Public Administration

Ulster University - Belfast

Public Administration

This exciting course has been designed to improve the quality of public sector management as a profession. If your role includes policy development, management, or governance, you will find that this degree will help you to develop an integrated and critically aware understanding of these areas, enhancing your effectiveness in the workplace.

Course participants will be drawn from the public, voluntary and community sectors, both locally and internationally. Administrators, managers, and professionals from a wide variety of organisations are likely to find this course beneficial.

The MPA offers:
- Modules that relate specifically to public-sector policy development and based upon staff research rated at national and international standards

- Learning sessions where you exchange information with colleagues around the application and implementation of theories in different workplaces

- Flexible delivery which recognises your need to fit studying around home and working life

- Guest lectures from NICS and public-sector managers

For further course details please see "Course Web Page" below.

Subjects taught

Year one
Public Administration and Governance
This module is designed to examine the activities of public servants and structures of government within a changing administrative landscape which has witnessed the decline in the traditional forms of bureaucracy and seen the emergence of a differentiated polity influenced by developments in the private sector. The relevance of traditional principles of public administration - public accountability, equity and legality, are being challenged by the adoption of management tools and techniques described broadly as Public Management. This module considers the impact of modernisation within and across the various tiers of government.

Research methods and Skills
The Research Methods module has a direct link to the students' preparation for their Master's research project. The module considers the key research strategies and designs in the field pf public administration and then examines various quantitative and qualitative research methods. Central to the module is practical skills acquisition using data analysis software packages to interrogate primary data sets in the public administration. The module concludes with an examination of ethical issues which must be considered in advance of embarking on primary research in the project.

Comparative Public Administration
This module provides the mechanism to draw together theoretical materials studied during the Postgraduate Certificate stage of the programme and apply these to real-world issues. Hence, topical issues such as: Delivering Social Change; reforms in primary and post-primary education; the implementation of the Review of Public Administration; local government reorganisation; and, community planning, will provide opportunities for a discussion of contemporary issues facing the public sector in Northern Ireland and beyond. Given the composition of the student body (public sector officials), the module offers an opportunity for them to link theory and practice.

Policy Analysis
Policy analysis is concerned with how issues and problems come to be defined and constructed and how they are placed on the political and policy agenda of governments. But it is also the study of how, why and to what effect governments pursue particular courses of action and inaction or "what governments do, why they do it, and what difference it makes". It is an approach to public policy that aims to integrate and contextualise models and research from various disciplines.

Strategic Leadership
This module examines the major issue of strategically managing and leading the organisation in a changing environment. It develops generic issues in strategic management and provides the opportunity for critical appraisal of a range of theories on strategic management and leadership and to apply these theories to real life organisations in the public sector. Assessment is through a number of pieces of course work.

Applied Government: From Policy to Delivery
The module will demonstrate, through real world case studies, how to achieve good government in `messy' situations where authority is shared across individuals and organisations and where the context, mandate or original policy aims of an issue change over time. It will describe large scale challenges from the perspective of Ministers, public servants and other stakeholders. It will demonstrate how `coalitions of the willing' are established in these situations and how various tools of government can be brought to bear at different points to achieve real progress and deliver results on the ground.

Developing Collaborative Policy Solutions: Problem based Learning
This module is optional
This module is focused on the field of nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) and will examine the relationship between public bodies and the NGO sector and the potential for improved public services as a result of contracting out services to organisations within the sector. Are NGOs a better source of welfare services than the public or the private sector' Can NGOs be trusted to deliver key welfare services' Do they add value in terms of quality of services delivered' These are examples of questions which the module will address.

Policy Co-design and Policy Evaluation
This module is optional
This module introduces public policy co-design, and it focuses on the concept of policy instruments. It also explains what is meant by evaluation in relation to public services. Examines the basis for evidence-based policy. It develops a critical awareness of the varying quality of evaluation studies. It gives students the skills needed to design and commission evaluations of public policy programmes.

Issues in Health & Social Care
This module is optional
Teaches students to examine key factors impacting on the delivery of health services. The significance of demographic, technological and social trends. Health services finance and resource management issues. The structure of health and social services in Northern Ireland. Managing doctors and other professionals. Performance management. Using evidence for policy and management. Innovation in health services. The future of regulation and competition.

This module is optional
This module has a pre-requisite of the Research Methods module. The project module aims to give course members an opportunity to apply the concepts, methods and techniques that have been studied in the taught elements of the course to a real-world situation in their own environment. A specific organisational problem is identified, analysed and an action plan for implementation developed.

Entry requirements

To apply to our postgraduate taught programmes, you must meet the University's General Entrance Requirements and any course-specific requirements.

These vary depending on the course and are detailed online.

English Language Requirements
If English is not your first language this course requires
a minimum English level of IELTS (academic) 6.0 with no band
score less than 5.5, or equivalent.

This course is open to international (non-EU) students (full-time only).

For full entry requirements please see "Course Web Page" below.

Application dates

Your Application
Application is through the University's online application system (see "Application Weblink" below).

Post Course Info

Career options
Our graduates are already immersed in their professional lives but this qualification should enhance the prospects for further career progression.

More details
  • Qualification letters


  • Qualifications

    Degree - Masters at UK Level 7

  • Attendance type

    Full time,Part time,Daytime

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