MPA Curriculum

Enhancing skills, advancing careers

The MPA is an immersive learning experience, which will provide you with the necessary skills and knowledge to address today’s most pressing public policy problems.

At a time when the practice of good governance is being eroded, experts derided and societies polarized, the LSE School of Public Policy is committed to the promotion of democratic values and the use of reasoned judgement in the pursuit of public service.

Professor Andrés Velasco, Dean of the School of Public Policy

During your first year, we will equip you with the foundational skills for public policy research, including coursework in empirical methods, political science, and economic analysis. As a second-year MPA student, you can choose to specialise your degree toward a particular field if you wish to. 

The MPA degree includes the completion of a six-month Capstone project, which allows students to apply their newly acquired skills, by completing a detailed investigation of a public policy problem for an external client. 


Prior to arriving at LSE, you are given access to a selection of online modules, which will help you transition into our MPA programme.

The pre-arrival modules will include the following:

1. A module examining public policy theories and concepts.

2. A module providing an overview of academic writing skills.

3. A module about some of the key mathematical and statistical skills that underpin the MPA degree.

While these modules are not compulsory, they are highly useful in preparing you for the MPA degree and School of Public Policy.

Introductory Course

You will begin your two-year MPA programme with a compulsory two-week introductory course in mathematics and statistics. For those who have not studied these subjects for some time, this introductory course provides a challenging, yet accessible, introduction to the key skills required for the MPA degree.

If you have a mathematical background, this introductory course will serve as a refresher. At the end of the course, we will provide you with a diagnostic assessment, which will help you prioritise your future learning needs in mathematics and statistics.

Year One

Core courses

In your first year, you will complete three core courses, which provide an in-depth explanation of the foundational subjects of your degree. You can find links to the required core courses below:

(PP478) Political Science for Public Policy

You will conduct empirical analyses and consider theoretical concepts to further understand important political phenomena, including political behaviour, political elections, and political outcomes.

(PP440) Micro and Macro Economics for Public Policy

You will learn macro- and microeconomic concepts, models, and methods suitable for appraising policy, applicable in a wide variety of contexts.

(PP455) Quantitative Approaches and Policy Analysis

You 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.

Option Courses

You will also complete one unit of option courses (electives) offered by the School of Public Policy or (with permission and subject to availability) elsewhere in LSE, as a first-year MPA student. Please click here to see what option courses can you take from within School of Public Policy.

Year Two

You will take four units of courses in your second year. Your only compulsory course is the MPA Capstone. The remaining three units will be made up of option courses. By taking and passing specific courses you will have an option to add a specialism to your degree. You are not required to do this and if you prefer, you can graduate with an MPA degree without any specialism.

The MPA Capstone

The MPA Capstone is a compulsory one unit course, which will provide you with an opportunity to apply your knowledge and skills for a real client organisation. As part of this project, you will research and analyse solutions for public policy issues faced by a notable public or private organisation.

In the past, a wide variety of organisations have hosted Capstone projects, including Boston Consulting Group, DFID, OCED, UNESCO, and the Gates Foundation.


To be eligible for a specialism, you must pass the required courses in that specialism. You may only specialise in one particular field.

You can specialise your degree in one of the following fields:

Option Courses

As a second-year MPA student, you can select a number of option courses (electives) offered by the School of Public Policy, or (with permission and subject to availability) elsewhere in LSE.

As part of your option courses you can choose to write a Policy Paper (6,000 words) or Dissertation (10,000 words), though neither is required. Based upon your academic interests and career aspirations, you can choose which is right for you.