Programmes

LSE - Columbia University (SIPA) Master of Public Administration (MPA) double degree

  • Graduate taught
  • School of Public Policy
  • Application code L2NY
  • Starting 2023
  • Home full-time: Open from October
  • Overseas full-time: Open from October
  • Location: Houghton Street, London, New York City

The Double Master of Public Administration (MPA) offers students the unique opportunity to study at two internationally renowned institutions, the LSE’s School of Public Policy, and Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA).

The double degree candidates will profit from the extensive resources available in London and New York City, as well as the global reach of the combined alumni networks of both schools. Throughout the two-year programme students will develop essential skills in core disciplines of public policy and will benefit from the resources, networks and opportunities of two historic institutions in the vibrant cities of London and New York.  

In their first year of study, students will experience being a part of LSE’s international community in the heart of London. They will draw upon the unique institutional strengths of LSE’s School of Public Policy to develop key skills in political science, economics and quantitative analysis alongside an understanding of the philosophical principles underlying good public policy. Students will complete their first year equipped with the skills and practical tools to be able to confidently analyse and address real-world policy challenges.  

The second year at SIPA will build upon the methodological skills gained at LSE and provide students with the substantive knowledge of a policy concentration. Through the completion of a Capstone Project, students will have the opportunity to gain professional experience and apply their learnings to a real-world problem in policy and management. Students will work in teams of 6-8 students to provide external clients with innovative analysis and practical recommendations based on the skills learned throughout their studies at LSE and Columbia University.

As they advance in their career, graduates will benefit from the expertise, resources and international alumni networks of both prestigious institutions and will be equipped with the skills and experience to confidently engage with complex policy issues in national and global policy making.  

Key features: 

  • Study at two prestigious institutions in two international cities – Year One at the London School of Economics and Political Science and Year Two at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) in New York.   
  • Academic core skills (Year 1 - LSE) - rigorous empirical training, particularly in micro- and macro-economics, political science and quantitative methods of analysis. 
  • Concentrations and specialisations (Year 2 – SIPA) – Students will tailor their learning by selecting a policy concentration and specialisation focused on a skill or area of specialised knowledge from the broad curriculum.
  • Capstone Project (Year 2 - SIPA) - an opportunity to engage on a live consulting project with external clients where students practically apply their learnings and work on a real-world policy challenge.
  • With diverse, international student bodies at both institutions, students benefit from being exposed to a range of different perspectives and the opportunity to be a part of an international community with alumni in over 150 countries.
  • Opportunity to qualify to apply for a post-study work visa in the USA -  STEM (Science, Technology and Mathematics) designation conveys recognition as a science, engineering, or math-intensive program, and it qualifies graduates who are on F-1 student visas to apply for up to three years of practical training through work experience in the United States after finishing their degree. Students can pursue a STEM  designated degree by pursuing the combined curriculum of the International Finance and Economic Policy concentration and the Data Analytics and Quantitative Analysis specialization in the Econometrics and Quantitative Economics field or the combined curriculum of the Energy and Environment concentration and the Data Analytics and Quantitative Analysis specialization in the Environmental Studies field.

Programme details

Key facts

LSE-Columbia (SIPA) Double Master of Public Administration (MPA) 
Start date September 2023
Application deadline 17 March 2023 at 5pm
Duration 21 months full-time only
Applications 2021 N/A
Intake 2021 N/A
Tuition fee Year one: £28,512 (2023 entry)
Year two:  $62,988 USD (provisional) (view Columbia fee webpages)
Financial support Graduate support scheme for LSE financial support (see 'Fees and funding') and eligibility for SIPA Assistantships in Year 2 which are awarded to selected second year students in the form of salary.
Minimum entry requirement

A minimum Upper Second Class (2:1) in the UK system, minimum CGPA of a mid-B and a minimum final year GPA of a B+ (3.3/4.0 GPA) or international equivalent grade, in any subject discipline

GRE/GMAT requirement None
English language requirements Higher (see 'Assessing your application')
Location  Houghton Street, London, UK (year one) and New York, USA (year two)
For more information about tuition fees and entry requirements, see the fees and funding and assessing your application sections.

