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 takes place directly before the official start of LSE term time. 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.
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
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 European Policy-Making
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.