Flexible, interactive learning and teaching excellence
Studying this online Masters you will join a global learning community with peers working in similar organisations around the world, providing an opportunity to learn from diverse perspectives and make valuable additions to your global professional network.
The flexible design of the programme means that you can access programme content at any time and study around your work, family and private commitments. Because the online Master of Public Administration is delivered entirely online, you can study and complete it from anywhere in the world, without ever needing to visit campus.
You will learn from a highly experienced team with a global reputation for its teaching and research. The Department has received global recognition, including in 2021 when the University of York was ranked 22nd in the world for social policy and administration in the QS World University rankings.
What you will study
Studying the online MPA, you will explore three dimensions of public administration: the policy process, within which public services are developed; the organisational and human context through which public services are delivered; and the wider social, economic and political environment that shapes public service demands and constraints. Over the course of the programme you will grow as a competent and reflective practitioner, both in your current role, and in preparation for more demanding roles in the future.
Career opportunities and progression
This programme is aimed at 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 well-suited to those in private sector roles with a link to public policy and public management. The knowledge and skills that you will gain – in combination with a qualification from a prestigious Russell Group university – will help enable you to move into public service 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
- Ranked Top 20 in the UK (THE World University Rankings 2021)
- 22nd in the world for Social Policy and Administration (QS World University Rankings 2021)
- Top of the Russell Group for academic support (NSS 2020)
- Over 20,000 students and 4,000 staff from 150 countries
- Top 150 in the world (QS World University rankings 2021)
- Ranked 10th for research impact (Times Higher Education’s ranking of the most recent Research Excellence Framework)
- Students should normally have at least a 2:1 undergraduate degree or equivalent qualification and the professional experience outlined below.
- 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:
- IELTS: 6.5, with no less than 6.0 in each component
- PTE: 61, with no less than 55 in each component
- CAE and CPE (from January 2015): 176, with no less than 169 in each component
- TOEFL: 87, with a minimum of 21 in each component
- Trinity ISE: level 3 with Merit in all components
- Duolingo – minimum overall score of 115
You need to have completed the test within two 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 two years of your intended start date
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 & 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.
Regulation is an inevitable part of modern governance, not only where businesses undermine the principle of free market competition but also where, without intervention by state or non-state actors, it is not possible to deliver on elementary non-economic standards such as those relating to ensuring the minimum of social protection, safety and quality assurance. This module introduces you to the concept of regulation as a mode of governance, the key actors in the regulatory process and the range of instruments and strategies that can be employed in regulatory governance.
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 introduces you to the main themes, concepts and practices of strategic planning and management, equipping you with practical skills and providing you with opportunities to use these skills in work-based and case study scenarios. The module enables you to analyse and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of strategic planning in the public and not-for-profit sectors.
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.