Master of Public Administration (MPA)

  • Graduate taught
  • School of Public Policy
  • Application code L2UN
  • Starting 2018
  • UK/EU full-time: Closed
  • Overseas full-time: Closed
  • Location: London

The MPA is a two-year interdisciplinary graduate programme in public policy and administration. We enable students to make an immediate impact on employers by equipping them with world-class applied and professional skills to understand, analyse and produce effective public policy.

In contrast to similar programmes in other policy schools, we place special emphasis on rigorous empirical training, particularly in economics, econometrics and political science. You will apply these skills to real-world scenarios via the MPA Capstone in the second year of the MPA. Only a two-year degree can offer this depth of study and the combination of methodological discipline with practical application.

This challenging programme produces well-rounded professionals who make an immediate impact for employers in the public sector, private companies, non-governmental and inter-governmental organisations around the world, including government departments and agencies, consultancies and international development agencies. 

The first year of the MPA is common to all students From the start of the second year you will specialise in one of five policy streams:

  • MPA Public and Economic Policy
  • MPA Public and Social Policy
  • MPA Public Policy and Management
  • MPA International Development
  • MPA Social Impact

Programme details

Key facts

Start date 17 September 2018
Application deadline None – rolling admissions. However please note the funding deadlines
Duration 21 months full-time only
Applications 2016 437
Intake 2016 71
Availability UK/EU: Closed
Overseas: Closed
Tuition fee Year one: £25,368 (2018 entry)
Year two: £25,368 (2019, continuing student)
Financial support Graduate support scheme (deadline 26 April 2018)
Minimum entry requirement 2:1 degree or equivalent in any discipline. Plus, normally a minimum of one year’s relevant professional work experience at the point of entry to the programme (see 'assessing your application' for more details)
GRE/GMAT requirement None
English language requirements Standard (see 'assessing your application')
Location  Houghton Street, London and optional study abroad locations

For more information about tuition fees and entry requirements, see the fees and funding and assessing your application sections.

Programme structure and courses


Prior to arrival at LSE, you will be granted access to an MPA online course about different public policy theories and concepts, an overview of academic writing and empirical skills. These courses highlight the knowledge and skills needed to maximise the chances of success on the MPA. 

MPA introductory course

All first year students complete a compulsory two-week course in mathematics and statistics. This is known as the MPA introductory course and this year, it will start on Monday 17 September, 2018. For those of you who have not studied these subjects for some time, the course provides a challenging and accessible introduction to some of the key skills and techniques required for the MPA degree. The course also acts as a refresher for those who already have a mathematical background. There is a diagnostic exercise at the end of this pre-sessional course which students use to evaluate their own learning needs.

First year 

In the first year, you take three compulsory courses which provide you with rigorous theoretical knowledge and skills in political and economic analysis as well as quantitative methods. This solid foundation will support you in your chosen specialisation in the second year. You will also choose a fourth course in the first year from a wide range of options available across academic departments. Your choice should be based on your academic strengths and interests.

Political Science and Public Policy
You will learn game theoretical concepts and apply them to a variety of political contexts; these tools will be useful both for explaining existing political outcomes and for designing interventions to achieve desired future outcomes.

Micro and Macro Economics for Public Policy
You will learn macro- and micro- economic concepts, models and methods suitable for appraising policy, applicable in a wide variety of contexts.

Quantitative Approaches and Policy Analysis
You will learn skills for the quantitative evaluation of public policies, with the help of regression based evaluation methods, cost-benefit analysis and computable general equilibrium modelling.

Courses to the value of one unit from a range of options

Second year

At the beginning of the second year, you will choose a policy stream from a range of six, allowing you to specialise in a particular field. Each policy stream has its own core courses.

The six MPA policy streams are:

MPA Public and Economic Policy
MPA Public and Social Policy
MPA Public Policy and Management
MPA International Development
MPA Social Impact

In addition, you will participate in the compulsory MPA Capstone. You will also take a number of optional courses from a wide range of options available across LSE’s academic departments, subject to availability. Alternatively, you may choose to write an MPA Policy Paper (6,000 words) or MPA Dissertation (10,000 words) as an option course. The choice is based on each student’s strengths and interests.

