Public Administration, 2016-2017

Public Administration, 2016-2017

The MSc Public Administration offers 3 specialisations:
1. International and European Governance (IEG)
2. Public Management: Between Politics and Policy (PM)
3. Economics and Governance (EG)

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 four substantive specialization courses (20 ECTS) and one elective (5 ECTS).
  • Students conduct original research on a topic of their choice within their specialisation and present their results in a thesis (15 ECTS).

You can find the link to the programme overview on the right side of this page.
Only students of the MSc Public Administration can participate in the courses of Public Administration


Dear Student,

On behalf of the board and staff of the Institute of Public Administration of Leiden University we warmly welcome all new Public Administration Master’s students.
We organize a special meeting to welcome our new MPA students on Monday 30 January. During this meeting you will get acquainted with the specialization in which you are enrolled. You will get essential, practical information about your studies like how the programme is built up and information about the thesis.
The programme is as follows:

09.00 – 09.15
Walk-in Anna van Buerenplein 301, room 02.21. The building is next to The Hague Central Station

9.15 - 10.00
Welcome and general information about the MPA-programme by Mr. dr. Jelmer Schalk (Director of Studies)
Location: Anna van Buerenplein 301, room 02.21

10.00 – 10.15 Walk to Wijnhaven building Turfmarkt 99

10.15 – 11.00 Getting acquainted with your specialization.

Location per specialization (in Wijnhaven building):

*Economics and Governance: Mr. dr. Olaf van Vliet (room 264)
*International and European Governance: Ms. dr. Caelesta Braun (room 354)
*Public Management: Mr. dr. Joris van der Voet (room 316)

11.00 – 12.00 Social activity to get to know the other MPA-students. tba

See you on January 30th!

Kind regards,

Ms. Tineke Choi, MSc
Ms. Ir. Ariane Timmer
Ms. drs. Jolanda den Heijer
Study advisers Institute of Public Administration

Outline programme

The Master of Public Administration focuses on the management, steering, and coordination of political, administrative, economic, and social actors, as well as the formal and informal regimes and policy processes within which they act towards addressing collective social problems at regional, national, and international levels. A defining hallmark of the master is that governance is studied and taught from a multi-level perspective. This means that there is no single level of governance at which societal challenges can be addressed best. For example, the Ebola disease started as a local governance problem of a few countries but transformed itself rapidly into a global problem due to the disease’s spread by means of modern transportation. Boat refugees, to take another example, who flee their homelands because of local famine or civil wars poses a major challenge for the European Union.

These examples show that for educating future public policy professionals, in order to be able to address these problems in an adequate ways, a holistic rather than a single-level approach is needed. Hence, the various specialisations within the Master of Public Administration span the intricacies of multi-level governance by a multitude of public and private actors, all the way to the management of organisations and the behaviour of individual public managers. Students following this program can choose between the specializations:

  • International and European Governance
  • Public Management: Linking Politics and Policy
  • Economics and Governance

The programme consists of core courses followed by all students, specialization courses, electives, and a master thesis. The core courses ensure that students master the most important theoretical and analytical approaches in the analysis of institutions and policy processes, as well as essential analytical and research skills. Specialisation courses allow students to learn more about the problems and state-of-the art research within the context of each of the three specialisations, culminating in an independently conducted master thesis project.


The International and European Governance specialisation of the Master’s programme provides the essential theoretical background, knowledge and skills for the public leaders and policy makers of tomorrow to address the challenges of effective and legitimate governance in a globalized world. The specialisation is designed to enable students to gain a solid understanding of the complex nature of contemporary public governance arising from the interactions of supranational, international, national, and local actors and institutions. In this way we prepare students to critically evaluate, implement and design public policies and programs fit for societal problems that transcend national and regional borders.

International organizations such as the European Union (EU), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and many others are analysed as a response by nation states to common trans-national challenges and at the same time as vehicles of further globalisation. In this context, this Master’s specialisation core themes are: decision making in multi-level governance systems (such as the European Union) and its effects on the national and local levels of government; the transfer of sovereignty and policies to international organizations and the effects of supranational policies on national governments’ ability to tackle domestic problems; the role of external actors: transnational networks and international organizations in the domestic arena of member states: effects for domestic politics, policy and economics.


Students who are enrolled in the Public Management: Between Politics and Policy specialisation examine public policy and governance from an organisational and managerial perspective. The management of public organisations 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 specialisation 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.

Specialisation courses in the PM specialisation build on this foundation and center on the external and internal management of public organisations. Together with the lecturers students will examine core themes in public management, such as 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.


Solving societal problems often requires a solid multidisciplinary preparation. The Economics and Governance specialisation, offered jointly by the Department of Economics and the Department of Public Administration, combines insights from the two disciplines. The MPA prepares students for analysing and addressing societal problems in the overarching framework of public governance. In this specialisation, we add a strong foundation in economics to the focus on governance. Students develop skills to conduct economic analysis of current policy problems and to identify an appropriate policy response, recognizing societal complexity.

The focal point of the program is on markets and the welfare state. Students learn about the role of government in creating, facilitating and controlling markets (e.g. competition policy, regulation). We will also examine the status of the current welfare state, such as the pension system, social security, labour markets, and income distribution in society. We examine the challenges that the welfare state currently confronts and analyse policy responses to address the problems, both from an empirical and theoretical viewpoint. Furthermore, as increasingly recognized by scholars and policy-makers, the institutional framework (standards, procedures, and norms, also non-governmental actors) is an important precondition for well-functioning economies. Understanding markets within such institutional complexity as well as within the global context is an important characteristic of the program.

The specialisation aims to develop professionals who have an analytical skill-set to address policy problems broadly, and in the field of social policy and market regulation specifically; professionals who recognize the assumptions and choices they make in their decisions, and who can stand on the long intellectual tradition of the state-market relations throughout their career.

Transitional arrangements

Transitional arrangements Public Administration 2016-2017

Please contact the study advisors.

Questions and contact

Dear Student,

Welcome to the Master’s programme Public Administration! ! We can imagine that you might have questions as you are about to start a new study, perhaps even in a new country. You are always welcome to visit us during our consultation hours on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Our contact details can be found on this web page Study advisor. Do please note that we are not open on Monday 5 September as we will be present at the introduction meetings. We hope to see you there!

Kind regards,

Sofie Delpeut, Tineke Choi & Jolanda den Heijer

Study advisers Institute of Public Administration

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 2017.

In the first semester of 2016-17, 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 2017 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 2017 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 2017, there is an additional application deadline on December 1st 2016.

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