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MPA Public Administration

Explore and engage with the services that the international public depends on.

Year of entry: 2024 (September)


1 year full-time,
2 years part-time

Start date

September 2024 (semester dates)

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This is a unique opportunity to study for a professional qualification designed to enrich your knowledge of international service delivery in government and non-profit organisations.

By exploring the critical issues that drive policies in government and on the ground, you’ll understand how they support people’s everyday needs in countries around the world.

Grow and define your career with this internationally recognised course that provides you with the knowledge and critical thinking to make a tangible difference, wherever you plan to take your career.

Spanning the discipline

From early modern political thought to contemporary international security, from the politics of gender to the politics of the environment, you can benefit from expertise on a huge range of topics

Experts on the global stage

Our staff advise governments and international organisations on a wide range of issues, and contribute to news media and current affairs programmes around the world

York is fantastic. It has great scenery, superb architecture, and the kindest people in the world. It's been an enriching experience studying Public Administration, which has taught me a lot about strategic planning, critical thinking and leadership skills, and satisfied my strong interests in the third sector, administration and policy implementation.
Yaqi, MPA Public Administration

Course content

This course will help you to approach key developments in public administration with a critical and creative mind to progress your practice to the next level.

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

  • core modules 
  • option modules 
  • independent policy report 

Some core modules, such as Managing Public Finances and Strategic Planning, will be delivered by the School for Business and Society, giving you a fresh perspective on these aspects of public administration.

Option modules cover a wide range of topics, from the politics of security to the politics of global trade, with both policy-based and theoretical approaches. The option modules allow you to explore your personal interests to a much greater depth.

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 will also study two option modules:

The options available to you will be confirmed later in the year. For further information, please get in touch.

Our modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff, and in line with Department/School academic planning.


During the summer term and vacation you will consolidate your interests in a 10,000-12,000-word policy report 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:

  • What Thailand can learn from the experience of the UK's National Health Service
  • Electronic Surveillance Policy in the United States: A Multiple Streams Analysis of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act
  • The cutbacks on television entertainment programmes Policy in China: a view on the policy formulation
  • Has stronger accountability improved educational achievement of students in K-12 public schools in the US? An evaluation of the impact of No Child Left Behind (2001)
  • Rewiring Public Services In The City of York: A Critical Analysis
  • A study of food policies for obesity prevention- Applicability of food-related tax to Korea
  • Research on the housing co-operative scheme as an alternative for affordable housing: Lessons from the United Kingdom and Sweden
  • How to reduce regional disparities in China: Lessons from European regional policies
  • A comparative study of underground systems in London and Beijing: What lessons can China learn?
  • Disappointment over the quality of England's graduate workforce: employers' fickleness or inherent cultural or systemic problem?
  • Evaluation of the third sector policy in Japan
  • Influence in a changing climate: INGOs and Network Governance in sub-Saharan Africa
  • What is the appropriate role of the federal government in solving America's present educational crisis?

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. (Substantive knowledge)
  • Use intellectual reasoning and systematic empirical testing to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of concepts specific to public policy and apply different theoretical perspectives. (Analytical skills and critical thinking)
  • Explain and demonstrate to audiences the application of public policy, drawing on an understanding of strategic planning and on appropriate skills and tools. (Communication and strategic skills)
  • Construct and clearly present persuasive and critical written reflections that effectively communicate sustained policy analysis to academic and policy-making audiences.
  • Undertake independent research on policy 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. (Research skills)
  • Engage with shared learning across several disciplines and develop an understanding of the values of tolerance, sustainability and inclusivity. (Professional skills).

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees for 2024/25

Study modeUK (home)International and EU
Full-time (1 year) £10,590£23,900
Part-time (2 years)
This is the year 1 fee. Fees for future years are subject to confirmation.

Students on a Student 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.

  • UK (home) fees may increase in subsequent years (up to a maximum of 2%).
  • International fees may increase in subsequent years in line with the prevailing Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation rate (up to a maximum of 10%).

Fees information

UK (home) or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK (home) or international student. Check your fee status.

Find out more information about tuition fees and how to pay them.

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.

Funding information

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

We'll confirm more funding opportunities for students joining us in 2024/25 throughout the year.

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

Funding opportunities

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.

Teaching format

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

Teaching location

You will be based in the Department of Politics and International Relations in Derwent College on Campus West. Over half of your teaching will be in Derwent College. The rest of your contact hours will be nearby on 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 submit six essays; three are submitted at the beginning of Spring Term and three at the beginning of Summer Term. Essays are usually around 4,000 words long. Your final Policy Report of between 10,000 - 12,000 words is submitted at the beginning of September.

We offer the opportunity to present your Policy Report at our research seminar presentation workshops. These are not formally assessed (not credit bearing), but they give you the chance to hone your presentation skills and to get verbal feedback from your tutors and peers.

Careers and skills

From social and political research to journalism, marketing and HR, a Masters in Public Administration leads to a broad range of career opportunities.

Our students have found work in central or local government, non-governmental organisations, community and voluntary organisations, social enterprise, higher education, accountancy and banking organisations, law firms, media companies and international and global development bodies.

Our students go on to careers in international organisations, the media, law, the civil service, politics, journalism and business.

This course is an excellent pathway to careers in a wide range of private and public sector organisations, and for further academic study in international relations and political science.

Career opportunities

  • Diplomatic services officer
  • Head of finance
  • Senior fundraiser
  • Service manager for impact and intelligence
  • Chief quality & finance officer for a charity
  • Business development officer

Transferable skills

  • Reflective independent learning
  • The ability to research, source and examine information thoroughly
  • The capacity to critically analyse evidence and construct coherent arguments
  • Excellent written and oratory skills
  • Intellectual independence and autonomy
  • Teamworking skills
  • A flexible and open-minded approach to work

Entry requirements

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:

Minimum requirement
IELTS (Academic and Indicator) 6.5, minimum 6.0 in each component
Cambridge CEFR B2 First: 176, with 169 in each component
Oxford ELLT 7, minimum of 6 in each component
Duolingo 120, minimum 105 in all other components
LanguageCert SELT B2 with 33/50 in each component
LanguageCert Academic 70 with a minimum of 65 in each component
KITE 459-494, with 426-458 in all other components
Skills for English B2: Merit overall, with Pass with Merit in each component
PTE Academic 61, minimum 55 in each component
TOEFL 87, minimum 21 in each component
Trinity ISE III Merit in all requirements

For more information see our postgraduate English language requirements.

If you haven't 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 English language test 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 online. 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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Next steps

Contact us

Get in touch if you have any questions

Dr. Matt Lesch

Learn more

Department of Politics and International Relations

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