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MPA Public Administration - International Development

Examine the services and organisations that are helping to establish developing countries across the world.

Year of entry: 2020/21


1 year full-time,
2 years part-time

Start date

September 2020 (term dates)

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By investigating how policy is made, from development to deployment, and identifying the challenges that lie in public organisations throughout developing countries, you'll be able to provide solutions that make a difference.

From leadership and strategy to performance and human resources, this course will help you build a set of highly sought-after skills that will prepare you for managerial roles in the developing world. Our graduates have gone on to work for development charities, parliament and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, as well as many other international organisations, both public and private.

You'll be taught by academics at the forefront of research across a number of political areas such as conflict, security and development, political economy, international politics, political theory and public policy.

Leading research

We're ranked eighth in Times Higher Education’s ranking of the 2014 Research Excellence Framework results.

International experts

Our staff advise governments and organisations globally and regularly contribute to news and current affairs programmes.

Course content

You'll study 180 credits in total. The course consists of:

  • four core modules (20 credits each)
  • two option modules (20 credits each)
  • independent policy report (60 credits)

Option modules cover a wide range of topics, from the politics of the poor and governance and public management to governing for the environment, allowing you to explore your personal interests to a much greater depth.

Two core modules, Managing Public Finances and Strategic Planning, will be delivered by the York Management School, giving you a fresh perspective on the topics and a more interdisciplinary outlook on international development.

Taught modules will run throughout the Autumn and Spring Terms, with the policy report being completed during the Summer Term and vacation.


Core modules

Option modules

You'll choose two further 20-credit modules from a wide range of choices. This selection will allow you to develop expertise in the areas that you feel most passionate about.

Please note, modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.


During the summer term and vacation you will consolidate your interests in a 10,000-12,000 word policy report (60 credits) on a topic of your choice.

You'll have regular meetings with your assigned policy report advisor, who will help guide you through the process and support you in the exploration of your chosen topic. You'll also have the opportunity to present your policy report at our research seminar presentation workshops.

Previous policy report titles include:

  • The relationship between U.S. government donors and international non-profit organisations: A comparative analysis of the George W Bush and Barack Obama administrations
  • Challenges of Public Administration reform in Afghanistan on corruption and development in Afghanistan
  • Understanding China’s policy towards Africa, its impact and policy implications
  • ProÁrbol: achieving sustainable development in Mexico through the Payment for Environmental Services (PES)
  • A comparative study of health care systems in Brazil, India and China: what lessons can China learn?

The York approach

Every course at York is built on a distinctive set of learning outcomes. These will give you a clear understanding of what you will be able to accomplish at the end of the course and help you explain what you can offer employers. Our academics identify the knowledge, skills, and experiences you'll need upon graduation and then design the course to get you there.

Students who complete this course will be able to:

  • Identify and understand the critical issues that drive policy-making by looking at how policies are managed, implemented, monitored and evaluated
  • Use intellectual reasoning and systematic empirical testing to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of concepts specific to public policy and apply different theoretical perspectives from international development
  • Explain and demonstrate to academic audiences the application of public policy and international development concepts, drawing on an understanding of strategic planning and on appropriate skills and tools
  • Construct and clearly present persuasive and critical written reflections (essays and policy report) that effectively communicate sustained policy analysis to academic audiences
  • Undertake independent research on policy and international development related topics by: conceiving and operationalising research questions; building on specialist expertise in public policy; using relevant concepts and tools to gather and interpret policy data; and draw appropriate conclusions and policy recommendations
  • Engage with shared learning across several disciplines and develop an understanding of the values of tolerance, sustainability and inclusivity
I really feel that after doing the MPA-ID I have the foundation and the confidence to be a positive influence in the field.
Rebecca, MPA Public Administration - International Development

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees for 2020/21

Study modeUK/EUInternational
Full-time (1 year) £8,040£18,240
Part-time (2 years)
This is the year 1 fee. Fees for future years are subject to confirmation.

