Skip to main content

Study information

Programme Specification for the 2023/4 academic year

MPA Master of Public Administration with Applied Studies

1. Programme Details

Programme nameMPA Master of Public Administration with Applied Studies Programme codePTP9HPSHPS01
Study mode(s)Full Time
Academic year2023/4
Campus(es)Streatham (Exeter)
NQF Level of the Final Award7 (Masters)

2. Description of the Programme

The Masters in Public Administration with Applied Studies at Exeter is designed to help you meet the challenge of shaping and delivering effective public services in a climate of continuous change. The Exeter MPA with Applied Studies takes an international perspective to equip you with the skills and understanding you need to operate effectively in an increasingly global environment.

You will have the opportunity to benefit from the latest ideas on public policy, administration, regulation and leadership while learning alongside practitioners working in a variety of roles and organisations from the UK and overseas.

The MPA with Applied Studies is relevant whether you are working in local, regional, or central government, or for a charity or public-private partnership. It addresses some of the key issues facing the public sector such as effective leadership, anticipating and responding to change, performance management, governance and ethical practice and sustainability,

The MPA with Applied Studies is run by the Department of Politics and draws on the work of academics who have an impressive reputation for research and whose ideas are published around the world. We have a long history of working with ministries and national governments, and members of our team have been involved with organisations such as the United Nations, World Bank, European Commission, Competition Commission, the Department of Work and Pensions, the OECD and the Treasury.

Our flexible modular programme, teaching and excellent resources are designed to meet the needs of both those studying full-time and busy professionals aiming to manage part-time study with full-time employment.

While equipping you with core skills, the MPA with Applied Studies will provide you with the opportunity to research and seek solutions to issues and challenges you face in the workplace. You will also have the option to choose from topics such as such as leadership, change management, regulation, public policy, sustainability or project management. The involvement of leading practitioners from the public and private sector, together with real-life case studies, will make sure learning is relevant and informed by best practice.

On completion of the programme you will have an understanding of strategies for delivering public services effectively, efficiently and ethically and have gained an understanding of the comparative social, historical and financial context of public administration and public sector organisations. You will know how public policies are developed, implemented and evaluated in different systems and countries around the world.

With assistance from the Programme Director for applied studies running the special module for this cohort the NHIS students (when applicable) will identify a suitable schedule of work for the Applied Studies programme.

  • The NHIS student will draft a statement setting out their goals for the Applied Studies period in the light of the special applied studies module (see below), the student and faculty will work together to identify suitable work and activities.
  • The work programme may include time in a relevant external organisation if one can be identified, however this may not always be appropriate and cannot be guaranteed and depends on particular needs and circumstances. Students will typically be expected to engage actively interacting with one or more public sector organisations in the UK as part of their applied studies, this interaction will be facilitated by the University.
  • Students must attend  a bespoke module in the second year of the course developed and run specifically for the applied studies students, this module is currently called “Masters of Public Administration: With Applied Studies.”
  • If a student fails to complete an agreed work placement, through no fault of the host organisation or CSSIS, CSSIS will not be obliged to help find a substitute host organisation.
  • Students should attend the programme of external speakers for MPA students arranged each year by MPA on public administration topics related to the core themes of the MPA.

In consultation with the student the Programme Director will make reasonable efforts to organise suitable access to external organisations, no guarantee can be given as this is beyond the control of the University. 

3. Educational Aims of the Programme

1. To provide students with a sophisticated understanding of the theories and practice of public administration and comparative public policy in different policy sectors, in the UK, other OECD and developing countries.
2. To develop students' knowledge and skills relevant to management competencies such as strategic thinking, effective communication, leadership, negotiation and influencing, working with others, planning and organising
3. To develop skills that underpin the requirements of modernising public sector organisations, including policy analysis, evaluation, use of evidence, problem solving, communication and the management of change
4. To develop critical thinking about the relationship between the theory of public policy and administration and how it is practised in real life situations
5. To produce graduates who have learned to think and act systemically and who have developed a critical approach and commitment to continuous learning and self-development
6. To develop students' ability to apply originality and analytical skills alongside theory and practice to a specific research topic

4. Programme Structure

5. Programme Modules

The following tables describe the programme and constituent modules. Constituent modules may be updated, deleted or replaced as a consequence of the annual programme review of this programme.

