The University of Southampton
Social Sciences: Politics & International RelationsPart of Social SciencesPostgraduate study

Master of Public Administration

The Master of Public Administration provides you with the knowledge and skills to analyse and manage processes of governance, policy-making, and administration at many levels of government, from local to national to global.

Introducing your degree

You will choose among a variety of modules that allow you to explore the many dimensions of modern policy-making and administration, the nature of public policy design and delivery, the strategies that public and non-profit organisations use to respond to major policy problems and dilemmas, and the social effects of policy choices. You will receive training in research design and will undertake individual, original research as part of your dissertation.



The programme is rooted in an interdisciplinary approach to the study and practice of Public Administration. All students follow core modules in Comparative Public Administration and Research Methods and then choose from a range of optional modules within the Social Sciences. This approach provides the necessary grounding in the academic study of Public Administration while allowing students to assemble a course that meets their substantive interests.

The Master of Public Administration (Practice) programme requires you to undertake a placement at a public sector or non-profit agency or organisation.

To Apply

You should apply using the University's online application form. You can find more details on our Apply page.

Applications can be submitted at any time, although we would encourage applicants to apply before the end of May. If you are seeking financial support for your postgraduate studies, we recommend that you apply before the end of February so you have time to gather the necessary documentation for your funding body/sponsor.

Master modules
If applying for one of our Master programmes, please specify the option modules you intend to take, if known.

For all applications, two academic references are required. Unfortunately, we cannot consider applications until we have received both references.

Programme Structure

The 12-month Master of Public Administration includes six modules and a dissertation. Two modules are compulsory: the core module, Comparative Public Administration, provides the conceptual and theoretical foundations necessary for the study of Public Administration. The second, Research Design & Practice, provides the methodological training necessary to complete the dissertation. Students then choose four modules from among the option modules and complete their dissertation.

The 20-month Master of Public Administration (Practice) includes six modules, a placement module and a dissertation. Two modules are core:, the first Comparative Public Administration provides the conceptual and theoretical foundations necessary for the study of Public Administration.  The second, Placement in Public Administration, requires participants to complete a placement at a governmental or non-profit organisation. A third module, Research Design & Practice is compulsory and provides the methodological training necessary to complete the dissertation. Students choose four modules from among the option modules (see diagram below) and complete their dissertation.

Related Staff Member

Entry Requirements

Typical entry requirements

Requirements Bachelors Degree

The normal criterion for admission is an upper second class honours degree in a relevant subject (social sciences, economics, history, and cognate fields) from a UK university or an equivalent qualification.

Selection process

Intake: 15

Entry is not confined to students who have studied politics or international relations before. Each year, we offer places to a number of students from other subject areas in the social sciences and humanities.

We also admit some students from science backgrounds, although we may want to interview such applicants before offering a place on the programme.

We also welcome applications from those who have relevant work experience and/or who have been away from education for some time, and such applicants are considered on a case-by-case basis. Applicants with relevant work experience in public administration will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

This page contains specific entry requirements for this course. Find out about equivalent entry requirements and qualifications for your country.


Typical course content

The structure of the programme and the modules currently offered are set out below. Of the modules shown against each part of your programme, some are compulsory (ie enrolment is automatic) and others are options. Within each part, you are directed to which modules are compulsory and which are options. The option modules shown below constitute an indicative list; there will always be choice but the options might vary between years. A full list of modules and rules will be available to you via the Student Record Self-Service system once you enrol at the University.

Year 1

Semester One
RESM6002Credit: 10
PAIR6036Credit: 20
CRIM6004Credit: 20
SOCI6045Credit: 20
PAIR6040Credit: 20
PAIR6039Credit: 20
SOCI6046Credit: 20
SOCI6047Credit: 20
DEMO6023Credit: 10
PAIR6009Credit: 20
RESM6003Credit: 10
RESM6004Credit: 10
SOCI6043Credit: 20

Master of Public Administration (Practice) only below

Placement in Public Administration

Please note: This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the programme and the learning outcomes that a typical student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if s/he takes full advantage of the learning opportunities that are provided. More detailed information can be found in the programme handbook (or other appropriate guide or website).

Fees & funding

Tuition fees

Fees for postgraduate taught courses vary across the University. All fees are listed for UK, EU and international full-time and part-time students alphabetically by course name.

View the full list of course fees


Scholarships, bursaries, sponsorships or grants may be available to support you through your course. Funding opportunities available to you are linked to your subject area and/or your country of origin. These can be from the University of Southampton or other sources.

Explore funding opportunities

Costs associated with this course

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In some cases you'll be able to choose modules (which may have different costs associated with that module) which will change the overall cost of a programme to you. Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

Career Opportunities

The Master of Public Administration provides students with the skills and knowledge necessary to seek employment in both academic and applied settings. Graduates will be qualified to pursue a PhD in Public Administration or a related field, work in research organisations in the public, non-profit and private sector, and undertake employment as a manager or analyst in the public or non-profit sector.

Learning & Assessment

Study locations

Hartley Library

Highfield campus

Social Sciences is based on the main campus of the University in the M...Find out more

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