Master of Public Administration (MPA)

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Overview

Public administration is at the heart of our political systems and policy outcomes are a key way by which we engage with the social and political environment. It is increasingly characterised by open networks, devolved decision-making and a mesh of public, private and civil society stakeholders all trying to influence the direction of public policy. The key areas of health, welfare, ethics, trade, aid and disaster management are analysed, with a spotlight on the dramatic and innovative public services changes in the UK and the wider international context. This course provides insight into policy transfer between states in the international community and the shaping frameworks of international organisations, as well as considering the historical and cultural reasons why there remain significant differences in policy trajectories, public service management and service delivery.

The Faculty of Arts and Humanities is offering scholarships worth £2,000 for graduates with a first-class honours degree. Excellence scholarships are available to full-time home and EU students for 19/20 entry. Find out more on our postgraduate funding pages.

Features and Benefits

Career Prospects

The programme aims to provide the skills to progress to higher research programmes, and to offer opportunities for the acquisition of skills applicable to a range of roles in government, international political, social and economic organisations, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), and public sector management.

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Entry requirements

You will normally have at least an upper second class undergraduate UK honours degree (or international equivalent) in a relevant subject, or equivalent academic qualification. If you have a different background you may be admitted if you have proven experience in a relevant field.

Overseas applicants will require IELTS with an overall score of 6.5 with no less than 5.5 in any category, or an equivalent accepted English qualification. Accepted English qualifications can be viewed here.

Course details

This course provides insight into policy transfer between states in the international community and the shaping frameworks of international organisations, as well as considering the historical and cultural reasons why there remain significant difference in policy trajectories, public service management and service delivery.

You will study the following core units and have the opportunity to select further units from a range of options:

• The Policymaking Process and Comparative Public Policy
• Ethics and Standards in Public Life
• Social Science Research Methods
• Dissertation

Read more about this year of study

Core Units

Dissertation

Consists of an 18,000-20,000 word dissertation on a subject that reflects your studies.

The Policymaking Process and Comparative Public Policy

This unit  offers an introduction to the field of comparative public policy. The course material will  consider the aims and methods of comparative inquiry. It will  survey a range of theoretical approaches used to make sense of policy processes and outcomes and  it  will consider the  important issues confronting policymakers, with an eye to making sense of variation and convergence in states policies in these areas. Throughout the course, students will be encouraged to consider how theories of policy-making fare in explaining real world outcomes and the degree to which comparison yields insights beyond what might be expected from single country studies. Students will be encouraged to consider how they could apply lessons from the case studies to future careers as policymakers.


Social Science Research Methods

This unit covers a broad range of social science research techniques. On completion you will have covered the most widely used research methods in social science and will have had a chance to apply both qualitative and quantitative analytic strategies to the examination of empirical data as well as preparing for your dissertation. 

Ethics and Standards in Public Life

This course explores ethics in public services as an applied discipline. It examines the underlying assumptions behind the ethical responsibilities of politicians and public officials in democratic societies and public administration. Examining the recent  growth  and value of codes of conduct and protection of whistle-blowers, the unit evaluates the impact  of privatisation, contracting-out of services, devolved budgeting and performance measurement on standards of behaviour across the public services. 

Likely Optional Units

Education Policy

The unit aims to explore the political environment within which the British educational system functions. It will critically examine a number of issues that have affected the development of education policy in the UK since the early 1960s.

Public Administration: Theory and Context

Public services undergo significant shifts in modes of management and delivery to meet sometimes competing pressures of cost, responsiveness and quality. Mixed public, private and civil society delivery and balancing local, regional and central planning has created a mesh of governance arrangements. This unit explores the trajectory of public sector management providing an insight into transnational policy transfer and policy learning. The unit locates current debates on trends in public service design and delivery in the theoretical frameworks of governance networks and public value. This unit will use web conferencing to facilitate international university campus link up with partners in the US.

Contemporary UK Public Service Reform

This unit uses a range of topical case studies to explore the changes that have occurred in the way that public services are being delivered in the UK. The focus of the unit is on the contemporary processes by which public policies are initiated, decided, implemented and evaluated. It considers public sector reform from new managerialism to the Big Society and beyond, looking at the New Right and the Third Way analysis of the public sector and the consequent approaches to reform of public service delivery in the UK.

Emergency and Disaster Planning

This unit will explore the complexities involved in defining disaster and emergency situations, their causes and the range of consequences that can occur from them. It will examine the policy and legislation that governments would need in order to respond to these situations effectively, dealing with different types of communities. It will also examine how emergency services, businesses, local authorities and individuals can plan for and manage disaster and emergency situations.

The EU in Turmoil

Examines both the internal and the external contexts of European integration - the content is divided into smaller thematic blocks designed to cover the following key topics: the structure of European integration (including institutional architecture, major treaties and decision-making structure); the policy portfolio of the European Union (internal and external policies). The unit evaluates how effectively the EU responds to such issues as global terrorism, climate change, financial crisis and immigration.

