Postgraduate Taught

Master of Public Administration (MPA)

This course is no longer available for entry in 2018. You may wish to consider applying for our one of our other postgraduate programmes.

This MPA is for anyone who is interested or motivated by public service. It has been designed to fit around busy working and family lives and available both full and part-time. A range of optional modules allow you to tailor your study to your needs and interests. You will find case studies on students and graduates of this course at the foot of this page.

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

Check out the bottom of the page for case studies and staff profiles.






Why QMU?

  • A range of optional modules allow you to tailor your study to your needs and interests.
  • Students will benefit from diverse learning opportunities such as guest speakers and site visits.
  • The course attracts renowned visiting professors and guest speakers.


Course overview

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

The course is for anyone who is interested in, and motivated by, public service. It is designed to enable you to build on your existing personal and professional experience by engaging critically with, and reflecting on, key developments in public administration so that you can more effectively deliver public service outcomes in a rapidly changing environment. The content will be relevant to both UK and international students.

The MPA 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 course aims to help you address issues of effective leadership, responding to change and equality impact so that you can shape the public service landscape of tomorrow.

The MPA offers an excellent student experience, where you are empowered to develop the course to better suit your needs and personal and professional interests. You will have the opportunity to participate in an innovative ‘leadership exchange’ or mentoring programme, working with the Association of Chief Officers of Scottish Voluntary

Voluntary Organisations (ACOSVO), that will provide you with an insight into working within another public service organisation. The input of leading practitioners from the third sector and local and national government, along with field trips to key public administration sites ensures that learning is informed by current events and contemporary practice.


To obtain a specific postgraduate award at QMU you must complete a number of credit bearing modules. You can opt to study for the full MPA, a PgDip, or a PgCert. You can also register as an associate student to complete a single module for CPD. On completion of a single module, you may wish to complete further modules and progress your studies to a named award.


Teaching, learning and assessment

This is a multidisciplinary course with the purpose of preparing you for professional roles in the public or third sectors. 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, Parliament de Catalunya in Barcelona and the European Parliament in Brussels. You will attend lectures and seminars, work in groups and carry out independent learning. You will participate in discussions, develop ideas and engage with experiential learning. Assessment methods include management reports, essays, web-based discussions, reflections on practice and group work with presentations. A series of academic development workshops are also run alongside taught modules to support students with academic writing and research methods.

You will be able to tailor a number of assessments to align with your personal and professional goals, and you can choose to research a specific topic on public administration as part of the MPA Dissertation.


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. Full-time students attend sessions on two days per week and part-time students attend sessions on only one day per week. Additionally, up to two elective modules can be studied online to reduce the requirement for on-campus attendance.


Links with industry / professional bodies

The ‘leadership exchange’ element of the programme 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.



  • International Trends in Public Administration
  • Leading Change in Public Services
  • Gender and Equalities
  • Workplace Learning
  • Plus two optional modules*
  • Dissertation (MPA only)

* Choose from a range of modules, covering communications, conflict resolution, finance and human resources, to suit your goals and interests.

The modules listed here and placement information is subject to validation at time of posting (April 2018) and may differ slightly to those offered in 2019. Please check the website for any updates


Single modules for CPD

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



In Scotland, 21% of the workforce is employed in the public sector, and this does not include the many private and third sector organisations that help to deliver vital public services. The MPA qualification is recognised around the world, and will help you to stand out when applying for jobs within the public and third sectors.

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, knowledge and networks. Studying on the MPA will allow you to develop a greater awareness of public administration, understand the impact of politics on policy making and implementation, and appreciate the importance of collaborative working.

Completing the MPA could help to provide you with a personal sense of achievement, gain recognition for your knowledge and experience, and help enhance your career opportunities. The MPA could also be used as a stepping stone to further doctoral study at QMU, and successful completion of the MPA could count towards achieving the award of Doctor of Public Administration (DPA).


Entry requirements

Standard: A UK honours degree or equivalent. At least two years relevant experience would be advantageous, although not absolutely necessary provided that you are motivated by public service. 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.

Key details

Exit awards: MPA (180 credits)/ PgDip (120 credits)/ PgCert (60 credits)

Single module study: Register as an associate student to study single modules in areas of interest. Contact the named academic below for further information.

Delivery: Online. A short campus-based element is available for those who wish to qualify as mediators.

Duration: 1 year full-time OR 2-7 years part-time

Start date: September

Application deadline: None

Application: Follow the ‘apply now’ link at the top of the page

Awarding body: QMU

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).

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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

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