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The Curriculum


The MPA programme is designed to provide students with rigorous inter-disciplinary training in economics and political science, complemented by a wide range of electives, to prepare them for professional careers related to public service. It brings together LSE's unrivalled expertise in the social sciences with individual and group working experience of public sector problems, policies and management.



Learning Objectives

  • Designed to equip talented students with rigorous quantitative and economic analysis skills, specialist knowledge in an area of public policy and critical thinking to undertake and advise on public policy-making and implementation in a wide range of contexts.
  • A wide choice of options for students to choose their own area of specialisation, including, public and economic analysis, public policy and management, public and social policy, European public and economic policy, and international development.
  • Relevant both for students entering government service careers and those intending to work in the private sector, including for-profit and non-profit organisations.
  • Combines rigorous academic development with strong practical applications in individual and group based work.
  • An opportunity to undertake a real-life consultancy project for a major public or private agency or international organisation.
  • Excellent contact with government agencies, NGOs and international organisations.
  • The option for students to apply to spend ten months studying with one of our partner schools. 

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Programme Structure 

 Pre-Sessional Study

  • Core Course 

Year One Study (General)

  • Core Course
  • Core Course
  • Core Course
  • Option course(s) (electives)

Year Two Study (Policy Stream Specialisation)

  • Core Course
  • Core Course (Working on a real life project in public policy sector)
  • Core Policy Stream Course (please refer to each policy stream course)*
  • Elective Course(s)*

Can choose from:

  1. Dissertation
  2. Policy Paper
  3. Option Course(s)*

* Elective courses are known at LSE as Option Courses.



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1.     Pre-Sessional Study 

2.     Year One Courses

3.     Year Two Courses



You will be required to attend one pre-sessional course in mathematics and statistics. The pre-sessional course is held mid-September and will be for the period of 2 weeks prior to the start of Year One and it is compulsory.

The aim of this pre-sessional refresher course is to provide students with the essential mathematical, statistical, economic and econometric background for the core Economics courses of these programmes.

Course Name  Code  Type Year

 Mathematics & Statistics

The course starts with mathematics revision sessions and progresses to sections covering mathematics for microeconomics, mathematics for macroeconomics, and probability and statistical inferences.

EC408  Core  Pre-Study


It is not a pre-requisite for you to have previously undertaken study in mathematics and statistics; however it might be beneficial if you have or do some pre-study prior to the pre-sessional course.


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In Year One, after the pre-sessional course you will complete four course units. The four courses will be made up of three compulsory core course units and one option course(s) unit.

Year One Courses

 Course Name




Political Science and Public Policy

Develops tools to analyse important political phenomena including elections, legislative bargaining, lobbying, bureaucracy, civil conflict, and international relations

GV478 Core


 Micro and Macro Economics for Public Policy

Provides an economics background suitable for high-level public policy-making.




 Quantitative Approaches and Policy Analysis

Introduces quantitative evaluation of public policies with the help of regression based evaluation methods, cost-benefit analysis and computable general equilibrium modelling.




 Option Course(s)

The option courses (electives) can be made up of one full course unit or two half course units. At LSE we offer a wide variety of courses and we can cater to all your interests; however you might be interested in taking courses in Finance, Management, Economics, Social Policy, International Development, Political Science. If you decide to take an elective outside of the suggested courses, it is advised that you seek guidance to ensure that your choice of course will complement your studies.

However you also have the option to choose to take a Policy Stream course for your option courses. But please note that you will not need to choose which Policy Stream you are going to specialise in until Year Two. 




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In Year Two, you will need to complete two compulsory courses and either one or two Policy Stream core courses, depending on your chosen policy stream, as well as one option course(s) (electives). In total you will need to complete four full units overall.

Course Name  Code   Type Year

 Organisations, Power and Leadership

Provides an introduction to understanding power and leadership in organisations making or influencing public policies?

 GV4D5  Core   2

 A Capstone Project

The MPA Capstone project is a compulsory second-year course where groups of MPA students complete a consulting project for a client organisation.

      -   Core   2

 Policy Stream Course(s)

The number of Policy Stream course(s) vary depending on which Policy Stream you choose to specialise in. 

You can find are the list of the Policy Streams we offer along with the courses that you must take for each of the different Policy Streams under the Policy Stream tab. 