The MPA Capstone 

The MPA Capstone is a compulsory one unit course. You will learn to carry out analysis and research, as part of a group, in order to address a practical policy issue  relevant to a real-life client organisation. It allows you to extend your capabilities and apply in a professional context what you have learned in the MPA core courses.

You can find the most up-to-date list of optional courses in the Programme Regulations section of the current School Calendar.

You must note however that while care has been taken to ensure that this information is up to date and correct, a change of circumstances since publication may cause the School to change, suspend or withdraw a course or programme of study, or change the fees that apply to it. The School will always notify the affected parties as early as practicably possible and propose any viable and relevant alternative options. Note that that the School will neither be liable for information that after publication becomes inaccurate or irrelevant, nor for changing, suspending or withdrawing a course or programme of study due to events outside of its control, which includes but is not limited to a lack of demand for a course or programme of study, industrial action, fire, flood or other environmental or physical damage to premises.

You must also note that places are limited on some courses and/or subject to specific entry requirements. The School cannot therefore guarantee you a place. Please note that changes to programmes and courses can sometimes occur after you have accepted your offer of a place. These changes are normally made in light of developments in the discipline or path-breaking research, or on the basis of student feedback. Changes can take the form of altered course content, teaching formats or assessment modes. Any such changes are intended to enhance the student learning experience. You should visit the School’s Calendar, or contact the relevant academic department, for information on the availability and/or content of courses and programmes of study. Certain substantive changes will be listed on the updated graduate course and programme information page.

MPA Dual Degree

As a member of the Global Public Policy Network (GPPN), the Institute of Public Affairs offers its MPA students the opportunity to spend their second year of study at one of our GPPN partner institutions. Students already in their first year at one of our partner schools can also apply to enter directly into the second year of the LSE MPA.

By combining study on the LSE MPA with study at another internationally-renowned university, you will experience the challenges and processes of public policy-making and analysis from different academic and cultural perspectives thus equipping you with a high-demand professional skill-set and providing the international exposure frequently sought by top employers.

Our partner schools include

  • The School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), Columbia University
  • The School of Public Affairs at the Fondation Nationale des Sciences Politiques (Sciences Po)
  • Hertie School of Governance
  • The Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (LKY), National University of Singapore
  • The Graduate School of Public Policy (GraSPP), University of Tokyo*

* Note that the programme length for students studying at the University of Tokyo is 24 months with graduation no earlier than December of the second year. 

More information on the dual degree programme.

Teaching and assessment

Contact hours and independent study

You will normally have two to three hours of classroom-based teaching each week for each course that you take. This will usually add up to around 12-15 hours per week in class. As the MPA is a full-time programme, you would be expected to spend the equivalent number of hours studying as you would spend working if you were in full-time employment (35-40 hours per week in total). For the MPA Capstone and (for those who choose to do one) the MPA Policy Paper or Dissertation, there is less classroom-based teaching. Capstone groups determine how and when they are going to work on their project and the majority of Policy Paper and Dissertation work is done independently.

Hours vary according to courses and you can view indicative details in the Calendar within the Teaching section of each course guide.

Teaching methods

LSE is internationally recognised for its teaching and research and therefore employs a rich variety of teaching staff with a range of experience and status. Courses may be taught by individual members of faculty, such as lecturers, senior lecturers, readers, associate professors and professors. Many departments now also employ guest teachers and visiting members of staff, LSE teaching fellows and graduate teaching assistants who are usually doctoral research students and in the majority of cases, teach on undergraduate courses only. You can view indicative details for the teacher responsible for each course in the relevant course guide


All taught courses include formative coursework which does not contribute towards the final grade. It is designed to help prepare you for summative assessment which counts towards the course mark and to the degree award. LSE uses a range of formative assessment, such as essays, problem sets, case studies, reports, quizzes, mock exams and many others. Summative assessment may be conducted during the course or by final examination at the end of the course. An indication of the formative coursework and summative assessment for each course can be found in the relevant course guide.

Academic support

You will also be assigned an academic adviser who will be available for guidance and advice on academic or personal concerns.

MPA students will benefit from MPA study support sessions to strengthen their analytical, evaluative, writing and presentation skills. The seminars comprise lectures, workshops and practice sessions. 
The study support training offered across both years of the MPA programme helps students develop transferable skills that are essential for effective policy analysis and research.

