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Master of Public Administration (MPA)

Course Description

- 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 across all modules.

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). 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.

Teaching, learning 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.

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.

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:
International Trends in Public Administration/ Gender and Equalities/ Leading Change in Public Services/ Workplace Learning/ Law and Public Administration/ Social Justice and Critical Perspectives on the State/ Information Governance and Data Protection/ Multilevel Governance in Europe.


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. Our public services programmes support those seeking to develop these skills.

Visit the Master of Public Administration (MPA) page on the Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Kirsty Markie

When I started the course, I was working in local government for City of Edinburgh Council, so I was able to combine part time studies with my work commitments. I decided to complete the programme part time over three years and found that the quality of teaching and support I received at QMU was fantastic.

Half way through my studies I was successful in getting a place on the prestigious Civil Service Fast Stream Programme. My QMU qualification, along with my MA, definitely helped set me apart in my application to the Fast Stream.

As part of the Fast Stream, I’ve just come back from London, where I spent six months working in the Department for Business Innovation and Skills leading the department’s work on the European Data Protection Regulation. In March next year I will begin a five month posting in the European Commission in Brussels.

If you’re having doubts about whether you can work full time and study, I’m just one example that you can do it. Choosing to study at QMU was well worth it and I’m really proud of what I’ve achieved.


QMU International Scholarships - No. of awards TBC

The University has a number of scholarships available for September 2016 start courses. We are pleased to offer competitive scholarships of £3,000 each for new international students undertaking their first year of study on an undergraduate or postgraduate degree in the academic year 2016-17. The scholarship is granted as a reduction of the tuition fee and is available to students who are self-funding with an international tuition fee of more than £9,000 for a single year of study only.

Value of Scholarship(s)



Applications can be made by students who have received an offer of a place of study at the University.

Application Procedure

The closing date for the final round of applications is 31st March 2016 at midnight (GMT).

Further Information



Santander Scholarships - No. of awards TBC

Queen Margaret University has limited number of Santander Scholarships will be available in 2016-17, up to the value of £5,000. Please note that if you have already applied for a QMU Scholarship, we will also consider you for a Santander Scholarship and vice versa - there is no need to re-apply or to apply for both.

Value of Scholarship(s)

Up to £5,000


Applications can be made by students who have received an offer of a place of study at the University.

Application Procedure

The closing date for the final round of applications is 31 March 2016 at midnight (GMT).


Saltire Scholarships - 20+ Awards

Under Scotland's Saltire Scholarships scheme, 200 awards are available for one year of study on an undergraduate, Masters or PhD course to students from Canada, China, India and the USA.This is part of the Scottish Government's continuing support for the 'brightest and best' students to come and study in Scotland.

Value of Scholarship(s)



Applications can be made by students who have received an offer of a place of study at the University.

Application Procedure

The deadline for submission of completed Saltire Scholarship applications is published within the link below.

Further Information


Entry Requirements

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

Course Fees

£6,500 (SCOT/RUK/EU); £12,000 (International)

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Recipient: Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh

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