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Public Administration

MPA ( 1 year Full-time )


Applications are closed from 17-23 September 2018 and will reopen on Monday 24 September 2018.

The Queen Mary Master of Public Administration (MPA) reflects our understanding of the vital importance of public sector management and our special expertise in providing management education to governments and the public services. In recent years, Queen Mary has made major investments in expanding our academic expertise in public management and policy. These investments have made the university a major international centre for public management education and research on public services and public policy.

Internationally, the demand for MPAs has increased during the last ten years. The effect of the global economic crisis has increased the demand for public managers who understand how to respond to imperatives for greater value for money, improved performance management and stronger financial accountability, and who appreciate the complex trade-offs involved in policy implementation.

This programme will:

  • Use a comparative approach to looking at countries; the course examines global and other supra-national tiers of governing
  • Look at both services and policy making: the Queen Mary MPA is a fully integrated programme covering public management from street level through to the headquarters of an international organisation
  • Emphasise the political context shaping public management
  • Enhance your career prospects, in any field of public management, nationally and internationally.

Why study your Master of Public Administration at Queen Mary?

The School of Business and Management has built a strong reputation for our distinctive approach, in particular our focus on the interdisciplinary nature of business and management.

We concentrate on developing your communication and presentation skills, as well as your ability to offer insightful analysis and creative thinking. We draw on a long history of human thought, working on the principle that a truly practical business education teaches you to think beyond textbooks, management fads, and memorised formulas for success.

A Master’s degree in Public Administration is internationally recognised and sought after by international organisations, by national government departments and agencies, local authorities, regulatory bodies and involuntary bodies and firms which provide public services. It is the professional qualification that leaders and ambitious staff often have who work in making policy and advising policymakers, in running public services and in regulating those organisations which provide those services.

An MPA is an inter-disciplinary programme combining management, policy sciences, organisation studies and economics (among others) to enable public managers to enrich and deepen their understanding of their work.

  • Our programme is practical: you will learn concepts, frameworks and theories but we use these to focus on how public managers solve practical problems and strike trade-offs in difficult dilemmas which they face in running services and supporting policymaking
  • The Queen Mary approach is level-headed, sceptical and concentrates on evidence. We don't teach you management fads or trendy notions and we don't make a cult of techniques. You will learn to interrogate the evidence supporting arguments and techniques in public management and to think through the political constraints within which public managers can innovate
  • You will have unrivalled access to leading politicians and public service managers, as a result of our close contacts with national and local government in the UK. As well as being taught by academics, you will hear from practising senior managers in British government and public services who regularly come to Queen Mary and who give guest lectures on many of our MPA modules
  • You will enjoy access to the staff and resources of a world-class university and an internationally renowned business school
  • You will have opportunities to use project work throughout the course and especially at the dissertation stage to contribute to your own organisation.


Students will have full access to the Management Schools resources including datasets and accounting resources relevant to this programme. Students will use QMplus (our online learning environment) to access their reading lists, lecture slides, discussion forums and assessment. On arrival students will have a bespoke induction programme of activities and dedicated administrative support.

A highlight of this programme is specific Continuous Professional Development (CPD) for MPA students, designed to enhance skills and employability. Some sessions are provided by well-known external contributors and some by our own specialist in-house Management Learning team. For example, we run special workshops for MPA students in negotiating and bargaining skills, and joint inter-agency working which include professional development planning.

You will have access to postgraduate only facilities which include the Lock-keeper's Cottage Graduate Centre dedicated solely to the use of graduate students with the use of a common room and interdisciplinary training workshops. The Learning Resource centre has 200 networked PCs with dedicated workstations for postgraduate students.

You will also have access to Queen Mary’s comprehensive libraries, including the Postgraduate Reading Room, and The British Library can also be accessed as a research resource.


The MPA is currently available for one year full-time study.

You will study five modules which are compulsory, and choose three of our other modules, and then you will finish the degree by undertaking a research project from which you will write a 12,500 word dissertation. There are no examinations for the MPA. Instead, we use assessed coursework assignments, which you will write each semester for each module.

Compulsory modules:

Semester 1

Compulsory modules:

Semester 2

Core module:

(A core module must be taken and passed. A compulsory module must be taken.)

Semester 2

Three elective modules:

Note: The modules are correct at the time of reading.  Information based upon modules offered during the 2018-2019 academic year.  However we constantly review and update our modules,

           meaning that they may be subject to change in the future.

Entry requirements

We are looking for people at any stage in their career who are thoughtful, intellectually curious, hard-working, ambitious and serious about developing their understanding of public management.

You must have a 2-1 or equivalent grade from your first degree, from a recognised university.

If your first language is not English, then we do require that you demonstrate a score of IELTS 7.0 overall with 6.0 in writing.

