Flexible learning to suit you
Because this postgraduate programme is taught and studied entirely online, you can study and complete it from anywhere in the world, with no need to ever visit campus.
The flexible design of the MPA programme is ideally suited to busy working professionals, with programme content accessed at the times that suit you. This enables you to study around full-time work, family and other life commitments. It also means that you can continue to work and earn, without needing to take a career break.
You will study in a collaborative online learning environment where you will interact with and learn from fellow professionals from similar fields based all over the world, representing a unique global networking opportunity.
You will be taught and guided by a highly skilled team with a global reputation for its teaching and research. In 2021, the University of York was ranked 22nd in the world for social policy and administration in the QS World University rankings, demonstrating the outstanding global credentials of the University in this field.
With six start dates a year, you’re not restricted to the traditional academic year and can begin your postgraduate study within weeks.
What you will study
Studying the online MPA Public Policy and Management, you will develop your capacity to help your organisation operate more effectively in the delivery and management of public services within challenging environments, as you gain an understanding of the requirements for ethical leadership and effective change management. The programme combines academic rigour with a practical focus, and throughout your studies you will be able to contrast the latest theoretical insights with real-world examples as well as your own professional experiences.
Advancing your career
This Master of Public Administration programme is for ambitious professionals working in the public or non-profit sector who aim to further develop their knowledge and skills in the field of public administration and public policy. It is also suitable for those in private sector roles with a link to public policy or public management. This professional development will help enable you to take on roles with higher degrees of leadership responsibility and strategic impact.
York MPA graduates go on to a wide range of roles, including in government, international NGOs and charities, the NHS, leading consultancies and accountancy firms, universities, banks, and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
- Part of the elite Russell Group of major research-intensive universities
- Top of the Russell Group for academic support (NSS 2020)
- Over 20,000 students and 4,000 staff from 150 countries
- Ranked 10th for research impact (Times Higher Education’s ranking of the most recent Research Excellence Framework)
- 18th overall in the Complete University Guide 2022
- University of the Year shortlisted (Times Higher Education Awards 2021)
- University of the Year shortlisted (The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022)
Entry requirements for home and international students:
- Students should normally have at least a 2:2 undergraduate degree and substantive professional experience.
- If they don't have experience of undergraduate study or only of a lower standard, the application may be considered if they have a suitable professional background, as outlined below.
- Students should have professional experience in the public policy/public service/public administration/international development field. This could be in roles in local or national government, or in non-governmental, intergovernmental or international organisations, the voluntary and charitable sector, and private sector roles which support or deliver public services or which interact with policy making. The extent of experience should be at least on an early career level, with some degree of involvement in organisational decision making or with a clear career path towards such responsibilities.
- If you earned your undergraduate 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.
- If English isn’t your first language you may need to provide evidence of your ability, such as:
- International English Language Testing System (IELTS): 6.5, with 6.0 in each component
- IELTS Indicator: 6.5, with 6.0 in each component
- TOEFL IBT (internet-based and special home edition): 87, with 21 in each component
- Trinity ISE: Level 3 with Merit in each component
- PTE Academic: 61, with 55 in each component
- Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE) and Cambridge Proficiency (CPE): 176, with 169 in each component
- GCSE: B / 6 or above
- Duolingo: 110, with 100 in each component
- LanguageCert B2 Communicator: High Pass with 33/50 in each component
You need to have completed the test within two and a half years of the start date of your programme. You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test.
- You will not need to provide evidence of your English language abilities:
- If you’re from a specified majority English-speaking country
- If you’ve completed a degree in English in a specified country within seven years of your intended start date
Comparative Social and Public Policy
Different countries face both different and similar problems that they seek to address by public and social policy interventions. This module introduces approaches to a comparative analysis of these similarities and differences, and thus provides you with insights into the complexity of policy making across nation-states.
Policy, Evidence and Advocacy
The role of evidence in the policy process has become a much debated issue, with concerns about the diminishing role of its relevance standing at odds with criticisms of technocratic governance. This module explores how evidence interacts with other key factors in policy making in the alleged era of ‘post-truth’, and looks into the ways in which policy actors such as advocacy groups use evidence to shape public policy.
Co-production and Democratisation of Public Services
Enabling citizens to influence policy decisions around public services and ensuring that the actual delivery of services meets the demands of users are critical objectives in a democratic society. This module explores the different facets of public service democratisation, including its benefits, obstacles and problems.
Ethical Social Leadership and Public Value
Social leadership is crucial for ensuring ethical conduct of organisations as well as for the pursuit of public value. This module introduces you to the importance of ethical social leadership, how it is developed, and how it can contribute to the pursuit of organisational ethics as well as wider public value.
Leading and Managing Change
This module explores the theory and practice of managing change in organisational contexts. The overall aim is to develop your capacity and confidence not only in initiating and responding to change, but in taking control of change situations, helping you to deal more effectively with change within your own organisation.
Policy Analysis for a Complex World
This module explores and analyses the complexity inherent in contemporary social and public policy development and reform. It critically examines the role of ideas, interests, institutions and actors in the policy process and explores the wider social, economic and political processes that shape contemporary policy making. It equips you with the conceptual and analytical tools to undertake advanced applied policy analysis in a range of local, national and international policy settings.
Decisions that governments make about public finance – the revenue they raise and how this revenue is allocated in the form of public spending – are one of the core functions of government. An appreciation of this function is crucial for a full understanding of the role of government and the management of public services. Studying this module, you will develop an understanding of public finance decision making, including an examination of tax avoidance and public debt as major contemporary challenges.
Public-Private Partnerships in Public Services
The delivery of many public services involves a partnership between the public and the private or voluntary sector, which creates both opportunities and challenges. This module unpacks these, and equips you with the knowledge and skills to critically evaluate public-private partnerships in their many guises.
Exploring Policy Research
Effective policy-making and public administration depend on good research. This module enables you to critically reflect on the strengths, limitations and appropriateness of different research approaches and techniques, and you acquire the skills needed to evaluate and commission research for public policy and administration contexts.
This module prepares you for your Independent Study Project. It outlines the requirements for this project, covers key advice for its successful completion, and provides support in developing a precise and detailed plan, enabling you to start effectively on your study project in the following term.
Independent Study Project
The Independent Study Project is designed to assess your ability to define and investigate a researchable question or thesis, drawing on academic knowledge and skills acquired during your studies as well as your own professional experiences and practice.