Before your arrival
From June to September prior to your arrival at LSE, you will have the opportunity to study three online pre-arrival modules:
- A module about public policy theories and concepts
- A module giving an overview of academic writing skills
- A module about some of the key mathematical and statistical skills that underpin the MPA
These modules are not compulsory but you are strongly recommended to complete them as they are the best preparation for the MPA. These modules highlight the knowledge and skills needed to maximise your chances of success on the MPA.
MPA Introductory Course
Registration for the degree is on Monday 13 September 2021 and all students are expected to attend. This is followed by a compulsory two-week Introductory Course in mathematics and statistics which will start on Tuesday 14 September 2021. If you have not studied these subjects for some time, the Introductory Course provides a challenging but accessible introduction to some of the key skills and techniques required for the MPA degree. For other students, it serves as a refresher course. There is a diagnostic exercise at the end of the Introductory Course which students use to evaluate their own learning needs.
In the first year, you will take three compulsory courses, in micro- and macro-economics, political science and quantitative methods of analysis. These provide a rigorous foundation to support you in your second year. Your choice of option courses (electives) should be based on your academic strengths and interests.
Micro and Macro Economics for Public Policy
You will learn macro- and micro- economic concepts, models and methods suitable for appraising policy, applicable in a wide variety of contexts. This includes the study of demand and supply, the labour market, public goods, market failure, inflation and monetary policy, fiscal policy and debt, and exchange rates.
Political Science and Public Policy
You will learn concepts and models for understanding the behaviour of political actors and why they lead to particular outcomes. This includes the study of voting, political parties, interest groups, legislative politics, corruption, democratisation and ethnic conflict. These tools are essential for designing policy interventions to achieve desired future outcomes.
Quantitative Approaches and Policy Analysis
You will learn skills for the quantitative evaluation of public policies, such as causal relationships; randomised control trials; difference-in-difference estimation; instrumental variables; regression discontinuity designs and cost-benefit analysis.
Courses to the value of one unit from a range of options
The two key features of the second year are the MPA Capstone, and the option to choose a specialisation to be a part of your degree title. You will also choose a range of option courses (electives) from the School of Public Policy (or elsewhere to in LSE, subject to permission and availability).
The MPA Capstone
The MPA Capstone is a compulsory one unit course. You will learn to carry out analysis and research, as part of a team, in order to address a practical policy issue relevant to a real-life client organisation. It allows you to extend your capabilities by applying what you have learned in the MPA core courses in a professional context.
You can either choose to pursue a general MPA or you can request that one of the following specialisms is added to your degree title (eg, MPA Economic Policy or MPA Social Impact).
The current specialisms are:
- Economic Policy
- International Development
- Inequality and Poverty
- Social Impact
- International Political Economy
Each specialism has one or more courses attached to it (please refer to the programme regulations for details). To be eligible for a specialism to be added to your degree title, you must meet the requirements to be eligible for the overall degree and pass the courses attached to your chosen specialism. You can only choose one specialism.
In addition, you will also take a number of option courses (electives) from a wide range available in the School of Public Policy or (with permission and subject to availability) from elsewhere in LSE. Alternatively, you may choose to write an Policy Paper (6.000 words) or a Dissertation (10,000 words) as an option course. Your choice should be based on your strengths and interests.
For the most up-to-date list of optional courses please visit the relevant School Calendar page.
You must note however that while care has been taken to ensure that this information is up to date and correct, a change of circumstances since publication may cause the School to change, suspend or withdraw a course or programme of study, or change the fees that apply to it. The School will always notify the affected parties as early as practicably possible and propose any viable and relevant alternative options. Note that that 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 events outside of its control, which includes but is not limited to a lack of demand for a course or programme of study, industrial action, fire, flood or other environmental or physical damage to premises.
You must also note that places are limited on some courses and/or subject to specific entry requirements. The School cannot therefore guarantee you a place. Please note that changes to programmes and courses can sometimes occur after you have accepted your offer of a place. These changes are normally made in light of developments in the discipline or path-breaking research, or on the basis of student feedback. Changes can take the form of altered course content, teaching formats or assessment modes. Any such changes are intended to enhance the student learning experience. 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.