There are many opportunities to extend your learning outside the classroom and complement your academic studies at LSE. LSE LIFE is the School’s centre for academic, personal and professional development. Some of the services on offer include: guidance and hands-on practice of the key skills you will need to do well at LSE: effective reading, academic writing and critical thinking; workshops related to how to adapt to new or difficult situations, including development of skills for leadership, study/work/life balance and preparing for the world of work; and advice and practice on working in study groups and on cross-cultural communication and teamwork.

LSE is committed to enabling all students to achieve their full potential and the School’s Disability and Wellbeing Service provides a free, confidential service to all LSE students and is a first point of contact for all disabled students.


Studying the LSE MPA is an excellent career decision with many global employers attracted both to the intellectual rigour and the practical applications of the course.

MPA graduates take highly competitive jobs in consulting, advisory and analyst roles in government departments, private sector companies (including Deloitte, McKinsey, Boston Consulting Group, and KPMG); international organisations (including the World Bank, OECD, UNICEF and EBRD); and think tanks: The Overseas Development Institute (ODI); The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR); and the Fundação Getúlio Vargas.

Further information on graduate destinations for this programme

Support for your career

LSE Careers Consultants make sure that you get the best possible support in developing your career plans during your time studying. Whether you know already the career you are aiming for, or simply the general direction you want (or perhaps you have no idea at all!) they can help guide and develop your ideas to present your skills and experience to employers in the best possible way. MPA students at LSE have access to a range of specialist services and events designed with their career directions in mind.

  • specialist careers seminars, including sessions on CVs and cover letters, career management, networking, interviews and advice specific to particular employment sectors

  • careers discussions with LSE Careers Consultant for MPA students, Ann Clinton

  • a weekly MPA Careers newsletter, compiled by a fellow student, with relevant short-term and long-term opportunities

  • MPA-only visits to employers (often MPA alumni) in their offices to discuss career options and learn about different employment sectors

  • access to LSE Careerhub, with thousands of short-term and long-term opportunities including internships

  • a Careers Impact Day which takes place in Michaelmas Term followed by an MPA-only networking evening in Lent Term with employers in relevant sectors

Furthermore, many leading organisations give careers presentations at the School during the year, and LSE Careers has a wide range of resources available to assist students in their job search. Find out more about the support available to students through LSE Careers.

Extracurricular opportunities

Policy in Practice Seminars

Our extracurricular Policy in Practice seminars (PiPs) are delivered by policy professionals or researchers who share their experience in public policy. PiPs provide students with an opportunity to connect classroom learning to real world scenarios. 

MPA Student Association (MPASA)

The MPA Student Association (MPASA) is an elected body of students that serve as a resource for the MPA community. Throughout the academic year, MPASA’s numerous committees and initiatives provide opportunities for students to engage with other classmates in professional and social activities. MPASA fosters links and togetherness between the MPA community past, present and future.

Student stories

Why study the MPA at LSE? Watch the video

Ana Paula Fernandes Jubran

MPA Public and Economic Policy
Sao Paulo, Brazil


Being at LSE means exchanging experiences with students from around the entire world. After a theoretical class or lecture, you then have the opportunity to discuss the application of the theories to a broad range of countries and regions. I also really valued the combination of courses (economics, econometrics, and political economy), as it provides students with an overview of other subjects related to public administration. 

LSE helped me with several aspects of my personal development. It offers extra-curricular activities such as Excel training, presentation skills training and life coaching. Additionally, as vice-president of the MPA student association, I experienced working with a team of brilliant people from different nationalities and professional backgrounds, which was extremely enriching.


Katie Walpole

MPA Public Policy and Management, 2014
Management Analyst at Clark County, Nevada


I could not have obtained my current position without completing the LSE MPA programme.  The programme pushed me to my limits and provided me with the tools and skills to complete my work on a daily basis. The public management stream prepared me to one-day take on a senior management role in local government.

I still remember my Capstone project and the team that I worked with. Not only did my teammates become some of my closest friends, the final report contained implementable solutions to real life issues. Referencing my Capstone project in my final interview with my current organization helped me to stand out from the other applicants.

The programme prepared me to work on a wide variety of public policy issues, which is important for my career in local government. I have to be able to analyze performance measures at one moment, work on policy concerning animals the next moment, and then review organizational efficiency or deal with constituents.