     -  Core   2

 Option Course(s)

1.   10,000 word dissertation

2.   6,000 word policy paper + One Half Course Unit (from any of our other LSE departments)

3.   An additional Policy Stream Course

4.   Option Course(s) - from other LSE departments

You have several possibilities to choose from regarding your option course(s). The IPA offers you the option to undertake a dissertation or to write a policy paper.

However if you would prefer to undertake other course(s), you can choose to take either another Policy Stream course or choose from one of the many other course(s) that are on offer, here at LSE.

   -  Option  2

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Policy Streams 

Students must take, all core Policy Stream course(s). Below is a list of the five different Policy Stream Courses that we offer along with their corresponding core course(s). 

The five MPA Policy Streams are:

1.     Public and Economic Policy

2.     Public Policy and Management

3.     International Development

4.     European Public and Economic Policy

5.     Public and Social Policy



PEP focuses on the economic and political analysis of public policies. This stream particularly equips students to pursue careers related to economic policy-making in international organisations, national administrations, and economic consulting.

  Course Name Code Type Year
 Economic Policy Analysis 

The aim of this course is to equip students with analytical tools required for decision taking in the public and private sectors. It reinforces the ability of students to use statistics and economics to evaluate policy questions.

 EC406  Core   2

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PPM focuses on understanding decision making and management in the public sector and budgetary processes. This stream particularly equips students to pursue careers in public management, public sector consulting, and governance related work in international organisations or think tanks.

  Course Name  Code Type Year
  Public Budgeting and Financial Management

The course examines contemporary issues in public budgeting and financial management, and how they interface with public management drawing on comparative experience in OECD countries and elsewhere.

 GV4E4 Core     2
Or  Public Management: Strategy, Innovation and Delivery

The course develops the perspectives, knowledge, and intellectual skill required for rational discourse about intelligent practical action in the core public sector. Overall, the course provides a foundation for further coursework about management in the public sector as well as the ability to engage constructively and critically in the development of public management practice.

 MG419  Core    2


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ID focuses on the analysis of economic and public policies for developing countries. By providing a broad range of analytical tools and development-related policy applications, this stream prepares students to work at the highest levels in international development organisations, government development agencies, NGOs, development consultancies and private sector companies.

   Course Name Code Type Year
  Development Economics

This course explores the current debates, policy recommendations, and political challenges in international development. 

EC454  Core  2

 Political Economy of Development I & II

This course provides the necessary development economics skills for high level public policy making. The focus is on acquiring the necessary theoretical and empirical skills to engage in the rigorous analysis of public policies in developing countries. The emphasis will be on combining theory and data to evaluate the effectiveness of policies in these different areas.




 Core  2

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EPEP focuses on the economic and policy analysis of Europe, broadly understood. It particularly equips students to pursue careers related to economic and public policy making in EU institutions, other European international organisations, national administrations and parts of the private sector interacting with the EU in regulatory, budget making or other policy contexts.

 Course Name Code Type Year

 Political Economy of Europe

This course tries to understand how the relation between state and economy in both Western Europe and Central and Eastern Europe has evolved over the post-war period. The course aims to provide students with both an analytical understanding of and a systematic treatment of, empirical issues related to the evolution of the European political economy.

 EU452  Core  2

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This stream focuses on the policy and economic analysis of public and social welfare. This stream particularly equips students to pursue careers related to public service at local, national and international levels, in areas including consultancy and analysis as well as policy making and implementation in international organisations, primarily those with health policy, education, employment and social protection departments.


Course Name  Code Type Year

Welfare Analysis and Measurement

This course provides an introduction to the analysis and measurement of the welfare of individuals and societies, examining concepts, measurement and data, as well as providing illustrations. The aims are to provide an understanding of the main tools used to measure and monitor individuals and social welfare, and to develop skills for assessing academic research and official statistics (as produced by national or international agencies) and for undertaking one's own analysis.

 SA4X6  Core    2

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Option Courses


MPA students may choose to write a dissertation (of no more than 10,000 words) on a topic of their choice to be agreed with their supervisor.

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Policy PaperMPA students may choose to write an individually-authored MPA Policy Paper on a topic developed in consultation with their MPA supervisor. Each paper analyses a concrete policy problem in a specific setting and proposes an evidence-based solution or course of amelioration. Papers cannot exceed 6,000 words and should be clearly and directly written, suitable for consideration by policy-makers.

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Other Departmental CoursesIn some cases, MPA students may choose to study a course from a range of other suggested courses, offered by other departments here at LSE. A full list of approved MPA Option Courses (elective) can be found here.

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