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Home>Study at York>Postgraduate>Courses>Public Administration (MPA)

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


1 year full-time,
2 years part-time

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.

Public Administration is a fascinating subject area. I'm interested mainly in how policies are designed and implemented, the impact they have on society and why some policies succeed or fail.
Lisa, MPA Public Administration

Course content What you’ll study


The programme promotes shared learning across the public, private and non-profit sectors, within an international context. Five core modules will illuminate many of the key themes that drive the delivery and management of services, while a Policy Report provides the chance to refine your learning in an area that appeals to you.

The course helps 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 five core modules:

Plus, one optional module from a range of subjects:

Our choice of modules let's you focus on and develop expertise, in an area that you feel most passionate about.



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

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?
Our expertise spans the discipline – from early modern political thought to contemporary international security, from post-conflict development to global financial governance, from the politics of gender to the politics of the environment.

Teaching and assessment How you’ll be taught and assessed

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.

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. As international experts in their field, our staff advise governments and organisations globally and regularly contribute to news and current affairs programmes. Our expertise and experience feed directly into our teaching. 


You submit six essays; three are submitted at the end of the Autumn term and three at the end of the Spring 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 assessesed (not credit bearing), but they give you the chance to hone your presentation skills and to get verbal feedback from your tutors and peers.

We are ranked eighth in the UK in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, confirming York’s standing as a centre of world-leading and internationally excellent research, with major global and national impact.

Careers Where you’ll go from here

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

You might find yourself working for:

  • Central or local government
  • Non-governmental organisations
  • Community and voluntary organisations
  • A Social enterprise
  • A university
  • Accountancy and banking orgs
  • Law firms
  • Media companies
  • International and global development bodies / organisations.

Career opportunities

Recent graduates work for the police, in government relations and for leading international charities.Popular employers also include:

  • Local councils
  • Civil Service / Home Office/ House of Commons
  • UN
  • 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

  • Reflective independent learnng
  • 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 How to get here

Course entry

Eligible applicants have, or are soon to complete, a Bachelors degree at 2:1 or above. We are willing to consider applications from students with lower qualifications, particularly when the student has high marks in relevant modules/ or appropriate professional experience. If you are applying with a lower qualification, you must include a written work sample with your application.

If you are unsure about your eligibility, or want to enquire informally about whether this course would be suitable for you, please contact us.


You can apply and send all your documentation electronically with our online system, which allows you to save progress and return later to finish.

Applying for postgraduate study

Start your online application

International options

If you earned your Bachelors degree outside of the UK, you should check that it is equivalent to a 2:1. Our country-specific pages can help you to find out.

English language

Applicants whose first language is not English may need to satisfy language requirements.

The Department of Politics has a higher minimum level than the University more generally because of the more difficult nature of the literature that Politics students must engage with. The departmental requirements are:

IELTS: 6.5 (with a minimum of 6.0 in each component)

The University accepts other evidence of English language attainment; please see the Postgraduate Admissions web pages.

Enquire Contact our admissions tutor if you have any questions

Next steps

Apply now