Francesco Alfonso

MPA Public and Economic Policy, 2012
Policy Analyst, OECD


I chose the MPA because I wanted to build solid skills in economics and quantitative methods, while still keeping the flexibility to tailor part of the curriculum to my curiosity and interests. A two-year programme was what I was looking for. I also wanted a degree that would keep the doors open for both civil service and private sector professional options. 

The LSE MPA definitely boosted my analytical skills and my ambitions when applying for job vacancies. It surely helped me obtaining an internship at BCG - a consulting firm - between the first and second year of MPA, which then turned into a full-time job once the MPA was over. In addition to that, the Capstone project during the second year gave me the opportunity to have a close look into the OECD, which two years later has become my employer.

Hear more from MPA alumni

Assessing your application

We welcome applications from all suitably qualified prospective students and want to recruit students with the very best academic merit, potential and motivation, irrespective of their background.

We carefully consider each application on an individual basis, taking into account all the information presented on your application form, including your:

- academic achievement (including predicted and achieved grades)
- personal statement
- two references
- CV

See further information on supporting documents

You may also have to provide evidence of your English proficiency, although you do not need to provide this at the time of your application to LSE. See our English language requirements.

When to apply

Applications for this programme are considered on a rolling basis, meaning the programme will close once it becomes full. There is no fixed deadline by which you need to apply, however to be considered for any LSE funding opportunity, you must have submitted your application and all supporting documents by the funding deadline. See the fees and funding section for more details. 

Minimum entry requirements for Master of Public Administration (MPA)

Upper second class honours (2:1) degree or equivalent in any discipline. In addition, applicants normally require a minimum of one year’s relevant professional work experience at the point of entry to the programme. However, applicants with an exceptional and outstanding academic background may use this to compensate for less than one year’s work experience.

Competition for places at the School is high. This means that even if you meet the minimum entry requirement, this does not guarantee you an offer of admission.

See international entry requirements

Fees and funding

Every graduate student is charged a fee for their programme.

The fee covers registration and examination fees payable to the School, lectures, classes and individual supervision, lectures given at other colleges under intercollegiate arrangements and, under current arrangements, membership of the Students' Union. It does not cover living costs or travel or fieldwork.

Tuition fees 2018/19 for Master of Public Administration (MPA)

UK/EU students, first year: £25,368 (2018/19)
Overseas students, first year: £25,368 (2018/19)
UK/EU students, second year: £25,368 (2019/20)
Overseas students, second year: £25,368 (2019/20)

Fee status

For this programme, the tuition fee is the same for all students regardless of their fee status. However any financial support you are eligible for will depend on whether you are classified as a Home (UK/EU) or Overseas student, otherwise known as your fee status. LSE assesses your fee status based on guidelines provided by the Department of Education.

Further information

Fees and funding opportunities

Fee reductions and rewards

Students who completed undergraduate study at LSE and are beginning taught graduate study at the School are eligible for a fee reduction of around 10 per cent of the fee.

Please refer to the Fees Office website for updates.

Scholarships and other funding

The School recognises that the cost of living in London may be higher than in your home town or country, and we provide over £11.5 million in scholarships each year to graduate students from the UK, EU and overseas.

This programme is eligible for needs-based awards from LSE, including the Graduate Support SchemeMaster's Awards, and Anniversary Scholarships

Selection for any funding opportunity is based on receipt of an application for a place – including all ancillary documents, before the funding deadline. 
Funding deadline for needs-based awards from LSE: 26 April 2018.

In addition to our needs-based awards, LSE also makes available scholarships for students from specific regions of the world and awards for students studying specific subject areas. 

Check the latest information about scholarship opportunities

Government tuition fee loans and external funding

A postgraduate loan is available from the UK government for eligible students studying for a first master’s programme, to help with fees and living costs. Some other governments and organisations also offer tuition fee loan schemes.

Find out more about tuition fee loans
Find out more about external funding opportunities

Contact us

Programme and admissions enquiries

If you have any queries related to your application or the admissions process, please check our MPA frequently asked questions webpage.

If you have any programme or admissions queries which are not answered on the website, please contact the MPA Programme Team via email at 
You can also telephone us on +44 (0)20 7107 5234

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