apply for funding, you should submit an application for a place on your chosen course at least one month before any specific scholarship deadline.


See our website for the latest fee information.

Career opportunities

The MPA is recognised as the key professional qualification for those who wish to pursue or further a career in senior public service. The global perspectives and opportunities to apply your knowledge during this course will equip you with the critical thinking and professional skills needed for a successful and impactful career.

Graduates of this programme are likely to work in government departments, the third sector, and multi-national NGOs. Additionally, graduates may progress into the private sector and consulting firms that work closely with these areas.

Careers support

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate.

Last updated December 2019

About the School

Our wide range of research-informed courses encompass undergraduate, taught postgraduate and research degree programmes, as well as online and professional development courses.

Our wide range of research-informed courses encompass undergraduate, taught postgraduate and research degree programmes, as well as online and professional development courses. Read less