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The Curriculum

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The MPA programme comprises a range of core courses, which are compulsory to students’ chosen specialisation (called a policy stream), and option courses, as described below.

Pre-sessional course

All first year students complete a compulsory two-week course in mathematics and statistics. This is known as the pre-sessional and takes place directly before the start of LSE term time. This course is an intense introduction - or, if some students have studied these areas before, a refresher for - some of the key skills and techniques that are needed for the MPA degree. 

Students commonly describle the pre-sessional as a bootcamp. For those without a quantitative background - rest assured - it is designed to be accessible, but it will be challenging.

Year One

In the first year, all students take three core courses which provide them with rigorous theoretical knowledge and skills in political and economic analysis and quantitative methods. These will support students in their chosen specialisation in the second year of the programme.

Core courses  

Option courses

In addition, students choose a fourth course in Year One from a wide range of options available across LSE’s academic departments subject to availability. Students’ choice can be based on their strengths and interests.

Further information and guidance will be provided to students at the beginning of the programme.

Year Two

At the beginning of the second year, students choose a policy stream from a range of five, which allows them to specialise in a particular field. Each policy stream has its own core courses.

The five MPA policy streams are: 

In addition, students participate in a Capstone project, which is a compulsory course of the MPA, and also take option courses. 

The Capstone project

The Capstone project is a compulsory one unit course. Students will learn to carry out analysis and research as part of a group in order to address a practical policy issue or problem relevant to a real client organisation. It allows students to extend their capabilities and apply in a professional context what they have learnt in the MPA core courses. 

Option courses   

Students pursue a number of option courses from a wide range of options available across LSE’s academic departments subject to availability. Alternatively, students may choose to write an MPA Policy Paper (6,000 words) or MPA Dissertation (10,000 words) as an option course. This choice is based on each student’s strengths and interests.

Further information and guidance will be provided to students at the beginning of the programme. 

Curriculum examples

Gain a better understanding of what an MPA student's curriculum could look like by exploring the following examples:

Student A

Student B

Student C 

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