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MPA Programme,
London School of Economics and Political Science,
Houghton Street,



Tel:  +44 (0)20 7107 5195
Fax:  +44 (0)20 7107 5173

The Institute of Public Affairs and the MPA Programme

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Formally launched in 2011, the Institute of Public Affairs at LSE is an outward-facing global centre for public policy training and analysis.  Drawing on LSE faculty affiliated with six of the School’s prestigious academic departments, the core activity of the Institute consists of harnessing the research and teaching expertise of this interdisciplinary group to deliver its two-year Master of Public Administration degree.  Inaugurated in 2003, this flagship LSE programme has grown from an initial cohort of 18 students to one which now has 200 students spread across two academic years.  

The MPA meets the needs of government departments and public agencies in many countries for highly skilled and professional policy-makers.  It also meets the needs of people working with governments but in the private sector, for instance in consultancy, public-private partnerships, public affairs, media, non-governmental organisations and interest groups.

The programme is designed to provide students with rigorous and 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.

Programme details

The degree is taught over 21 months in two academic year blocks; in the first year, students take a set of core courses which provide them with the skills required for political and economic analysis. During their second year, students work in groups on a "Capstone" project in which they advise a public sector organisation, international body, or private sector consultancy on a current policy challenge, and also have the option to prepare a dissertation.

In addition to the core courses, students also undertake further compulsory courses specific to one of five MPA streams and can further specialise by taking courses from a wide range of options. For further details and information on how to apply, visit our website|.

The LSE MPA offers the following benefits:

  • Equips talented students with professional skills and knowledge to undertake and advise on public policy-making and implementation in a wide range of contexts.
  • Relevant both for students entering government service careers and those intending to work in the private sector, dealing with government.
  • Combines rigorous academic development with strong practical applications in individual and group based work.
  • A wide choice of options from across LSE's graduate courses for students to choose their own area of specialisation.
  • Excellent contact with governmental and international organisations.
  • The option for some students to obtain a dual MPA by spending one academic year at one of the following institutions: the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) at Columbia University in New York; Sciences Po, Paris; the Hertie School of Governance, Berlin; or the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore.

Note, the Institute of Public Affairs has also developed an Executive (part-time) MPA, further information on which can be found on our web site.

The five MPA policy streams are:

  • Public and Economic Policy
  • Public Policy and Management
  • International Development
  • European Public and Economic Policy 
  • Public and Social Policy

In addition to developing advanced skills in political and economic analysis in these five broad areas students also have the opportunity – through their work on final-year Capstone projects – to engage directly with public sector organisations, international bodies, and private sector consultancies on a wide range of current policy challenges.  The large number of clients, and potential clients, interested in working with our students has allowed us to be selective in choosing Capstone partners, with the Institute now serving as a major locus of cross-departmental LSE activity in the policy sphere. 

In addition to the core training common to all MPAs, each student undertakes further compulsory courses on one of five streams as detailed below.

MPA core courses

All students attend a compulsory September pre-sessional course, at the beginning of Year One, then take courses essential for effective policy-making, as follows:

  • Political Science and Public Policy (year one) develops tools to analyse important political phenomena including elections, legislative bargaining, lobbying, bureaucracy, civil conflict, and international relations.
  • Micro and Macro Economics for Public Policy (year one) provides an economics background suitable for high-level public policy-making.
  • Quantitative Research and Policy Analysis (year one) introduces students to the quantitative evaluation of public policies with the help of regression based evaluation methods, cost-benefit analysis and computable general equilibrium modelling.
  • Organisations, Power and Leadership (year two) provides an introduction to understanding power and leadership in organisations making or influencing public policies.
  • MPA Capstone (year two)

Stream-specific courses

MPA Public and Economic Policy

This stream 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.

Requirements in addition to the MPA core:

  • Economic Policy Analysis (year two only) reinforces the ability of students to use statistics and economics to evaluate policy questions.
  • Approved MPA options and/or an MPA dissertation.

MPA Public Policy and Management

This stream 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.

Requirements in addition to the MPA core:

  • Public Budgeting and Financial Management examines contemporary issues in public budgeting and financial management, and how they interface with public management.


  • Public Management - Strategy, Innovation and Delivery develops the perspectives, knowledge and intellectual skill required for rational discourse about intelligent practical action in the core public sector.
  • Approved MPA options and/or an MPA dissertation.

MPA International Development

This stream 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.

Requirements in addition to the MPA core:

  • Development Policy and Management introduces the current debates, policy recommendations, and political challenges in international development.
  • Development Economics (year two only) provides the necessary theoretical and empirical skills to engage in the rigorous analysis of public policies in developing countries.
  • Approved MPA options or an MPA dissertation. 

MPA European Public and Economic Policy

This stream 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.

Requirements in addition to the MPA core:

  • European Public and Economic Policy covers concepts and theories of political and economic integration in Europe, as well as key empirical issues.
  • Approved MPA options and/or an MPA dissertation.

MPA Public and Social Policy

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.