Programme structure and courses

Preparation before your arrival

Prior to your arrival at LSE you will receive details about optional readings and online learning materials which are designed to help you to prepare for the programme. 

MPA Welcome & Introductory Teaching 

From mid-September (exact date TBC) you will need to attend MPA Double Degree welcome events and introductory teaching sessions. These will take place prior to the start of the LSE Michaelmas term dates. The welcome sessions include campus enrolment, a programme introduction and compulsory introductory teaching in mathematics and statistics.

If you have not studied mathematics and statistics for some time, the introductory teaching provides a challenging but accessible introduction to some of the key skills and techniques required for the degree. For other students, it serves as a refresher course.

London School of Economics and Political Science - Year one

In the first year, you will take four compulsory courses, in micro- and macro-economics, political science, quantitative methods of analysis, and philosophy for public policy. These provide a rigorous foundation to support you during the rest of the degree. 

(* denotes a half unit course)

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 Methods for Public Policy*
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. 

Philosophy for Public Policy *
This course has been designed to help you develop the skills and insight to apply philosophical reasoning to your understanding and practice of the 'craft of government'. It includes a strong grounding in moral and political philosophical principles and emphasises their application in modern policy-making toolkit. You will study a range of philosophical theories and concepts, then discuss and learn to evaluate them by focusing on specific policy proposals. Taught by leading LSE philosophers, the emphasis is on applying theory and concept in practical and policy-relevant ways. 

You are also required to choose one unit of courses from a list of choices to further develop core skills but in a direction you choose – see below. Your choice of option courses (electives) should be based on your academic strengths and interests.

Course options/electives: Courses to the value of one unit from the following course options.

 

For the most up-to-date list of optional courses please visit the relevant LSE 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 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.

 

Columbia University - School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) - Year 2 

Concentration and Specialization courses 

All students have to choose one concentration, consisting of five courses and one specialization, consisting of three courses. Students can choose to concentrate in Economic and Political Development, Energy and Environment, Human Rights and Humanitarian Policy, International Finance and Economic Policy, International Security Policy, or Urban and Social Policy. The list of specializations can be found at the following link: https://bulletin.columbia.edu/sipa/specializations/. The student’s second year curriculum will therefore be dependent on what they choose to concentrate and specialize in.

Capstone Workshop

All students are required to enrol in a faculty-supervised Capstone workshop which give them an opportunity to put learning into practice. More information can be found here: https://www.sipa.columbia.edu/academics/capstone-workshops

Assessment

Most courses are assessed with a combination of exams, written assignments, class participation, and group projects depending on what is best suited to the subject matter.

More information on assessment can be found here: https://bulletin.columbia.edu/sipa/teaching-guide/#teachingtext

 

Entry requirements

Minimum entry requirements 

A BA degree or equivalent in any discipline with the following classifications:

· A minimum Upper Second Class (2:1) in the UK system or international equivalent grade, in any subject discipline.

There is no formal requirement for previous professional work experience, but students starting the LSE MPA normally have one year of professional experience and many have two or more years of experience. Most successful applicants for the Columbia SIPA MPA have had at least three years of work or internship experience relevant to their intended course of study.

Candidates must also be able to provide proof of English Language Proficiency to LSE’s ‘Higher’ level.

Competition for places is high. This means that even if you meet the minimum entry requirement, this does not guarantee you an offer of admission.

If you have studied or are studying outside of the UK then have a look at our Information for International Students to find out the entry requirements that apply to you.

 

 

Assessing your application

When to apply

The application deadline is 5pm (UK) on 17 March 2023.

Application process

All applications are considered by an admissions panel composed of representatives from both LSE and Columbia SIPA. 

We welcome applications from all suitably qualified prospective students and want to recruit students with the very best academic merit, potential and motivation, irrespective of their background.

We carefully consider each application on an individual basis, taking into account all the information presented on your application form, including your:

- academic achievement (including predicted and achieved grades)
- relevant professional experience
- statement of academic purpose
- two references
- CV

See further information on supporting documents

You may also have to provide evidence of your English proficiency, although you do not need to provide this at the time of your application to LSE. See our English language requirements.

