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Public Management

The Postgraduate Diploma in Public Management is both a stand-alone qualification and the first year of the MA programme. It explores public management issues using models and concepts from a range of fields, including economics, human resource management, and organisational strategy.

The programme is divided into two semesters: September to December and January to April. Each of these is devoted to the study of three key public management subjects. The programme is delivered through a blend of self-directed study and intensive weekend seminars at the IPA campus in Dublin. Students receive textbooks and course manuals for all subjects.

Over the course of the year, students receive instruction in areas vital to the management of public services, including the cost-appraisal of projects, how to promote organisational change, public sector financial management and the huge significance of EU institutions and policies for Ireland.

Is this programme for you?
This programme is suitable for students working in all parts of the public sector, from large central government departments and local authorities to small public agencies. New responsibilities or career ambitions may well mean that you require graduate-level education in public management subjects. As the programme is delivered through a blend of distance education and weekend seminars, you can work toward a postgraduate qualification while remaining in fulltime employment.

Entry requirements

Admission Requirements
Applicants for Postgraduate Diplomas, Postgraduate Certificates, MA, MEconSc and MSc programmes must have a primary degree or equivalent qualification.


One academic year.

Delivery Method
A blend of distance learning and weekend seminars at the
IPA campus in Dublin.

Careers or further progression

Students may enter the Postgraduate Diploma in September or January. Those who enter in September can, on successful completion of the academic year, proceed to the second year of the MA. Those who enter in January can finish within the calendar year and proceed to the second year of the MA the following September.

Further enquiries

Tel: +353 1 240 3600

Subjects taught

Semester One (September – December)

This course focuses on public sector economics. The State plays a very important role in all our economic lives and in the economic health of the nation. Among the topics that are addressed are taxation, the economics of regulation, efficiency and effectiveness in the public sector, monopolies, project appraisal, sources of funds and portfolio theory.

Managing Human Resources
On completing this course, which attends to both human resource management and organisational behaviour, students will be able to evaluate the human resource management system in their organisation. It considers, among other topics, strategic HR planning, performance and rewards management, theories of leadership, group dynamics, communication in organisations, politics and conflict, organisational change, and job design.

Public sector managers, like their private sector counterparts, should have a solid understanding of the main principles and tools of contemporary financial management. This course explores financial reporting, financial statement analysis, budgeting and working capital, cost and management accounting, and investment. It also attends to the ideas and practices of modern financial governance, auditing and risk.

Semester Two (January – April)

Organisation and Strategy
This course gives students a solid understanding of the evolving role of the State, of different approaches to policy-making and strategy, and of organisational design. Focusing on the public sector, it provides ideas and arguments that students can use to evaluate their organisation, its working environment, and its success. Among the specific topics addressed are the role and evolution of the State, decision-making in organisations, and public management in the 21st century.

Research Methods
This course explores both research theory and design and quantitative techniques. With regard to the former, it considers how knowledge is best obtained, different research strategies, sampling, interviews, and focus groups. Its treatment of quantitative techniques examines how to present data, the application of probability distributions, the estimation of population parameters, and the relationships between quantitative variables.

Managing Service Delivery/Managing in Europe
This course falls into two parts. The first explores some of the main issues around the management of service delivery in the public service. It addresses the changing demands and challenges, the effects of consumerism, and the use of contracting and devolved management. The second part of the course explores the history of European integration, how the EU functions and the debates about its direction and future.


Accreditation: National University of Ireland
Place on NFQ: Level 9 (Major Award)
Award: Postgraduate Diploma in Public Management

Assessment method

Students are assessed by means of assignments and final examinations.

Application date

Apply Online from August 2020, students can apply online at

Apply by Post
Please complete the application form and return it to the IPA, together with:

• One copy of your degree or relevant qualification
• One passport-type photograph
• The semester fee
• A letter from your employer confirming that fees will be paid directly to the IPA.

Places on the programmes are limited and demand for places is likely to exceed the number available. Consequently, you are strongly advised to apply as early as possible.

Course fee

The cost of the programme is €5,000 per annum (includes all matriculation and examination fees, all seminars, textbooks and course material), payable in two instalments.

Enrolment and start dates

Commences: September 2020 and January 2021.

Remember to mention gradireland when contacting institutions!