Master of Public Administration (Part-time/ 2 ½ years)

Steven McCabe, from Stirling, had previously studied an undergraduate law degree and a postgraduate diploma in Housing Studies, before embarking on the MPA at Queen Margaret University. When he enrolled on the Master’s programme, he was working as the Service Co-ordinator with the homelessness and housing team at Stirling Council. Studying the MPA on a part-time basis, has helped Steven enhance his understanding of the wider public sector and assisted in him progressing his career. He has now taken up a new role as Policy Manager with the Scottish Government.  

Steven tells us more about his student journey and how the MPA has impacted his career.

I was looking for a course that would build on my previous qualifications and work experience, as well as increase my understanding of the issues facing public sector professionals and how to best overcome these and deliver high quality public services. This was part of my continuing personal development through my job, but I also wanted to study a course that would allow me to progress in my career as well. Initially I considered studying an MBA, but the direct relevance of the MPA to my work, along with the course focus on social justice and equality really attracted me to study at QMU instead. The fact that the MPA was a taught course, with weekly classes where students could learn from each other’s experiences and engage with each other was a major factor in me choosing to study the MPA at QMU. The programme leader’s knowledge and understanding of the issues facing the public sector was another reason for making this course selection.

There is a level of commitment required to study the MPA, and the workload at times has been quite high, especially as I’ve been working full-time as well as studying. It has been stressful at times, especially when I’ve had really busy periods at work and there’s been assignments due for the course, however, it’s never been completely overwhelming and the level of support, from both tutors and other students, has been fantastic. There’s a real togetherness and camaraderie between students on the course, with the part-time students especially understanding the pressures we’re all facing whilst juggling full time work with study. Through the course we’ve all supported each other, ensuring that we’re all coping with the demands of the course. We regularly chat outside of university if we have anything we’re unsure of. The course really has been a great way to network and make new friends!

The tutors on the course are all extremely knowledgeable and happy to spend time with you if you have any additional questions or need help or support. This will be my third university degree and the overall learning environment on the MPA at QMU has by far been the most supportive, engaging and inclusive that I’ve experienced. The course is constantly evolving and improving, with the tutors and the course director especially taking a real interest in the thoughts and needs of students. There have been numerous changes to the course in the two years that I’ve studied the MPA that have been made after suggestions or comments from students. There are regular tutor/student meetings to discuss what could be improved upon or what’s working well, and feedback is always well received and fully considered. Students on the MPA have a strong voice and can directly influence how the course is delivered.

There is also the opportunity for students to go on a fully-funded (well, apart from beer money!) field-trip to Brussels, as part of the MPA. This really brought students and course tutors together as a group, and had a real positive impact on how we supported each other and learnt from each other. There was an important practical element to the trip as well, with it being a great opportunity to see how the things that we’ve been taught in class were being applied in the European Parliament. The field-trip definitely enhanced the engagement and understanding I had of the concepts that we learnt about during classes.

The course has absolutely equipped me with additional skills and knowledge which have been directly applicable in my job. The course also has a focus on improving students’ leadership skills, with students undertaking a leadership exchange through ACOSVO as part of this. I feel, quite strongly, that my performance at work was improved by studying on the course, and becoming aware of wider issues in public administration that I perhaps might not have been aware of prior to studying the MPA. I’ve also been lucky enough to have progressed to a new job while studying on the course, and have just started a job as a Policy Manager with the Scottish Government. I can honestly say that the MPA definitely helped me develop my career and played a part in me getting the job. 

Life after graduation

What are your future plans in terms of career/ charity work/ further study?

For now I’m focusing on applying what I’ve learnt on the course in a practical setting in my new job. I’m also about to take on a role as a trustee with a local third sector organisation. Based on my positive experience of studying the MPA, I might be tempted back into academia at some point in the future to do a PhD!

 

"The course has absolutely equipped me with additional skills and knowledge which have been directly applicable in my job. .....I’ve also been lucky enough to have progressed to a new job while studying on the course, and have just started a job as a Policy Manager with the Scottish Government. I can honestly say that the MPA definitely helped me develop my career and played a part in me getting the job."
Steven McCabe

'Step Ahead' with QMU by finding out about the Master of Public Administration 

https://www.qmu.ac.uk/study-here/postgraduate-study/2018-postgraduate-courses/master-of-public-administration-mpa/

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Master of Public Administration

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