You will normally have three years’ working experience, typically in the public services or in a private company or voluntary organisation which provides public services or which provides consultancy to public authorities. Commonly, you will be a junior or middle manager, or perhaps you may be a professional who wants to move into managerial work.  However, we will consider applications from people with experience in commercial or charitable work who plan to switch their career direction toward public management. In exceptional cases, we can waive the requirement for three years’ working experience.

International applicants:

Students from outside of the UK help form a global community here at Queen Mary. For detailed country specific entry requirements please visit the International section of our website. If your first language is not English, you must provide evidence of your English language proficiency. Find details on our English language entry requirements

If you do not meet language or scholarly requirements it might be possible for you to undertake foundation or pre-sessional programmes that will prepare you for the masters programme.

For more information, please contact the Admissions Office.

A good upper second class honours degree or equivalent in any subject.  Some basic quantitative skills and some elementary prior knowledge of accounting would be an advantage. IELTS 7.0 (with 6.0 in writing) or equivalent is required.

Learning and teaching

Undertaking a Masters programme is a serious commitment, with weekly contact hours being in addition to numerous hours of independent learning and research needed to progress at the required level. When coursework or examination deadlines are approaching your independent learning hours may need to increase significantly.

Learning and Teaching:

Teaching is by research-oriented staff (complemented where appropriate by visiting lecturers with professional expertise), who will combine professional knowledge of their subject with a critical attitude to its delivery. Students therefore work in ac hallenging, supportive environment.

Each module has an outline description, giving the aims, expected learning outcomes, assessment methods, outline syllabus and indication of primary reading.

Several modules will feature guest lectures from practitioners in senior roles in the public services. We shall also run a series of seminars at which external speakers who are current or recently former senior public servants will give presentations and engage in discussion on contemporary public management issues. These seminars will be associated strongly with the MPA but will be open to people from across the university with interests in public management, so that MPA students will have the chance to make valuable contacts in other schools (e.g., Politics, the Global Health Policy and Innovation Unit in the School of Medicine, Economics and Finance, the Mile End Group and others from History).

A programme of continuous professional development (CPD) will be run for MPA students. External contributors will be important providers of many of the sessions. We plan to invite Professor Les Metcalfe, Emeritus Professor at Bocconi, to offer sessions on negotiation and bargaining skills.

A key part of our CPD programme will be a “Dragon’s Den” of senior serving and former public managers who will hear and judge proposals developed by teams of MPA students for public management innovations, reforms and developments in practice. We shall invite senior civil servants, local authority chief officers, chief constables, regulators, etc, to be our “dragons”. This will replicate a scheme which works very successfully at Harvard on their MPA programme.

Independent Study:

For every hour spent in classes you will be expected to complete further hours of independent study. Your individual study time could be spent preparing for, or following up on formal study sessions; reading; producing written work; completing projects; and revising for examinations.

The direction of your individual study will be guided by the formal study sessions you attend, along with your reading lists and assignments. However, we expect you to demonstrate an active role in your own learning by reading widely and expanding your own knowledge, understanding and critical ability.

Independent study will foster in you the ability to identify your own learning needs and determine which areas you need to focus on to become proficient in your subject area. This is an important transferable skill and will help to prepare you for the transition to working life.


There are no examinations for the MPA. Instead, we use assessed coursework assignments, which you will write each semester for each module.


You will also be assessed on a supervised 12,500-word dissertation.


Tuition fees for Home and EU students

2019/20 Academic Year

Full time £13,750
Part time £6,900
Part-time study is not available for this course

Tuition fees for International students

2019/20 Academic Year

Full time £20,500
Part time £10,250
Part-time study is not available for this course


There are a number of sources of funding available for Masters students.

These include a significant package of competitive Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) bursaries and scholarships in a range of subject areas, as well as external sources of funding.

Queen Mary bursaries and scholarships

We offer a range of bursaries and scholarships for Masters students including competitive scholarships, bursaries and awards, some of which are for applicants studying specific subjects.

Find out more about QMUL bursaries and scholarships.

Alternative sources of funding

Home/EU students can apply for a range of other funding, such as Professional and Career Development Loans, and Employer Sponsorship, depending on their circumstances and the specific programme of study.

Overseas students may be eligible to apply for a range of external scholarships and we also provide information about relevant funding providers in your home country on our country web pages.

Download our Postgraduate Funding Guide for detailed information about postgraduate funding options for Home/EU students.

Read more about alternative sources of funding for Home/EU students and for Overseas students.

Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 5079

Other financial help on offer at Queen Mary

We offer one to one specialist support on all financial and welfare issues through our Advice and Counselling Service, which you can access as soon as you have applied for a place at Queen Mary.

Our Advice and Counselling Service also has lots of Student Advice Guides on all aspects of finance including:

Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 8717



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