Housing and Health in the Community

This unit explores the connections between housing policy and provision and health and social care services.  With an emphasis on tenant involvement, community engagement and user involvement, the unit investigates the role of service users in governance, service development and delivery in communities.  Consideration is given to the impact user engagement has on housing and health provision as well as the economic, social and health outcomes for those living in deprived areas and elsewhere.

International Public Policy Management

Using a case study approach, this unit explores the challenges of global policymaking. Against a backdrop of different frameworks for decision-making, different models of public engagement with policymaking and the capacity of international organisations to shape policy in nation states, the unit analyses the policymaking capacity of international organisations. Policy areas covered include health, the environment, housing, trade and aid.

Placement

The placement option allows you to undertake a placement with a partner organisation based in the public or voluntary and community sector.  Using an inquiry-based learning framework, you will critically evaluate the work of the placement organisation and develop suggestions for possible improvements in collaboration with colleagues and service users. We will help you source your placement.

Assessment weightings and contact hours

10 credits equates to 100 hours of study, which is a combination of lectures, seminars and practical sessions, and independent study. A Masters qualification typically comprises of 180 credits, a PGDip 120 credits, a PGCert 60 credits and an MFA 300 credits. The exact composition of your study time and assessments for the course will vary according to your option choices and style of learning, but it could be:

Study
Assessment

Placement options

The placement option allows you to undertake a placement with a partner organisation based in the public or voluntary and community sector. Using an inquiry-based learning framework, you will critically evaluate the work of the placement organisation and develop suggestions for possible improvements in collaboration with colleagues and service users. We will help you source your placement.

Department of History, Politics and Philosophy

Our Department of History, Politics and Philosophy offers programmes of study alongside a thriving research culture, emphasising a student-centred approach to learning.

With interdisciplinary strengths in many areas, the department takes pride in its approach to research-led teaching and being able to provide opportunities for students to work with academics at the forefront of their disciplines.

More about the department

Taught by experts

Your studies are supported by a team of committed and enthusiastic teachers and researchers, experts in their chosen field. We also work with external professionals, many of whom are Manchester Met alumni, to enhance your learning and appreciation of the wider subject.

Meet our expert staff

Fees

UK and EU students

UK and EU students: Full-time fee: £8,500 per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

UK and EU students: Part-time fee: £945 per 20 credits studied per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Non-EU and Channel Island students

Non-EU international and Channel Island students: Full-time fee: £15,500 per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Non-EU international and Channel Island students: Part-time fee: £1723 per 20 credits studied per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Additional Information

A Masters qualification typically comprises 180 credits, a PGDip 120 credits, a PGCert 60 credits, and an MFA 300 credits. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of study provided the course is completed in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Part-time students may take a maximum of 90 credits each academic year.

Additional costs

Specialist Costs

All of the books required for the course are available from the library. The University also has PC labs and a laptop loan service. However, many students choose to buy some of the core textbooks for the course and/or a laptop. Students may also need to print their assignments and other documents. Campus printing costs start from 5p per page. Estimated costs are £300 for a laptop up to £100 each year for books and printing.

Placement Costs

Students would not normally pay additional costs for any field trips or visits that are linked to units.

Postgraduate Loan Scheme

Loans of up to £10,280 for many Postgraduate Courses

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Alumni Loyalty Discount

Rewarding our graduates

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How to apply

The quickest and most efficient way to apply for this course is to apply online. This way, you can also track your application at each stage of the process.

Apply online now

If you are unable to apply online, you can apply for postgraduate taught courses by completing the postgraduate application form. There are exceptions for some professional courses – the course information on our on-line prospectus will give you more information in these cases.

Please note: to apply for this course, you only need to provide one reference.

You can review our current Terms and Conditions before you make your application. If you are successful with your application, we will send you up to date information alongside your offer letter.

MANCHESTER IS YOUR CITY. BE PART OF IT.

Programme Review
Our programmes undergo an annual review and major review (normally at 6 year intervals) to ensure an up-to-date curriculum supported by the latest online learning technology. For further information on when we may make changes to our programmes, please see the changes section of our Terms and Conditions.

Important Notice
This online prospectus provides an overview of our programmes of study and the University. We regularly update our online prospectus so that our published course information is accurate. Please check back to the online prospectus before making an application to us to access the most up to date information for your chosen course of study.

Confirmation of Regulator
The Manchester Metropolitan University is regulated by the Office for Students (OfS). The OfS is the independent regulator of higher education in England. More information on the role of the OfS and its regulatory framework can be found at officeforstudents.org.uk.

All higher education providers registered with the OfS must have a student protection plan in place. The student protection plan sets out what students can expect to happen should a course, campus, or institution close. Access our current Student Protection Plan.

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