Students on a Tier 4 Visa are not currently permitted to study part-time at York.

For courses which are longer than one year, the tuition fees quoted are for the first year of study. Fees for subsequent years are subject to increase (no more than 2% each year).

Additional costs

You may incur some additional expenses for books, but these costs are optional as most of the texts you'll need are available in the University library. If the resources you need aren't available, you can borrow via inter-library loans and order new books to our library for free.

Fees information

UK/EU or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK/EU or international student.

Funding information

Discover your funding options to help with tuition fees and living costs.

If you've successfully completed an undergraduate degree at York you could be eligible for a 10% Masters fee discount.

Home/EU students

International students

Living costs

You can use our living costs guide to help plan your budget. It covers additional costs that are not included in your tuition fee such as expenses for accommodation and study materials.

Teaching and assessment

You’ll work with world‐leading academics who’ll challenge you to think independently and excel in all that you do. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities, and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): changes to courses

We're making changes to comply with rules on social distancing. We aim to deliver as much face-to-face teaching as we can, supported by high quality online alternatives where we must.

Find details of the measures we're planning to protect our community.

Course changes for new students

Teaching format

You'll learn through a combination of lectures, seminars and one-to-one supervision. We take a personal approach to learning, with much of our teaching conducted in small groups.

Teaching location

The Department of Politics is located in Derwent College, on Campus West. Most teaching takes place in Derwent College seminar rooms and at other locations across Campus West.

About our campus

Our beautiful green campus offers a student-friendly setting in which to live and study, within easy reach of the action in the city centre. It's easy to get around campus - everything is within walking or pedalling distance, or you can always use the fast and frequent bus service.

Assessment and feedback

You'll submit six essays of around 4,000 words: three at the beginning of Spring Term and three at the beginning of Summer Term. Your final policy report will be submitted at the beginning of September.

Careers and skills

The skills you'll acquire through the study of public administration and international development will leave you well prepared for further study or work in a wide range of sectors, from social and political research to journalism, marketing and HR.

Career opportunities

Recent graduates have gone on to work for a large variety of organisations:

  • Civil Service/Home Office/House of Commons
  • United Nations
  • Foreign and Commonwealth Office
  • NHS
  • Professional services/Accountancy firms - notably PwC, EY, KPMG
  • Joseph Rowntree Foundation
  • Oxfam
  • Barclays
  • Universities
  • IBM
  • Development charities including the International Committee of the Red Cross

Transferable skills

  • The ability to research, source and examine information thoroughly
  • Analytical skills
  • Critical thinking
  • Excellent written and oratory skills
  • Intellectual independence and autonomy
  • Teamworking skills
  • A flexible and open-minded approach to work

Entry requirements

Qualification Typical offer
Undergraduate degree 2:1 or equivalent. We are willing to consider applicants with lower qualifications, particularly if you have high marks in relevant modules and/or appropriate professional experience. Additional information may be requested.
Other international qualifications Equivalent qualifications from your country

English language

If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. We accept the following qualifications:

Qualification Minimum requirement
IELTS 6.5, minimum 6.0 in each component
PTE Academic 61, minimum 55 in each component
C1 Advanced and C2 Proficiency 176, minimum 169 in each component
TOEFL 87, minimum 21 in each component
Trinity ISE III Merit in all requirements
Duolingo Minimum overall score of 110

For more information see our postgraduate English language requirements.

If you've not met our English language requirements

You may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English language courses. These courses will provide you with the level of English needed to meet the conditions of your offer.

The length of course you need to take depends on your current IELTS scores and how much you need to improve to reach our English language requirements.

After you've accepted your offer to study at York, we'll confirm which pre-sessional course you should apply to via You@York.


You can apply and send all your documentation electronically through our online system. You don’t need to complete your application all at once: you can start it, save it and finish it later.

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Department of Politics

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