Requirements in addition to the MPA core:

  • Welfare Analysis and Measurement provides an introduction to the analysis and measurement of the welfare of individuals and societies.
  • Approved MPA options and/or an MPA dissertation.

The MPA Capstone Project

The MPA Capstone is a key component of the second year curriculum. Conventional academic work is often highly individualistic and sectionalised by discipline or topic. By contrast, the Capstone is designed to ensure LSE MPA students have an intensive and closely supervised experience of working in a group on an applied policy project in a way that extends their capabilities and applies what they have learnt in the MPA core courses in a professional manner.

Capstones are group projects undertaken by a small group of students (usually 3-5 people) for a client organisation on a public policy analysis topic relevant to the client organisation. Team members devote around 1.5 to 2 days a week to the project between October and February, including some vacation time. Each project is supervised by a member of MPA staff, who provides advice and monitors progress. The projects earn a collective grade and students are expected to manage the division and development of work amongst themselves.

Students are individually matched to client organisations in order to induce mutually beneficial relationships, and they bring impressive previous work experience to the projects. The teams are almost always multi-national and invariably multi-lingual.

Visit our website| for further information, including previous clients and projects.

Approved MPA Options

MPA options courses are arranged into the areas of specialisation listed below and involve diverse courses, drawing on departments and disciplinary perspectives across the School. All courses operate at a challenging level, and prerequisites may apply to the more advanced or specific courses.

Note: specific options courses are subject to availability, as they may not be offered every year.

MPA options: areas of specialisation

  • Development Policy
  • Economic Policy
  • Education Policy
  • Environmental Policy
  • EU Institutions, Politics and Policies
  • Europe: Central and Eastern Transition and Reform
  • Governance
  • Health and Social Care
  • International Policy
  • Management of Organisations
  • Regulatory Policy
  • Urban Policy
  • Social Policy and Social Exclusion

Dual MPA Degree

The Dual MPA Programme provides the opportunity for selected students to study for one academic year in London, on the LSE MPA degree, and for one academic year on one of the following programmes at four global partner institutions:

  • the MPA or the MIA at the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA),  Columbia University, New York
  • the MPA at Sciences Po, Paris
  • the MPP at the Hertie School of Governance, Berlin
  • the MPP at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (LKY),  National University of Singapore

The Dual Degree is undertaken either by spending year one on the LSE MPA and year two at a partner institution or year one at a partner institution and year two on the LSE MPA.

Note: there is no direct entry into the MPA Dual Degree Programme. To be eligible to apply you need to be accepted onto and commence studying on either the LSE MPA or one of the partner institution programmes listed above.

Visit the LSE MPA programme web pages at| for further information.

Graduate destinations

LSE MPA alumni occupy positions in governments, international organisations, the private sector and think tanks around the world. Recent employment destinations include the following:

(*Capstone clients and internship organisations)


Australia: Prime Minister\'s Office; Reserve Bank of Australia

Canada: Ministry of the Environment

Germany: German Technical Cooperation (GTZ)

Japan: Ministry of the Environment; Ministry of Finance; Ministry of Home Affairs; Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications; Ministry of Justice

Mexico: Ministry of Health; Ministry of the Interior

Republic of Korea: Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Ministry of Strategy and Finance

South Africa: City of Johannesburg; Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism

UK: Bank of England*; Department for Children, Schools and Families; Department of Health; Government Economic Service; HM Revenue and Customs; HM Treasury*; London Development Agency; Cabinet Office Strategy Unit

US: Center for Disease Control and Prevention; New York City; Diplomatic Service; Government Accountability Office; United States Senate

Private sector

Accenture*; Deloitte*; Deutsche Bank; Ernst & Young; EDS*; Goldman Sachs; Marakon; McKinsey; Monitor; NERA; PricewaterhouseCoopers; RAND Corporation; Roland Berger; Royal Bank of Scotland; UBS

International organisations

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development* (EBRD); European Ombudsman; International Energy Agency; Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development* (OECD); United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); World Bank*; World Health Organisation

NGOs, Think Tanks, Parties

Democratic Party of Japan; Demos (UK)*; International Budget Partnership*; Per Capita (Australia); US Democratic Party

On completion of the programme a number of MPA students also go on to study for doctoral degrees at LSE and other worldwide institutions.

See our website| for more information.


Application code: L2UN (check availability|)

Start date: 19 September 2014. Some outside options in economics require participation in introductory courses beginning early September 2014

Duration: 21 months full-time only

Intake/applications in 2012: 103/953 (all streams)

Minimum entry requirement: 2:1 degree or equivalent in any discipline. Some economics options only available to applicants with a good first degree in economics (see entry requirements|)

English requirement: Higher (see English requirements|)

GRE/GMAT requirement: Not required, but will be considered if submitted

Fee level: Year 1 (2014 entry) £21,665; Year 2 (2015 continuing) £22,524

Financial support: Graduate Support Scheme (see Fees and financial support|)

Application deadline: None

Notes: MPA programmes carry the opportunity for some students to spend ten months abroad at institutions including SIPA, Columbia University, NY; Sciences Po, Paris; Hertie School of Governance, Berlin and Lee Kuan Yew School, National University of Singapore