 

Data sharing

Double degrees and certain other degrees and scholarships require that LSE shares personal data with another university or partner. In our agreements we will use the School’s standard data sharing template for universities and partners in the EU and EEA and in an adequate countryStandard contract clauses will be used for any other country. If you have any questions about this or how your personal data will be treated by LSE, please contact the Data Protection Officer, Rachael Maguire, via glpd.info.rights@lse.ac.uk or check our Student Privacy Notice.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees 2023/24 

Year one (LSE): £28,512 (2023/24)
Year two (Columbia - SIPA): $62,988 USD (view Columbia fees webpages) (provisional)

Funding for first year at London School of Economics & Political Science

Every graduate student is charged a fee for their programme.

The year one LSE fee covers registration and examination fees payable to the School, lectures, classes and individual supervision, lectures given at other colleges under intercollegiate arrangements and, under current arrangements, membership of the Students' Union. It does not cover living costs or travel or fieldwork.

Fee status

For this programme, the LSE tuition fee is the same for all students regardless of their fee status. However, any financial support you are eligible for will depend on whether you are classified as a home or as an overseas student, otherwise known as your fee status. LSE assesses your fee status based on guidelines provided by the Department of Education.

Further information about fee status classification.

Fee reductions

Students who completed undergraduate study at LSE and are beginning taught graduate study at the School are eligible for a fee reduction of around 10 per cent of the fee.

Scholarships and other funding

Funding for the first year at LSE

This programme is eligible for needs-based awards from LSE, including the Graduate Support SchemeMaster's Awards, and Anniversary Scholarships. You must apply for these needs-based awards from LSE, during your first year of study. Selection for any funding opportunity is based on receipt of an offer for a place and submitting a Graduate Financial Support application, before the funding deadline. Funding deadline for needs-based awards from LSE: 27 April 2023.

In addition to our needs-based awards, LSE also makes available scholarships for students from specific regions of the world and awards for students studying specific subject areas. Find out more about financial support.

Government tuition fee loans and external funding

A postgraduate loan is available from the UK government for eligible students studying for a first master’s programme, to help with fees and living costs. Some other governments and organisations also offer tuition fee loan schemes.

Find out more about tuition fee loans

Further information

Fees and funding opportunities

Funding for the second year at Columbia University (SIPA)

SIPA funding is awarded without regard to citizenship, and many international students receive fellowships, scholarships and assistantships while enrolled at SIPA. 

Students may be eligibility for SIPA Assistantships. Find out more information: https://www.sipa.columbia.edu/admissions/financial-aid/sipa-columbia-university-funding or https://www.sipa.columbia.edu/students/resources

Information for international students

LSE is an international community, with over 140 nationalities represented amongst its student body. We celebrate this diversity through everything we do.  

If you are applying to LSE from outside of the UK then take a look at our Information for International students

1) Take a note of the UK qualifications we require for your programme of interest (found in the ‘Entry requirements’ section of this page). 

2) Go to the International Students section of our website. 

3) Select your country. 

4) Select ‘Graduate entry requirements’ and scroll until you arrive at the information about your local/national qualification. Compare the stated UK entry requirements listed on this page with the local/national entry requirement listed on your country specific page 

Teaching and assessment

Assessment at LSE

Teaching hours vary according to courses and you can view indicative details in the Calendar within the Teaching section of each course guide.

All taught courses include formative coursework which does not contribute towards the final grade. It is designed to help prepare you for summative assessment which counts towards the course mark and to the degree award. We use a range of formative assessment, such as essays, problem sets, case studies, reports, quizzes, mock exams and many others. Summative assessment may be conducted during the course or by final examination at the end of the course. An indication of the formative coursework and summative assessment for each course can be found in the relevant course guide.

Assessment at Columbia

Most courses are assessed with a combination of exams, written assignments, class participation, and group projects depending on what is best suited to the subject matter. 

More information on assessment can be found here: https://bulletin.columbia.edu/sipa/teaching-guide/#teachingtext

Student support and resources

We’re here to help and support you throughout your time at LSE, whether you need help with your academic studies, support with your welfare and wellbeing or simply to develop on a personal and professional level.

