Public Administration, 2015-2016

Public Administration, 2015-2016
The MSc Public Administration offers 3 tracks (specialisations)
1. International and European Governance (IEG)
2. Public Management: Between Politics and Policy (PM)
3. Governing Markets: Regulation and Competition (GM)

This master’s is a fulltime day programme taught in English.

  • Every student of Public Administration takes two substantive core courses: Public Institutions, and Public Policy and Values (10 ECTS).

  • Besides the core courses, each student takes the skills oriented courses Research Design, and Research Methods (10 ECTS).

  • In addition, students take three substantive track specialization courses (15 ECTS) and an elective (5 ECTS).

  • Students conduct original research on a topic of their choice within their track and present their results in a thesis (20 ECTS).

You can find the link to 1) the timetable and 2) the programme overview on the right side of this page. Use this timetable to select your courses.
Only students of the MSc Public Administration can participate in the courses of Public Administration


Outline programme

The Institute of Public Administration focuses on the functioning of various political-administrative systems locally, nationally, and internationally, the relationship between politics and administration, the organisation of the civil service, issues of ethics, and policy analysis. Special emphasis is placed on the importance of institutions for the functioning and reform of political-administrative processes.

The Master’s program in Public Administration builds on topical research in public sector management, public policy, domestic and international and European governance. Students following this program can choose between the specializations:

  • Governing Markets: regulation and competition
  • International and European Governance
  • Public Management: Between Politics and Policy

The program provides students with in-depth understanding of the functioning of administrations in Europe, at the national level, in comparison with other European countries and in the multi level context of the European Union. Several core courses ensure that students master the most important theoretical and analytical approaches in the analysis of institutions, as well as essential analytical skills. Specialization and elective courses allow students to learn more about performance evaluation and networking in the public sector, the relationship between politicians and civil servants, international organizations and their approaches to governance or the way public policy is made and implemented in the European Union’s multi level system.


The track International and European governance explores the challenges for governance in conditions of globalisation.
The programme provides a solid foundation of core public administration courses Public Institutions and Public Policy and Values, which introduce classical and current debates on institutions and governance across multiple layers of jurisdiction.
Next to these, the specialisation courses help students develop an understanding of the role played by international organisations in helping governments cope with the consequences of globalisation, but also in creating new rules and policies that affect the tasks of national and local administrations.
Within this broader theme, specialisation courses deal with a selection of important topics analysing the challenges of governing above and across national borders: decision making in the European Union, EU policies and their effects on the national arena, the role of other international organisations such as the IMF and the World Bank in setting standards for good governance and in promoting reform, global efforts in supporting development and/or democratisation.
NB. Students who started February 2015 take the following courses in block 1 (if you’re not sure which courses to take, please contact the study advisor):
• Public Institutions
• Two specialisation courses


Public Management: Between Politics and Policy (PM)
Students who are enrolled in this track examine public policy and governance from an organizational and managerial perspective. The management of public organizations is vital to the effectiveness of public policies since policy outputs and outcomes are to be generated by public organizations, often within complex networks with other public, non-profit and private sector organizations. Therefore, effectively addressing societal challenges boils down to the daily work of public managers and their employees. What aspects of management can be distinguished? When and how does management contribute to public performance? And, how can organizational goals, employees’ interests and wider extra-organizational interests be bridged? These questions are at the core of the Public Management track of the MPA. The programme builds on a solid foundation of core courses Public Institutions and Public Policy and Values, that provide students with understanding of state of the art research in policy making, from agenda setting to implementation, management and political- administrative relations.
Specialization courses in the PM track build on this foundation and center on the external and internal management of public organizations. Together with the lecturers students will examine core themes in public management, such as management and public service performance, managerial networking, change management, public leadership, human resource management, workforce diversity and representativeness, and employee motivation and behaviour. Students acquire knowledge and understanding of the key concepts and theories of public management as well as of state-of-the-art academic research. In addition, they develop the professional skills to use their knowledge in responding to management challenges in international, national and local public organizational settings.
NB. Students who started February 2015 take the following courses in block 1 (if you’re not sure which courses to take, please contact the study advisor):
• Public Institutions
• Managing for Performance
• Co-production and Citizen Engagement


