MPA Public Administration (Finance)

Start date
12 months full time, 24 months part time
Course Type
Postgraduate, Continuing professional development, Taught

For 2024-2025
£12,600 FT (UK)
£6,300 PT (UK)
£26,280 FT (International)
More Fees and funding details.

Our MPA in Public Administration (Finance) bridges theory and practice, enabling you to acquire the skills and understanding needed for effective management and strategy in government.

The MPA is an international Masters’ programme, aimed at people who are pursuing (or would like to pursue) a career in public administration in government, public enterprises or non-governmental organisations, whether at local, national or international level. The programme is particularly suitable for those working in finance ministries, finance sections within sectoral ministries, development banks, local government, public enterprises, aid providers, non-governmental organisations, and research and training organisations who wish to participate at a strategic level in financial management decisions.

The Finance pathway will enable managers in the public sector and not-for-profit sector to update and improve their practical skills and their understanding of financial and economic management. This will enable managers to participate in financial management at the strategic level in their organisation rather than to focus on detailed technical skills such as bookkeeping. This is primarily a public sector management, not a business management programme, although some of the themes covered are relevant to both sectors.

The approach taken within the programme is practical. You will analyse cases, using real data as far as possible to provide you will skills in public economic and finance management. Theories and conceptual models where they help with the understanding and solving of practical problems will be introduced.

The programme will develop your understanding of the role of the state in managing the economy and public finances; managing monetary, exchange rate, fiscal, trade and environmental policy; budgeting and control. It will consider the issues associated with working with the private sector; and, in designing, planning, financing and evaluating projects. New approaches to reform of financial management including performance budgeting and improving accountability will receive  attention. There will be a special focus on decentralised service delivery reflecting IDD’s long experience on working in decentralised systems.

Any relevant subject may be chosen for your dissertation, with the final topic agreed between yourself and your assigned supervisor. It will allow you to make an in-depth study of a topic of interest to you.

Why study this course?

This is an MPA programme aimed at people already working within, or closely with, the public sector or not-for-profit sector, or wanting to join the sectors, particularly within developing or newly industrialised countries. The programme:

  • Has a strong international focus, using real examples and practice from many countries and being relevant to many countries, and with an international student body.
  • Includes a study visit, to learn about public administration and strategy in a particular context, with meetings with a range of public sector and associated bodies. There are two locations to choose from each year – destinations in recent years include St Petersburg, Guangzhou, Vienna, Berlin
  • Is aimed particularly at applicants with experience and interest in financial and economic management within the public sector. However, no prior experience or study in economics or financial management is required or assumed.
  • Has a wide range of optional modules.


This pathway is designed for flexibility, allowing you to choose over half of your MPA taught content from a wide range of optional modules.

Unless indicated otherwise the modules listed for this programme are for students starting in 2024.

 The programme has three 20-credit core modules:

You must complete a 60-credit dissertation and take one of these additional 20 credit modules:

You  will take a further 60 credits of optional modules.

IDD module outlines

Please note: The modules listed on the website for this programme are regularly reviewed to ensure they are up-to-date and informed by the latest research and teaching methods. On rare occasions, we may need to make unexpected changes to compulsory modules; in this event we will contact offer holders as soon as possible to inform or consult them as appropriate.


Fees for 2024 - 2025

  • UK full-time: £12,600
  • UK part-time: £6,300
  • International full-time: £26,280

Please check with the Department for the latest fees information.
Learn more about fees.

Scholarships and studentships

Scholarships may be available. See the departmental scholarships and funding pages. You may also explore the scholarship and funding database at the University of Birmingham.

For further information contact the School directly or visit 

How To Apply

7 May 2024 is the application deadline for international students applying through the student route who wish to study in the United Kingdom. We are not able to consider applications for 2024 made after this date. The deadline for Home students is 30 August 2024.

Application Fee

For international applicants this programme is subject to a £50 non-refundable application fee. At the end of the application form, before you can submit it to us, you will be required to pay, or indicate how you will pay the required fee in order for us to process your application. Please complete and submit your application before paying your application fee.

Personal Statement

Entry to this programme is highly competitive and as a result your application and personal statement will be closely scrutinised by our Admissions Tutors. Please ensure that you spend some time familiarising yourself with the programme modules and outcomes. Personal Statements should be relevant to the programme and how you believe it will enable you to achieve your career goals.

How to apply

To apply for a postgraduate taught programme, you will need to submit your application and supporting documents online. We have put together some helpful information on the taught programme application process and supporting documents on our how to apply page. Please read this information carefully before completing your application.

Apply now

Our Standard Requirements

  • An upper second-class Honours degree or equivalent from an approved university or an equivalent professional qualification in a relevant field (the equivalent US Grade Point Average is 3.2) or
  • A lower second-class Honours degree from an approved university with excellent work experience.
  • Adequate capacity in written and spoken English. 
  • Degrees from all disciplines are considered and a candidate's work experience can also be taken into consideration.

International Requirements

International Students

You can satisfy our English language requirements in two ways:

  • IELTS 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in any band
  • TOEFL: 88 overall with no less than 21 in Reading, 20 in Listening, 22 in Speaking and 21 in Writing
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE) including online: PTE Academic 67 with no less than 64 in all four skills
  • Cambridge English (exams taken from 2015): Advanced – minimum overall score of 176, with no less than 169 in any component

Teaching takes place over two ten-week terms, utilizing a range of teaching and learning methods, including short lectures, problem solving, role play and group work. This is followed by the study trip and completion of the dissertation.

Assessment Methods

A range of assessment methods are used, with both formative and summative assessment. Assessment methods may include essays, policy briefs and presentations. A dissertation of no more than 12,000 words is also required.

The knowledge and skills gained in the programme will equip graduates for jobs in international, national and local government and non-governmental organisations.

See what some of our alumni are doing now and what they thought about studying with us at IDD.