Whatever your query, big or small, there are a range of people you can speak to who will be happy to help.  

Department librarians – they will be able to help you navigate the library and maximise its resources during your studies. 

Accommodation service – they can offer advice on living in halls and offer guidance on private accommodation related queries.

Class teachers and seminar leaders – they will be able to assist with queries relating to specific courses. 

Disability and Wellbeing Service – they are experts in long-term health conditions, sensory impairments, mental health and specific learning difficulties. They offer confidential and free services such as student counselling, a peer support scheme and arranging exam adjustments. They run groups and workshops. 

IT help – support is available 24 hours a day to assist with all your technology queries.  

LSE Faith Centre – this is home to LSE's diverse religious activities and transformational interfaith leadership programmes, as well as a space for worship, prayer and quiet reflection. It includes Islamic prayer rooms and a main space for worship. It is also a space for wellbeing classes on campus and is open to all students and staff from all faiths and none.  

Language Centre – the Centre specialises in offering language courses targeted to the needs of students and practitioners in the social sciences. We offer pre-course English for Academic Purposes programmes; English language support during your studies; modern language courses in nine languages; proofreading, translation and document authentication; and language learning community activities.

LSE Careers ­– with the help of LSE Careers, you can make the most of the opportunities that London has to offer. Whatever your career plans, LSE Careers will work with you, connecting you to opportunities and experiences from internships and volunteering to networking events and employer and alumni insights. 

LSE Library  founded in 1896, the British Library of Political and Economic Science is the major international library of the social sciences. It stays open late, has lots of excellent resources and is a great place to study. As an LSE student, you’ll have access to a number of other academic libraries in Greater London and nationwide. 

LSE LIFE – this is where you should go to develop skills you’ll use as a student and beyond. The centre runs talks and workshops on skills you’ll find useful in the classroom; offers one-to-one sessions with study advisers who can help you with reading, making notes, writing, research and exam revision; and provides drop-in sessions for academic and personal support. (See ‘Teaching and assessment’). 

LSE Students’ Union (LSESU) – they offer academic, personal and financial advice and funding. 

PhD Academy – this is available for PhD students, wherever they are, to take part in interdisciplinary events and other professional development activities and access all the services related to their registration. 

Sardinia House Dental Practice – this offers discounted private dental services to LSE students. 

St Philips Medical Centre – based in Pethwick-Lawrence House, the Centre provides NHS Primary Care services to registered patients.

Student Services Centre – our staff here can answer general queries and can point you in the direction of other LSE services.  

Student advocates and advisers – we have a School Senior Advocate for Students and an Adviser to Women Students who can help with academic and pastoral matters.

Student life

Studying at LSE in London (Year 1)

LSE is based on one campus in the centre of London. Despite the busy feel of the surrounding area, many of the streets around campus are pedestrianised, meaning the campus feels like a real community. 

Your time at LSE is not just about studying, there are plenty of ways to get involved in extracurricular activities. From joining one of over 200 societies, or starting your own society, to volunteering for a local charity, or attending a public lecture by a world-leading figure, there is a lot to choose from.

The School of Public Policy at LSE also has an active student community. The Association of Public Policy Students (APPS) is an elected body of students that serve as a resource for the student community. Throughout the academic year, the APPS’s numerous committees and initiatives provide opportunities for students to engage with other classmates in professional and social activities. The APPS fosters links and togetherness between the student community - past, present and future. 

London is an exciting, vibrant and colourful city. It's also an academic city, with more than 400,000 university students. Whatever your interests or appetite you will find something to suit your palate and pocket in this truly international capital. Make the most of career opportunities and social activities, theatre, museums, music and more. Read why we think London is a fantastic student city, find out about key sights, places and experiences for new Londoners. Don't fear, London doesn't have to be super expensive: hear about London on a budget

You can also discover more about being an LSE student - meet us in a city near you, visit our campus or experience LSE from home. Webinars, videos, student blogs and student video diaries will help you gain an insight into what it's like to study at LSE for those that aren't able to make it to our campus. Experience LSE from home I Find out about opportunities to visit LSE

 

Studying at Columbia University (SIPA) in New York (Year 2)

Renowned for its parks, theatres, museums, restaurants, and cultural events, New York City is an incredibly exciting and dynamic place to live. Exploring the city is one of the great joys of being part of the Columbia community.