The MSc in Governing Markets: Regulation and Competition explores the interface between public authority and markets. When is government regulation needed? What type of a regulatory instrument to choose in order to address a policy problem? And more broadly, what is the relationship between states and markets? These questions are the focal point of our programme.
The specialisation Governing Markets: Regulation and Competition is offered jointly by the department of Economics and the department of Public Administration. This track focuses on the interface between public authority and markets. Interaction between regulation and market is essential, as illustrated by recent problems with the financial sector, food security or public health. What do governments regulate and why? How to achieve good regulation that does not curb competition and overburden society? How to make sense of the complexity with multiple levels of rule-making and a variety of regulatory agencies?
Our specialisation courses examine regulation from the economic perspective as well as from the policy and administration perspective. The economics courses help to conceptualise when regulation is needed and what kind of regulation would make markets work efficiently. Additionally we will discuss what markets are, how they are rooted in societal ideas and institutional frameworks, and how the relationship between states and markets varies in the world. The specialisation offers a solid conceptual foundation for designing an effective regulatory framework, and it makes an active use of current regulatory dilemmas and challenges to advance students’ critical thinking.
The specialization course ‘Regulation and Governance’ (block I) and ‘Economics of Regulation’ (block III) are mandatory for all GM students.

NB. Students who started February 2015 take the following courses in block 1 (if you’re not sure which courses to take, please contact the study advisor):
• Public Institutions
• One specialization course: Regulation and Governance or Economic Analysis of Competition Policy

Transitional arrangements

Transitional arrangements Public Administration 2015-2016

  • The course Report and Presentation is replaced by the course Research Methods
  • The courses Public Values and Public Management are replaced by the course Public Policy and Values*.
  • The course Public Policy is replaced by the course Public Institutions*.
    (*) if students have a valid reason why they cannot take one or both of the substitute courses, please contact the Study Advisors

  • Specialisation courses and electives that are no longer offered can be replaced by other specialization courses and electives as long as those courses have no more than 35 participants.

Research Master

Students enrolled in the Public Administration master who would like to explore the possibility of joining a more challenging 2-year Research Master’s programme can consider enrolment in the research master Political Science and Public Administration in February 2016.

In the first semester of 2015-16, students that are already enrolled in the research master (Public Administration track) follow courses together with students who are enrolled in the master Public Administration. Like students in the Public Administration master, research master students follow general courses, track courses, and electives. Because the courses in the first semester overlap, students in the Public Administration master have the possibility to enroll in the research master in February 2016 without any loss of time: you do not have to make any changes in your current curriculum. If you decide to enroll in the research master after block 2, the 30 ECTS that you have obtained in the first semester count as 30 ECTS in the (2-year) research master. If you decide not to enroll after all, the 30 ECTS count as ECTS in your regular programme, just as they would have otherwise.

However, the courses that you follow in the first semester will be more challenging. Although they are the same courses, research master students and Public Administration master students that consider enrolment in February 2016 will be required to do more reading and to do extra assignments. The ‘surplus’ program required for these students is course specific. You can ask your course coordinator(s) about the details.

Additionally, you follow a research seminar in blocks 1 and 2. This seminar runs parallel to your regular master programme. No ECTS are obtained through this seminar, and no formal exams are to be made, but attendance of and preparation for the meetings is required. In the research seminars, students get acquainted with state-of-the-art research in public administration through presentation and discussion of ongoing research conducted by staff in the department. The schedule for the research seminars can be found in the time table on the right of the screen.

For more information on the research master Political Science and Public Administration, click here masters in leiden

To be able to enroll in the research master in February 2016, there is an additional application deadline on December 1st 2015.

If you are interested in the Research master and you consider to make use of this opportunity, please contact the study advisors as soon as possible to enlist and, if necessary, to discuss the consequences for your individual study programme. We advise you to contact them as soon as possible via study advisors