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Course content

Globally recognised qualification in public services management with a focus on international development.


The Masters of Public Administration is an internationally recognised qualification acting as the public service equivalent of an MBA.

This course is ideal for early- and mid-career professionals working in international development. During your studies you'll develop the skills and knowledge you need to work in large organisations and to lead development projects in complex and uncertain situations. You will learn to examine and influence the policy process across multiple layers of governance and analyse the varying approaches used in different countries.

By choosing this part-time online course you will be able to combine your study with your career and family. You'll also be studying with one of the top universities in the world, with teaching and support from experienced academics and practitioners. Our Department is ranked 25th in the world and 4th in the UK (QS World Rankings 2016). All our courses are run directly by us, so you can always count on coherent and strong support from your academic tutors, personal supervisor and a dedicated support team.

You'll study alongside peers working in similar organisations around the world. You'll be able to actively engage with them and share your ideas, learning and experience as you progress through the course. You'll also be in a position to immediately apply your learning and insight to your work and your organisation.

Course content

Our MPA in International Development will enhance your capacity to influence and lead the development agenda at a national, regional or international level. You'll develop your capacity for critical analysis of the complex problems that you tackle in your work. You'll also develop your skills as a manager or leader in your field.

During Year 1 you'll explore the foundations of development theory, policy and practice. In Year 2 you'll combine studying further core content with a choice of topics to match your interests or area of work.

As you progress through this two year course you will apply your learning in the workplace. We'll encourage your development as a reflective practitioner throughout this process, with support from a dedicated dissertation supervisor.

Towards the end of the course you'll start to prepare for your dissertation which will allow you to explore an area of particular interest.

You can also study for a shorter period of time and graduate with a Postgraduate Certificate or Diploma.

To graduate with an MPA degree you will need to take 140 credits of taught modules and complete a dissertation worth 40 credits. You'll study these modules to a schedule. This will allow you to participate online with academics and fellow students from around the world.

Year 1: foundation
In the first year you'll study 80 credits with these modules:
-Social and Political Issues in Development (20 credits)
-Governance and Public Administration (20 credits)
-Policy Analysis and Process (20 credits)
-Reflective Practice for Professional Development - Part One (10 credits)
-Digital Government: Policy and Practice (10 credits)

Year 2: specialisation and dissertation
In your second year you'll study a combination of taught modules and work on your dissertation. You will start the year studying this module:
-Leading and Managing Organisational Change (20 credits)

You'll then have a choice of studying one of the following modules:
-Globalisation and Social Policy (20 credits)
-Project Management (20 credits)
-Public Service Reform: Economic and Political Perspectives (20 credits)

You will also need to complete a dissertation, as well as modules designed to develop your professional and research skills:
-Reflective Practice for Professional Development - Part Two (10 credits)
-Dissertation Workshop (10 credits)
-Dissertation (40 credits)

As you progress your assignments will help you apply theory to practice. You'll be able to combine academic work with case studies or examples relevant to your work.

Building on these experiences, your dissertation will be an individual project that explores a topic of your choice under guidance from a dissertation supervisor.

One of your taught modules, the Dissertation Workshop, will help you prepare for your dissertation. You'll learn how to plan and schedule your independent literature-based research project. With the help of your designated dissertation supervisor you'll work on finding the appropriate scope and focus for your project, and develop a workable structure. You'll also receive feedback on draft chapters and guidance on conducting your literature review and research.

Your dissertation is worth 40 credits and will be 12,000 words long.


This course is ideal if you have some experience of working in international development and seek professional development to work towards your career goals. It's also ideal if you're working in the social or public sector and would like to work in international development. A key strength of the course lies in allowing you to develop your skills while continuing to gain experience in a relevant professional field.

Visit the Public Administration (International Development) - MPA page on the University of York website for more details!





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Recipient: University of York

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