As a student at Columbia University you'll participate in a practicum designed to meet the needs of real-world clients. You'll hear from visiting heads of state, government leaders, and business executives. You can gain experience during the semester as an intern—at the United Nations, a major private company, or a small non-profit organization. In New York City and around the world, SIPA students see the impact of public policy and apply the lessons to the next challenge. 

One of the integral functions of the Office of Student Affairs at SIPA is supporting and facilitating co-curricular activities and opportunities which will enhance your life on campus. A vibrant array of student groups organize programming on a variety of issues in international and public affairs, along with social events and community service. Learn about SIPA networking resources, publications, and campus services that will add value to your graduate school experience. Find out more here.

Careers

Support for your career

The LSE-Columbia (SIPA) MPA double degree provides students with the opportunity to develop professional skills and experience to give them a head start over other graduates in seeking post-study employment in a relevant sector. The double degree is an excellent career decision with many global employers attracted to both the intellectual rigour and the practical applications of the course. The degree equips professionals with the skills to make an immediate impact for employers in the public sector, private companies, non-governmental and inter-governmental organisations around the world.

Students will benefit from the careers support, resources and networks of both prestigious institutions. 

London School of Economics and Political Science

LSE Careers Consultants make sure that you get the best possible support in developing your career plans during your time studying. Whether you know already the career you are aiming for, or simply the general direction you want they can help guide and develop your ideas to present your skills and experience to employers in the best possible way.

In particular students at LSE have access to:

  • careers discussions with the School of Public Policy's Careers Consultant
  • a weekly Careers newsletter, compiled by a student employee, with relevant short-term and long-term opportunities
  • MPA-only discussions to employers (often MPA alumni) including through visits to offices to discuss career options and learn about different employment sectors
  • specialist careers seminars run by LSE Careers, including sessions on CVs and cover letters, career management, networking, interviews and advice specific to particular employment sectors
  • access to LSE Careerhub, with thousands of short-term and long-term opportunities including internships

The MPA also offers an extensive and tailored programme of Professional Skills for Public Policy (PSPP). This includes a series of weekend workshops throughout the degree, giving students a chance to gain accreditation in different areas of PSPP. These focus on key aspects of your development as a public policy professional, e.g., communicating for public policy, decision-making, negotiation, and leadership.

Many leading organisations give careers presentations at the School during the year. LSE Careers has a wide range of resources available to assist students in their job search. Find out more about the support available.

Columbia University - School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA)

Through career advising, a professional development course, career events, recruitment and employer outreach programs, and networking opportunities, the Career Advancement Center provides students and alumni with the necessary tools to successfully manage their professional development throughout their careers.

Find out more about careers support and resources at SIPA: Career Advancement Center | Columbia SIPA

Contact us

Programme and admissions enquiries

If you have any programme or admissions queries which are not answered on the website, please contact the team.

Admissions queries: Contact Graduate Admissions (lse.ac.uk)

Year 1 programme (LSE) queries: Double Degree Programmes at London School of Economics and Political Science Email: spp.doubledegrees@lse.ac.uk

Year 2 programme (Columbia SIPA) queries Email: Alleyne Waysome aaw54@sipa.columbia.edu or Urbano Garza utg1@sipa.columbia.edu

 

 

Find out more about LSE

Discover more about being an LSE student - meet us in a city near you, visit our campus or experience LSE from home. 

Experience LSE from home

Webinars, videos, student blogs and student video diaries will help you gain an insight into what it's like to study at LSE for those that aren't able to make it to our campus. Experience LSE from home

Visit LSE

Come on a guided campus tour, attend an undergraduate open day, drop into our office or go on a self-guided tour. Find out about opportunities to visit LSE

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Student Marketing, Recruitment and Study Abroad travels throughout the UK and around the world to meet with prospective students. We visit schools, attend education fairs and also hold Destination LSE events: pre-departure events for offer holders. Find details on LSE's upcoming visits

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