The Exeter MPA with applied studies consists of a mixture of one core module which provide the core theories and evidence for the degree; optional modules enabling you to specialise in areas of interest; and a dissertation in year 1. During the dissertation you will work with an academic supervisor, and you will produce an original piece of academic research relating to a subject of your choice. This will be presented in the form of a 15,000-word dissertation. The topic can be related to any aspect of the topics covered in the MPA and your interests and can be an academic and/or policy related piece of work. As one way of doing the dissertation it can address a particular issue or problem that you or your organisation has identified in your place of work. In this way, you will be able to research and write about any new or difficult public sector management issue related to your work environment and produce a dissertation that will include recommendations of practical use to your employer or potential employer.

Options listed below are a thematic cluster for the MPA and is not a formal pathway. The cluster is there to better inform your choice of optional modules, depending on your own individual preferences, in particular the academic and professional skills you would like to acquire from studying the MPA at Exeter. Students may take MPA thematic cluster optional modules or other modules in the College of Social Science and International Studies subject to meeting necessary prerequisites where the timetable allows and if you have not already taken the module in question or an equivalent module.

Descriptions of the individual modules are given in full on the College web site.

The second year consists of one MPA Applied Studies core module with 60 credits.  The module aims to deepen your understanding of how research and evidence can be used to inform public administration practice, whilst acknowledging the political, practical and professional challenges of doing so.  You will apply knowledge gained in term 1 seminars to assist you in completion of your report in term 2. Support and supervision is provided in preparing a 10,000 word report on a specific topic agreed with your employers. The intention is to support you in your ability to conduct independent research and policy analysis that will be of benefit to your professional practice. The module coordinator will assist in setting up/ supervising your policy analysis activity, where appropriate linked to work placements. 

Please note it is possible for modules to change to reflect new ideas or to meet student demand, so check our website for the latest details.

Stage 1


90 credits of compulsory MPA modules

Compulsory Modules

CodeModule Credits Non-condonable?
POLM220M Management and Governance: Comparing Public Administration around the World 30No
POLM013M MPA Dissertation 60No

Optional Modules

90 credits from the listed optional MPA thematic cluster modules or 60 credits from below and up to 30 credits from other modules in the College of Social Sciences and International Studies.

CodeModule Credits Non-condonable?
POLM222M The Politics, Policy and Practice of Sustainable Development 30No
POLM887 Public Policy Process 30No
POLM237M Collaborative and Participatory Governance 30No

Stage 2


Compulsory Modules

60 credits of compulsory MPA modules.

CodeModule Credits Non-condonable?
POLM014M MPA Applied Studies 60No

6. Programme Outcomes Linked to Teaching, Learning and Assessment Methods

Intended Learning Outcomes
A: Specialised Subject Skills and Knowledge

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)
On successfully completing this programme you will be able to:
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) will be...
...accommodated and facilitated by the following learning and teaching activities (in/out of class):...and evidenced by the following assessment methods:

1. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of theories and practice of public administration and how these theories relate and often present conflicting policy choices.
2. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of theories and practice of public policy and how these theories relate and often present conflicting policy choices regarding ideas and instruments.
3. Read critically the literature relating to research in public administration and comparative public policy, and evaluate government produced publications in the light of this reading.
4. Appreciate, analyse, synthesise, interpret and evaluate international political events, ideas and institutions to locate these 'real world' events and situations within their temporal, cultural and political context and interpret this in a strategic way.

 

ILOs 1-4 are developed through lectures, seminar discussion, group work and assignments in the core modules, and applied in the dissertation.

 

ILOs 1-4 are assessed through online preparatory exercises, seminar and workshop participation, coursework assignments, and in particular through the dissertation. Depending on the module, further assessment may also depend on:

- Task-oriented work including case-study work

- The use of computer networked experiments, simulations or models

Intended Learning Outcomes
B: Academic Discipline Core Skills and Knowledge

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)
On successfully completing this programme you will be able to:
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) will be...
...accommodated and facilitated by the following learning and teaching activities (in/out of class):...and evidenced by the following assessment methods:

5. Synthesise and comment critically on a body of academic writing, and on the presentation of academic and practitioner insights during the intensive teaching period.
6. Make effective use of libraries and the world-wide web to find information.
7. Reference sources accurately in written work to a professional standard.
8. Plan, conduct and write up a substantial essay in the form of a dissertation by a set deadline.

 

The Induction week will develop students' understanding of all of the core academic skills needed for the programme (ILOs 5-8).

Furthermore, ILO 5 is developed through the  seminar workshop teaching format and assignments in all modules. ILOs 6-7 are developed through written assignments, seminar/workshop preparation, and workshop presentations. ILO 8 is developed through the dissertation.

