The Master of Public Administration (MPA) is an internationally recognised professional postgraduate degree, which is a public sector equivalent to the Master of Business Administration (MBA).

You will find case studies on students and graduates of this course at the foot of this page.

This is the course entry for the academic year 2018/19.



Course Overview

The course is targeted primarily at public service and third sector professionals. The content is relevant to both international students and those based in the UK.

The aim of the MPA is to enable learners to build on their professional experience by engaging critically with, and reflecting on, key developments in public administration in order to more effectively deliver public service outcomes in a rapidly changing environment.

The course is based on a philosophy of transformational learning and transformational change. Central to this is the role of public services in promoting social justice and equality. International examples will be used to provide thought provoking challenges to the way our public services are designed and delivered. Rather than reflect today’s public services, the state and society, this MPA aims to shape the public service landscape of tomorrow.

This MPA offers an excellent student experience and includes an innovative ‘leadership exchange’ element, working with the Association of Chief Officers of Scottish Voluntary Organisations (ACOSVO), to enable all students to participate in an appropriate exchange within another public service organisation.

Exit Awards

MPA (180 credits)/ PgDip (120 credits)/ PgCert (60 credits)

Learning, Teaching and Assessment

The MPA offers options for both full-time and part-time study which will fit with busy working lives. This is a multidisciplinary course, with the purpose of preparing students for professional roles in the public sector. As such the delivery draws on academic expertise from a range of backgrounds such as administrative justice, public management and social policy. The input of research active academics will be complemented with expert guest speakers and visits to key public administration sites such as the Holyrood Parliament in Edinburgh, Houses of Parliament in London, Parlament de Catalunya in Barcelona and the European Parliament in Brussels. A series of academic development workshops are run alongside the taught modules to support students with academic writing and research methods.

Teaching Hours and Attendance

The amount of contact time will vary depending on whether you are studying on a part-time or full-time basis. Fulltime students attend sessions on two consecutive days per week and part-time students attend sessions on only one day per week. Sessions are usually scheduled on Thursdays and Fridays.

Links with Industry / Professional Bodies

The ‘leadership exchange’ element of the course is delivered in association with the Association of Chief Officers of Scottish Voluntary Organisations (ACOSVO). We are also an institutional member of the Joint University Council’s Public Administration Committee.


There is a range of core and optional modules from which you will need to complete 120 credits, plus the 60 credit dissertation module in order to complete the MPA. Module options include:

Core modules:

  • International Trends in Public Administration
  • Gender and Equalities
  • Leading Change in Public Services
  • Workplace Learning
  • Dissertation

Optional modules:

  • Law and Public Administration
  • Social Justice and Critical Perspectives on the State
  • Information Governance and Data Protection
  • Multi-level Governance in Europe
  • Strategic Internal Communications in a Digitalised World

The modules listed here are correct at the time of posting (September 17), but are subject to change. In the event that modules have to change, QMU will seek to use reasonable endeavours to ensure that there is no detrimental impact to students.

Single Modules for CPD

Register as an associate student to study single modules in areas of interest. Contact Ian Elliott for more information.

Discounts are available to employers sponsoring multiple students.


In Scotland 21% of the workforce is employed in the public sector. This does not include the many private and third sector organisations that help deliver vital public services. At a time of increasing pressure on public finances, it is increasingly important that all those who support the delivery of our public services continue to develop their professional skills and knowledge. This course supports those seeking to develop these skills.

Quick Facts

  • Innovative ‘leadership exchange’ will enable students to gain valuable experience of working in another public service organisation.
  • Variety of expert guest speakers and research-active academics.
  • Diverse learning activities and assessment methods.

Entry Requirements

A UK honours degree or equivalent and at least two years relevant experience. Applicants without a degree may also be considered if they can demonstrate that they have extensive work experience, skills and aptitude to achieve the award.

International: Where your honours degree has not been studied in English, you will be required to provide evidence of English language competence at no less than IELTS 6.5 with no individual component score less than 6.0.

Accreditation of prior learning: You may be granted exemption from studying a module or modules up to a maximum of 60 credit points, provided you can demonstrate successful achievement of all the learning outcomes. Graduates from the NHS Scotland PgCert Frontline Leadership and Management Development can gain advanced entry.

Application Deadline


More Information and Contacts

Admissions or Ian Elliott on tel: +44(0)131 474 0000.

Please Note:

The delivery of this course is subject to the terms and conditions set out in our 2018/19 Entry - Terms and Conditions (Postgraduate).

Course Overview

At QMU with additional support online
Full time: 1 year; Part time: 2.5 - 7 years
Start Date
September 2018
Study Abroad
School of Arts, Social Sciences and Management
Fees & Funding

Engage with the Team

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