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Making sense of policy

Making sense of policy

The Executive MPA is a degree for working professionals with at least 5 years of post-degree experience. It is designed to provide students with rigorous interdisciplinary training in economics and political science.

The EMPA has been developed specifically for professionals in government departments, public agencies and the private sector who are seeking a formal graduate qualification in public administration and policy-making. It brings together LSE's unrivalled expertise in the social sciences with individual and group working experience of public sector problems, policies and management.

A modular format

Students complete 8 modules over the 22 month duration. The programme comprises an Introduction to Public Policy module, 3 core modules, 2 option modules and 2 Policy in Practice workshops plus a non-assessed Introduction to Statistics workshop. The core modules develop skills for political and economic analysis of public policy, as well as quantitative methods. These skills are then applied to current policy challenges in a series of Policy in Practice workshops.

The two week-long option modules, taken during the second year, provide students with the flexibility to customise their curriculum. This flexibility provides an opportunity for students to develop new skills, pursue personal and professional interests, or add depth to existing knowledge.

Students must complete all modules marked as CORE and 2 of the modules marked as OPTION from the list below.

Core modules - September 2024 intake (exact dates TBC)

Introduction to Public Policy

September 2024

This course provides you with the foundations for analysing public policy questions. We will introduce how and why to study policy problems and solutions analytically and systematically. You’ll learn how to think about handling situations where there are competing interests and how incentives affect behaviour, and you’ll learn when markets deliver good outcomes and, more importantly, when they don’t thus justifying intervention or regulation. 

Introduction to Statistics

September 2024 

For some of you who have been out of education for a while, or who do not use maths and statistics in their day-to-day jobs, this course ensures that you are ready to undertake the EMPA programme at LSE by quickly and effectively bringing you up to the necessary level required to understand the concepts discussed in the courses.

Political Science for Public Policy

October 2024 

This course introduces a range of theoretical and empirical tools to analyse the politics of public policy making. The main focus is on political institutions in modern democracies and how they relate to public policy.

Topics include elections, representation, delegation, accountability, interest groups, legislatures, executives and decentralisation.


 Empirical Methods for Public Policy

January 2025 

The course introduces students to the quantitative evaluation of public policies. The focus of the course will be on practical applications of state of the art empirical methods.

The course begins with an overview of the key benefits of randomised experiments and then covers a number of other widely used approaches to determine the effectiveness of public policy interventions.


Economic Policy Analysis

April 2025

The course is an introductory graduate course providing an economics background suitable for high-level public policy making. The emphasis is on acquiring sound models and methods suitable for appraising policy-making issues and applicable in a wide variety of context.

The course will cover both key microeconomic policy issues and macroeconomic issues. 

Policy in Practice Workshop I

May 2025

The policy workshops apply the analytical tools that are taught in the week-long modules of the Executive MPA to specific policy areas. Teaching is based on a series of case studies. The case studies are taught by specialists in a particular policy area and are complemented with group working sessions by the students and presentations by policy practitioners involved in the policy area. 

Policy in Practice Workshop II

May 2026 

The policy workshop applies the analytical tools that are taught in the week-long modules of the Executive MPA to specific policy areas. Teaching is based on a series of case studies. The case studies are taught by specialists in a particular policy area and are complemented with group working sessions by the students and presentations by policy practitioners involved in the policy area.

Option modules 

Option: Public Economics 

September 2025 

This module provides an introduction to the field of public economics. The module covers all the main areas or research in public economics, including tax policy, transfer policy, social insurance, pensions, minimum wages, child care provision, parental leave policy, regulation, and public goods.

All of the topics are motivated by current policy questions, and we look at both the empirical and theoretical evidence bearing on these questions. At the end of the module, the participants will have a clear understanding of what we know and don’t know in most areas of public economics, as well as an understanding of the methodologies used to produce these insights.

Option: Global Market Economics 

November 2025 

This course focuses on the economic interdependence between countries in a global economy.

The first part of the course examines the structure and geography of world trade and examines popular hypothesis such as the "global village" or "flat earth". The second part of the course analyses macroeconomic issues such as the magnitude and effects of international capital flows, the debate over fixed versus flexible exchange rates and the economics of a common currency. 

Option: Regulatory Analysis 

January 2026 

This course provides the analytical tools to evaluate public policy interventions with respect to both efficiency and equity.

The first part of the course provides students with the analytical tools to assess the efficiency of public policy interventions through examples based on a range of topics including health, education, crime, social services and social care. The second part focuses on issues of inequality and poverty.

Option: Fiscal Governance and Budgeting 

February 2026 

The course examines contemporary issues in fiscal governance with a focus on the institutional structures that shape budgetary choices.

Following an introduction to theoretical approaches to the study of budgeting, topics include medium-term frameworks, top-down budgeting, fiscal rules and fiscal councils, performance budgeting, legislative budgeting, fiscal decentralisation, budget transparency, audit and accountability.

Option: Development Economics 

April 2026

The main focus of this course is on acquiring the necessary theoretical and empirical skills to engage in the rigorous analysis of public policies in developing countries.

Topics at the forefront of development economics will be covered. These include political economy, trade liberalisation, growth, access to finance, technology adoption, education, health, infrastructure, property rights, land reform, gender, environment, mass media and political accountability.