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Posted April 26, 2021

Navigating MPA courses: which is right for you?

This last year has shown more than ever the need for new thinking and agile approaches to complex situations, and one effective way to change and adapt is via postgraduate study.

Postgraduate study is a great way to develop your thought processes and approaches to life, as well as broaden your career opportunities. By choosing the right postgraduate programme you can climb further up the career ladder, or even change ladders and move your career in a different directions altogether!

Masters of Public Administration (MPAs) are professionally focused graduate degrees ideal for those in the public, private or third sectors who wish to apply their learning. MPAs are ideal for those interested in a wide range of associated working environments, including:

MPAs can be studied at a great selection of prestigious UK universities, and as the home of disruptive thinking, University College London (UCL)’s suite of MPA programmes are a natural choice for civil servants, policy makers and those in leadership positions seeking to reinvent their organisations, societies and approaches to real-world issues. The world needs public policy, science, technology and engineering innovation to address the rapidly evolving, unpredictable challenges we face. From interpreting economic shifts to better inform policy to shaping the future of our cities, UCL is committed to empowering policy makers and leaders with the skills and knowledge to create more inclusive and sustainable societies, public services, and organisations. UCL’s portfolio of nine MPA programmes across three faculties demonstrates their dynamic, interdisciplinary teaching to inspire, impact, and solve the issues of tomorrow with a breadth of teaching that provides a variety of areas to specialise in – so let’s take a look at what’s on offer.

UCL’s Department of Political Science, houses two MPAs. The MPA in Public Administration and Management will equip students with the mix of practical tools and academic knowledge required to successfully manage domestic and international public policy agendas. Students on this course will explore a range of real-world policy challenges faced by public organisations, or related non-profit and private firms. The curricular structure and fieldwork opportunities foster the managerial skills needed to meet today's greater demands for accountability and success from public, non-profit, and private organisations.

Meanwhile, its sister programme, Global Public Policy and Management EMPA, offers a truly international joint degree for civil servants in partnership with NYU Wagner. This Executive MPA degree is an innovative, world-class programme: with the first semester at NYU Wagner in New York City, the spring term at UCL in central London, and the summer in locations across the globe working on a client-based Capstone project. Students on this EMPA are afforded a life-changing opportunity to craft an approach best suited to their specific career pathway. Core modules bridge cutting-edge concepts and skills in policy analysis, management, implementation and facilitating change. The combination of policy and change management skills and exposure to the world of practice will provide a substantial and pedagogically distinctive experience.

The Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment at UCL is home to the MPA in Innovation, Public Policy and Public Value. This MPA teaches the dynamic skills required for purpose-driven organisations in public, private, and civil sectors to confront the grand challenges of the 21st century. Tackling these challenges requires new ways of thinking and new organisational capabilities in order to bring significant changes to how states work and improve peoples’ lives. The Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose is at the forefront of research and policy impact on public sector innovation and challenges more than just thinking of how states can work better – instead, this course focuses on how we can fundamentally reimagine the role of the state.

Finally, within Engineering Sciences, UCL’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy (STEaPP) is committed to bridging the gap between policy, science, and engineering in order to develop the next generation of innovative thinkers with fluency across these three disciplines. The department offers six MPA routes that are among only a handful of programmes globally that offer the opportunity to combine these subject areas into public policy. Taught by established experts and practitioners who provide practical insight into the ways technology and engineering innovation interact with the world of policymaking, the faculty at STEaPP have first-hand knowledge of working with government, the third sector, and in private sector consultancy. These MPAs aim to provide students with the knowledge, analytical skills and a global network of likeminded individuals that will enable them to think innovatively about the issues and challenges shaping the future, and include:

An MPA is a great choice for your next step, and as you can see there is a wide spectrum of programmes available to choose from to ensure you study an MPA with exactly the right focus.

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