ILOs 5-8 are assessed through online preparatory exercises, seminar and workshop participation, coursework assignments, and in particular through the dissertation. Depending on the module, further assessment may also depend on:

- Task-oriented work including case-study work

- The use of computer networked experiments, simulations or models 

Intended Learning Outcomes
C: Personal/Transferable/Employment Skills and Knowledge

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)
On successfully completing this programme you will be able to:
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) will be...
...accommodated and facilitated by the following learning and teaching activities (in/out of class):...and evidenced by the following assessment methods:

9. Think independently at an advanced level.
10. Undertake independent/self-directed learning (including time management) to achieve consistent, proficient and sustained attainment.
11. Reflect on the process of learning and evaluate personal strengths and weaknesses.
12. Construct and defend a rigorous argument, both in written form and orally, using primary and secondary materials.
13. Work as an individual on challenging material.
14. Work as a participant or leader of a group and contribute effectively to the achievement of objectives.
15. Use standard IT applications competently.

The reflective learning log incorporated into each module will require students to reflect on their learning in terms of each module, the overall programme, and the relation of the module and programme to each student's career, thus providing an integral longitudinal formative element to the programme.

ILOs 9-15 are requirements of all modules, in the preparatory, teaching and post-teaching task-completion phases, and are developed through the induction week and the ongoing reflective learning log.

Assessment for ILOs 9-15 will be spread across the three phases of each module (preparatory,  teaching period, and post-teaching task-completion phase), with certain skills brought to the fore during each phase:

Preparatory week: ILOs 9,10,13,14 & 15

Teaching block: ILOs 9,10,12,13,14 & 15

Post-teaching task-completion: ILOs 9,10,12 & 13

Reflective learning log: ILO11

Dissertation: ILOs 9,10,12,13 & 15

All are assessed through online preparatory exercises, seminar and workshop participation, coursework assignments/essays, learning log, and in particular through the dissertation. Depending on the module, further assessment may also depend on:

- Task-oriented work including case-study work

- The use of computer networked experiments, simulations or models

7. Programme Regulations

Full details of assessment regulations for all taught programmes can be found in the  TQA Manual , specifically in the  Credit and Qualifications Framework , and the  Assessment, Progression and Awarding: Taught Programmes Handbook . Additional information, including  Generic Marking Criteria , can be found in the  Learning and Teaching Support Handbook .

Classification

Full details of assessment regulations for all taught programmes can be found in the TQA Manual, specifically in the Credit and Qualifications Framework, and the Assessment, Progression and Awarding: Taught Programmes Handbook. Additional information, including Generic Marking Criteria, can be found in the Learning and Teaching Support Handbook.

8. College Support for Students and Students' Learning

Personal and Academic tutoring:

It is University policy that all Colleges should have in place a system of academic and personal tutors. The role of academic tutors is to support you with individual modules; the role of personal tutors is to provide you with advice and support for the duration of your programme, and this support extends to providing you with details of how to obtain support and guidance on personal difficulties such as accommodation, financial difficulties and sickness. You can also make an appointment to see individual teaching staff.

Information on the College Personal Tutoring system, library provision, ELE resources and access to College support services can be found on the College webpages for current students.

Student Staff Liaison Committee (SSLC)

SSLCs enable students and staff to jointly participate in the management and review of the teaching and learning provision.

 

9. University Support for Students and Students' Learning

Please refer to the University Academic Policy and Standards guidelines regarding support for students and students' learning.

10. Admissions Criteria

Undergraduate applicants must satisfy the Undergraduate Admissions Policy of the University of Exeter.

Postgraduate applicants must satisfy the Postgraduate Admissions Policy of the University of Exeter.

Specific requirements required to enrol on this programme are available at the respective Undergraduate or Postgraduate Study Site webpages.

11. Regulation of Assessment and Academic Standards

Each academic programme in the University is subject to an agreed College assessment and marking strategy, underpinned by institution-wide assessment procedures.

The security of assessment and academic standards is further supported through the appointment of External Examiners for each programme. External Examiners have access to draft papers, course work and examination scripts. They are required to attend the Board of Examiners and to provide an annual report. Annual External Examiner reports are monitored at both College and University level. Their responsibilities are described in the University's code of practice. See the University's TQA Manual for details.

(Quality Review Framework.

14. Awarding Institution

University of Exeter

15. Lead College / Teaching Institution

Faculty of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (HASS)

16. Partner College / Institution

Partner College(s)

Not applicable to this programme

Partner Institution

Not applicable to this programme.

17. Programme Accredited / Validated by

0

18. Final Award

MPA Master of Public Administration with Applied Studies

19. UCAS Code

Not applicable to this programme.

20. NQF Level of Final Award

7 (Masters)

21. Credit

CATS credits

240

ECTS credits

120

22. QAA Subject Benchmarking Group

23. Dates

Origin Date

30/08/2017

Date of last revision

02/11/2022