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Online Masters of Public Administration (MPA)

Lead positive change

The world of public service has changed, and with it the demand for a whole new set of skills and way of thinking. By introducing you to the latest, pioneering public service practices, strategies and global perspectives, our 100% Online Masters of Public Administration (MPA) will prepare you for today’s public sector challenges, equipping you with the tools to effect positive change, wherever you are in the world.

Learn more today

Quick facts


international – students studying overseas in more than 50 different countries1


total programme fee. This can be paid in full or in instalments of £1,040 every module2


the UK’s leading academic centre on local governance and strategic public management

Make a difference to your community

With the integration of the likes of AI and ‘big data’ into public service systems, today’s public servants need to be more forward-thinking and tech-savvy than ever. Packed with the latest ideas from around the world, with topics attuned to the current direction of the public sector, this Online MPA is all you need to progress in this dynamic field.

The Online Master of Public Administration is taught through the Institute of Local Government Studies (INLOGOV), the UK’s leading academic centre for research and teaching on local governance and strategic public management. It’s this cutting-edge research and practice-based knowledge that will help you learn the policies and practices to make a genuine difference to people’s lives.

These same skills are also key to furthering your career, whether that’s a progression within an existing public sector role, or a move into a senior government or agency position, either at home or abroad.

“This MPA course has helped me to identify gaps through process mapping, defining and resolving problems faster and more effectively. It has given me the scope to view local government through wider lenses and a future towards e-governments, greater public involvement and co-production of services and delivery.”
– Ana Soochit, Online Master of Public Administration graduate, Trinidad

Career outlook

We’re committed to helping you develop the skills you need to advance your career to a level where you’re able to make a greater impact on people’s lives. Whether you’re looking to progress in the public or voluntary sector, or in a consultancy role, the Online Master of Public Administration prepares you for work in various areas of practice and policy.

For individuals with the right level of education and global expertise, a number of career choices are available, such as senior policy officer, social services manager and even a member of parliament. Backed by the skills and the know-how, you’ll have all you need to drive public sector efficiencies in your future career.

Unlock your career

Public service case study

A webinar hosted by the University of Birmingham and Programme Director, Dr Philip Whiteman. Gain an authentic experience of what it’s like to study this programme. Watch Dr Whiteman’s case study, which discusses whether performance management has a future in the delivery of public services.

Admissions requirements

To apply for the Masters of Public Administration from Birmingham School of Government, you’ll need:

* Exceptions to the listed admissions requirements will be assessed on an individual basis.

View requirements

Tuition details

The estimated total cost of this programme is £13,500. You can pay in full or in instalments of £1,040 on a module by module basis. All costs are listed to help you make an informed decision.

More tuition details

Curriculum: hands-on experience

Rooted in practice and research, the Online MPA draws upon a range of expertise from both lecturers and external experts, covering topics from leadership and governance to partnership strategy and public policy. This focus on such a diverse range of subject matter ensures the programme is relevant to your day-to-day work.

By leveraging case studies from the world of public service, you’ll develop a deep understanding of key strategies and solutions. But most importantly, you’ll learn the practical techniques to apply this knowledge to bring about positive change in the real world.

Explore the curriculum

Unable to commit to a full programme of study? Why not explore our Online Master of Public Administration Postgraduate Microcredentials. Offered as a series of short, 8-week online courses with busy professionals in mind, they will offer you the tools you need to get ahead in the ever-changing field of public service.

“This Online Masters of Public Administration is helping me to overcome my challenges by introducing me to more innovative ways of thinking, supported by Module Convenors who are not only academics but have personal experience of working in the public sector. I can thoroughly recommend this course to anyone aspiring to improve their working knowledge and their career opportunities whether in the public or private sector.”
– Sharon Clayton, Online Master of Public Administration graduate, United Kingdom

Programme outcomes

You will complete this programme ready to:

Immersive online experience

As well as providing the highest levels of convenience and flexibility that 100% online learning offers, the programme is full of interactive elements, like video lectures and group activities, which bring the content to life.

Rather than trying to replicate a campus-based setting online, we’ve built this programme from the ground up, drawing on the latest technology to create a truly unique and immersive student experience.

The online learning environment is not only a window to programme materials and live lectures, it’s an opportunity to connect directly with your lecturers and other professionals like yourself.

Experience online

Faculty expertise

Taught by the same lecturers and global experts as the campus-based programme, you’ll be exposed to diverse theories and practical ideas from across the public service arena. As well as input from former international councillors, civil servants and consultants, the programme is run by former government policy officer Dr Philip Whiteman.

The opportunity to access the latest thinking in public services, from an international network of industry leaders and experts, will help you further your insights and influence, anywhere in the world.

A dedicated module convener and seminar tutor will be in contact with you on a weekly basis, guiding you through the programme content, discussion activities and assignments.

Meet the faculty

Frequently asked questions

You may have some questions about the programme, the university or the online environment. It’s always the way when starting something new. Don’t worry; we’re here to answer them.

If you have a question we don’t cover here, request more information or call +44 (0)800 032 7101.

You can apply to study the Online Master of Public Administration irrespective of which industry you work in. Whatever your professional ambition, this programme supports a broad range of organisational functions within the public and private sector.

There are three intakes per year. You can choose to join our programmes in spring, summer or autumn.

Though the schedule varies by programme, most online classes, or synchronised tutorials, normally take place once every two weeks. These are often run multiple times during the day, so you can join at a time that suits you. You’ll receive a timetable of your synchronous session after you enroll.

Through our online learning environment, Canvas, you can contact your peers and tutors, use discussion forums, connect to live lectures and take part in group work. It’s a highly interactive environment, designed to make you feel part of a community.

Some students also choose to use Skype, WhatsApp or Google Hangout whilst studying, in addition to Canvas.

As well as learning from leading lecturers and industry speakers, you’ll have access to community boards, instant messaging services, live discussions and one-to-one support from a Student Services Coordinator. We also offer 24/7 technical support should you encounter any difficulties accessing the online platform.

Our online learning environment includes videos and interactive activities for you to learn from. You can also access the university’s online library, which includes e-textbooks, journal articles and specialist industry reports.

Find out more about our online learning environment.

Yes, all of the modules on the MPA programme are available as stand-alone Postgraduate Microcredentials, which you can study online over an 8-week period. At the end of your 8-week course, you will receive an official University of Birmingham Postgraduate Microcredential certificate worth 10 credits, and a transcript highlighting your new credential to both current and prospective employers.

You’ll also be able to use any course credits you’ve earned through this Microcredential qualification towards the Online Master of Public Administration programme, should you choose to study the full master’s degree at a later date. Find out more about our short online courses here.

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  1. Updated 11th February 2020. Country names categorised using information provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) [online] Available at: [Accessed 11.02.2020]
  2. Programme fees are reviewed annually and are subject to change each academic year.