How to contact us

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

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 from six of the School’s prestigious academic departments, the Institute harnesses 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.

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 apply to obtain a dual degree MPA by spending their second 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. Places on this dual degree programme are awarded competitively and are not guaranteed

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

Programme details

The degree is taught over 21 months in two academic year blocks. The degree comprises a range of core compulsory courses; courses that are compulsory for students’ chosen policy stream, and optional courses, as described below. Please visit our website for further details and information on how to apply.

Year one

In the first year, students take a set of compulsory courses which provide them with strong foundational knowledge and skills in political and economic analysis to support advanced and specialist study later in the programme.

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

In addition, students take a fourth year one course, chosen from a wide range of options from across LSE’s academic departments, according to each student’s strengths and interests.

Year two

(*half unit)

In year two, all students complete the following compulsory course:

In addition, students choose a particular policy stream (from a choice of five) which allows them to specialise in a specific area of public administration. Each policy stream has a number of compulsory courses associated with it. Finally, students choose a number of optional courses.

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 compulsory courses in a professional manner.

Capstones are group projects undertaken by a small group of students (usually three-five people) for a client organisation, such as a public sector organisation, international body, or private sector consultancy, on a relevant topic to analyse public policy. 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. Team members devote around one and a half to two 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 matched to client organisations, bringing with them 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.

MPA policy streams

At the beginning of their second year, students choose from one of five policy streams as their specialism. Each policy stream has particular compulsory courses associated to it. Further details of the five policy streams are provided below.

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
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 compulsory core courses:

  • Economic Policy Analysis (year two only) reinforces the ability of students to use statistics and economics to evaluate policy questions.
  • Approved MPA optional courses, which can include either a dissertation or a policy paper.
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 compulsory courses: 

  • Either Public Budgeting and Financial Management examines contemporary issues in public budgeting and financial management, and how they interface with public management or Public Management - Strategy, Innovation and Delivery develops the perspectives, knowledge and intellectual skills required for rational discourse about intelligent practical action in the core public sector. 
  • Approved MPA optional courses, which can include either a dissertation or a policy paper.
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 compulsory core courses: 

  • Political Economy of Development I* and Political Economy of Development II*, explore 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 optional courses, which can include either a dissertation or a policy paper.
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  compulsory core courses:

  • Political Economy of Europe 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.
  • Approved MPA optional courses, which can include either a dissertation or a policy paper.
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  compulsory core courses:

  • Welfare Analysis and Measurement provides an introduction to the analysis and measurement of the welfare of individuals and societies.
  • Approved MPA optional courses, which can include either a dissertation or a policy paper.
Approved MPA options

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

Note: specific optional 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


Please read the following important information before referring to full details of course options found in the Programme Regulations.

The programme regulations available are for the current academic session and may be subject to change before the beginning of the next academic year. For more information about course availability in the next academic session, please contact the relevant academic department. The School reserves the right at all times to withdraw, suspend or alter particular courses and syllabuses, and to alter the level of fees. Courses are on occasion capped (limited to a maximum number of students) or subject to entry conditions requiring the approval of the course convenor. The School cannot guarantee that places on specific courses will be available.

MPA Dual Degree

The MPA Dual Degree 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

Note: there is no direct entry into the programme. To be eligible to apply you need to be accepted to, and commence study on, either the LSE MPA or one of the partner institution programmes listed above. Please visit 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:

(Organisations marked (*) have previously acted as Capstone clients for MPA students.)


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 world-renowned institutions. Please visit our website for further information.


Application code: L2UN (check availability)

Start date: 14 September 2015 (provisional). Some outside options in economics require participation in introductory courses beginning early September 2015

Duration: 21 months full-time only

Intake/applications in 2013: 98/617 (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: Standard (see English requirements)

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

Fee level: Year 1 (2015 entry) £22,536; Year 2 (2016 continuing) £23,448

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