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The Master of Public Administration at Exeter is designed to help you meet the challenge of shaping and delivering effective public services.

The Exeter MPA takes an international perspective to equip you with the skills and understanding you need to operate effectively in an increasingly global and constantly changing environment.

You will have the opportunity to benefit from the latest ideas on public policy, administration and regulation while learning alongside practitioners working in a variety of roles and organisations from the UK and overseas.

The MPA is relevant whether you are working in local, regional, or central government, or for a charity or public-private partnership. It addresses some of the key issues facing the public sector such as effective leadership, financial crisis management, anticipating and responding to change, performance management, governance and ethical practice, risk and decision-making and sustainability.

The MPA is run by the Department of Politics with expertise from senior civil servants and leading financial consultants. It draws on the work of academics who have an impressive reputation for research and whose ideas are published around the world. We have a long history of working with ministries and national governments, and members of our team have advised organisations such as the United Nations, World Bank, European Commission, the Department of Work and Pensions, the OECD and the Treasury.

Our programme is modular with excellent online resources. While equipping you with core skills, the MPA will provide you with the opportunity to research and seek solutions to issues and challenges you face in the workplace. The involvement of leading practitioners from the public sector, together with real world case studies, will make sure learning is relevant and informed by best practice.

The University of Exeter is a supplier of MPA qualifications through the Crown Commercial Service (formerly Buying Solutions), the national procurement partner for UK public services and has been rigorously assessed for quality and value for money.

Candidates for the MPA with Applied Study must have proof of employment in and sponsorship from a public sector organisation. Entry to this programme will be agreed between the University and the sponsoring organisation.

Programme structure

The Exeter MPA consists of a mixture of two core modules which provide the theoretical foundation for the degree; four optional modules enabling you to specialise in areas of interest; and a dissertation involving a piece of original research on a subject of your choice. There is the flexibility to take 30 credits outside of the programme in a relevant subject.

The programme comprises 180 credits in total.

Please note it is possible for modules to change to reflect new ideas or to meet student demand, so check our website for the latest details.

In addition to registration for the full MPA (180 credits) it is possible to register on this programme on a modular basis. If a student passes the two core modules plus one of the directed modules (60 credits), the award of Postgraduate Certificate of Public Administration may be awarded. If a student passes the two core modules plus four of the directed modules (120 credits), a Postgraduate Diploma of Public Administration may be awarded.

Learning and teaching

Based on an ethos of active learning through interactive teaching and learning methods, it aims to encourage the link between theory and real life practice.

Depending on your choice of options, either the majority or your entire course will be delivered in intensive teaching blocks.

Intensive modules will consist of:

  • Preparation period of one week (guided readings and preparatory research)
  • 3-4 days of intensive seminars, lectures/talks and workshops
  • Post-teaching period (reflection, task completion, preparation of assessed work)
  • Fast marking turn-around with individual feedback.

The content and delivery of the MPA will include not only traditional teaching methods, such as lectures, seminars and workshops, but depending on your choice of modules may involve:

  • Task-oriented work including case-study work
  • The use of computer networked experiments, simulations or models
  • The use of reflective journals and the negotiation of learning contracts
  • Presentations from visiting speakers such as senior civil servants, chief executives, leading consultants and public figures
  • Field trips to local, regional and national public bodies such as the Welsh Assembly

You will benefit from excellent online learning resources including lecture notes, articles, and presentations. Some work can also be submitted and marked online.

The programme includes an induction to introduce you to the Exeter MPA and help you adjust to postgraduate study. We will provide practical help and advice on subjects such as study and research skills and time management and be available to answer any of your questions. You will have the chance get to know the academic team and your fellow students in a relaxed and informal environment.

You will also have the opportunity to practise reflective learning and consider your professional development at key stages throughout the MPA.


The need to develop management and leadership skills is being recognised as increasingly important within the public sector and this has been reflected by the introduction of management competencies and a growing demand for formal qualifications for senior management positions.

The MPA is a qualification which is recognised around the world and is taken seriously not only by prospective employers but also by organisations who want to retain and progress skilled managers.

There are many reasons to study for the Exeter MPA including:

  • Enhancing your opportunities for career progression
  • Making you stand out in a competitive job market 
  • Obtaining a wider perspective of the environment in which you work
  • Obtaining a personal sense of achievement 
  • Developing strategic decision making and leadership skills 
  • Improving your confidence and credibility in the workplace
  • Gaining more knowledge about other people and other organisations
  • Networking and sharing experiences with public sector colleagues.

We have a long history of teaching public administration and public policy to postgraduates at Exeter. Students have gone on to careers in regional governments, ministries, embassies and other organisations around the world.

Visit the Master of Public Administration (MPA) page on the University of Exeter website for more details!






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