How to contact us

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



Tel:  +44 (0)20 7107 5234

The Institute of Public Affairs and the Master of Public Administration (MPA) Programme

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.

The MPA:

  • 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 

Programme details

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. 

Pre-sessional course 

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.

Year one

Compulsory courses

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.

Year two

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.  

Policy streams

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:

Option courses

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.

Support seminars

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.

Graduate destinations

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).


Application code: L2UN (check availability)

Start date: 12 September 2016 (provisional). Some outside options in economics require participation in introductory courses beginning late August 2016

Duration: 21 months full-time only* 

Intake/applications in 2014: 98/643 (all streams)

Minimum entry requirement: 2:1 degree or equivalent in any discipline, plus at least one year's minimum relevant work experience. Some economics options are 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 one (2016 entry) £23,448; Year two (2017 continuing) £24,384

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

Application deadline: None

Notes: The MPA programme carries the opportunity for some students to spend ten months abroad at institutions including the School of International and Public Affairs Columbia University; the School of Public Affairs at Sciences Po (please enquire at for the latest information); the Hertie School of Governance, Lee Kuan Yew School, National University of Singapore; and the Graduate School of Public Policy, University of Tokyo

*Except for students spending their second year at the University of Tokyo on the MPA dual degree programme. See 'MPA Dual Degree' in the main text for more information