The Institute of Public Affairs
The Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) is the centre in which the public policy expertise of LSE comes together. Established in 2011, it delivers world-class teaching and training for current and future government advisers, policy-makers and policy analysts from around the world, placing them on a rapid trajectory to becoming leaders in their fields.
About the MPA
The Master of Public Administration (MPA) is a two-year graduate degree programme in public policy and administration with around 180 students. Students taking the MPA programme will develop high-level professional policy-making skills required by employers in the public sector and private sector, and by non-governmental organisations.
provides rigorous training in the core skills of economic analysis and political science that give students a wide range of analytical tools applicable to any policy debate
develops strong applied skills to use analytical and evaluative tools on real-world examples including case studies and in their capstone project
allows students to specialise their studies in their second year to match their interests, through their policy stream choice coupled with an MPA Policy Paper on a subject of their choice. This prepares students for careers in the public sector, private companies and non-governmental organisations around the world, including government departments and agencies, consultancies and international development agencies
The programme is taught over two academic years. The programme comprises a range of core compulsory courses, courses that are compulsory to students’ chosen specialisation (called a policy stream), and option courses.
In September, prior to the start of year one, students attend a compulsory pre-sessional refresher course at LSE in mathematics and statistics. This course updates and refreshes students’ knowledge of mathematics and statistics in preparation for the programme.
In the first year, students take three core compulsory courses which provide them with strong foundational knowledge and skills in political and economic analysis. These will support students in their chosen specialisation in the second year of the programme.
Political Science and Public Policy – Students will learn game theoretical concepts and apply them to a variety of political contexts; these tools should be useful both for explaining existing political outcomes and for designing interventions to achieve desired future outcomes.
Quantitative Approaches and Policy Analysis – Students 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.
In addition, students choose a fourth course in year one from a wide range of options available across LSE’s academic departments. Students’ choice can be based on their strengths and interests.
The MPA Capstone Project – Many students find the Capstone project to be the highlight of their studies. Capstone is undertaken by a group, Working in a group of three to five, students research, analyse and make recommendations to resolve a genuine policy problem for a real-life client organisation. Previous capstone clients include the Boston Consulting Group, British Business Bank, UNICEF, EBRD, OECD, UNESCO, government departments and the Greater London Authority Each project is closely supervised by an MPA staff/faculty member, who provides advice and monitors progress but students take responsibility for their work. Read more about the MPA Capstone.
At the beginning of the second year, students choose a policy stream from a range of five which allows them to specialise according to their interests and career plans:
Public and Economic Policy: this stream focuses on the economic and political analysis of public policies. Students choose two half-unit courses from the following three: Globalisation and Economic Policy, Methods of Economic Policy Analysis, and Public Economics for Public Policy. Typically, graduates from this policy stream pursue careers in economic policy-making.
Public Policy and Management, including one unit from the following courses: Public Management: Strategy, Innovation and Delivery, Fiscal Governance and Budgeting, Designing and Managing Change in the Public Sector, Enabling Governments to Make Hard Choices by Assessing Costs and Benefits and Running Governments by Hierarchy and Regulated Markets. This stream focuses on understanding decision-making and management in the public sector and budgetary processes. Typically, graduates from this policy stream pursue careers in public management or public sector consulting.
International Development, including all three associated compulsory courses Political Economy of Development I, Political Economy of Development II and Development Economics. This stream focuses on the analysis of economic and public policies for developing countries by teaching analytical tools and how to apply them to development policy. Typically, graduates from this policy stream pursue careers in international development organisations, government development agencies, NGOs, or private sector companies.
European Public and Economic Policy, including the associated compulsory course Political Economy of Europe. This stream focuses on the economic and policy analysis of Europe, as broadly understood. Typically, graduates from the policy stream pursue careers related to public policy-making working with EU institutions, regional organisations, national administrations and the private sector.
Public and Social Policy, including the associated compulsory course Welfare Analysis and Measurement. This stream focuses on the analysis of public and social welfare. Typically, graduates from the policy stream pursue careers related to public service at local, national and international levels in the fields of education, employment, health policy and social protection.
Finally, students choose a number of option courses from a wide range of options available across LSE’s academic departments. Alternatively, students may choose to write an MPA Policy Paper (6,000 words) or MPA Dissertation (10,000 words) as an option course. This choice is based on each student’s strengths and interests.
MPA students also benefit from a range of Skills Development Seminars to strengthen their analytical, evaluative, writing and presentation skills, scheduled to complement their formal teaching and learning. In addition, regular Policy in Practice Seminars bring distinguished professionals to LSE to share their experiences and to help students connect their classroom learning to the real world.
MPA Dual Degree
During their first year, MPA students can apply to spend their second year studying abroad at one of our partner schools, joining one of the following programmes:
the MPA or the MIA at the School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
the MPP 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 MPP at the Graduate School of Public Policy (GraSPP) at the University of Tokyo (note: programme length is 24 months with graduation no earlier than December of the second year).
You can find the most up-to-date list of optional courses for Master of Public Administration (MPA) 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, some circumstances may cause the School to subsequently change, suspend or withdraw a course or programme of study, or change the fees that apply to it. 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 circumstances outside of its control. You must also note that places are limited on some courses and/or subject to specific entry requirements. The School cannot therefore guarantee places on its courses. 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 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, EBRD); and think tanks (the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) and the Fundação Getúlio Vargas).