Universiteit Leiden

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Public Administration (MSc)

How do we address the society’s most pressing issues through governance? The Master of Public Administration gives you a unique research-led multi-level perspective on the practice of management, steering, and coordination of political, economic and societal actors, with three specialisations to suit your specific interest.

Man Yin Kelly Tseung

Master student Public Administration

Man Yin Kelly Tseung

'From my experience, I can agree the Hague is the perfect campus for Public Administration students.'

I am interested in the complex socio-political challenges presented every day in various forms. Hence, I decided to do this Master's  Programme in Public Administration to widen my horizon and to better understand the multi-perspective approach to wicked problems of today’s relevance.

Leiden University provides up-to-date knowledge and education with renowned professors and scholars specialised in their field of expertise. They offer interactive lectures and tutorials discussing relevant social challenges and implementing theoretical knowledge to case analysis. The courses are challenging but stimulating at the same time, prompting students to think, participate and discuss openly in the classroom.

From my experience, I can agree that The Hague is the perfect campus for Public Administration students. The city is the economic and political hub of the Netherlands, and many student associations are present, offering 'borrels' as well as guest lectures and study trips. Furthermore, many extracurricular activities such as open days of embassies and international organisations, for instance the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), are very encouraged to visit. Likewise for oportunities to learn more about the organisations as well as prospective career paths! In addition, the city as well as the university is very well-travelled. It has been my pleasure to be in contact with peers and professors of different backgrounds and it is a great environment to develop soft skills and learn from each other.

Prof. dr. Kutsal Yesilkagit


Prof. dr. Kutsal Yesilkagit

"How can we address humankind’s most pressing problems from the perspective of governance?"

Although these and many other challenges differ in many ways, they all share a common underlying dimension, namely public governance: to address them in a meaningful way we need knowledge about political, administrative and societal actors and processes.

In the Master we concentrate on the management, steering, and coordination of political, administrative, economic, and social actors and the formal and informal regimes and policy processes within which they act towards addressing collective social problems at regional, national, and international levels.

In our Master we will teach you that societal challenges are multi-level governance problems. For example, the Ebola disease started as a local governance problem of a few countries but transformed itself rapidly into a global problem due to the disease’s spread by means of modern transportation. We will also teach you that such societal challenges require a multi-disciplinary perspective. It requires the knowledge of economic, political, organizational, management and legal studies to gain a better understanding of them.

And, finally, we also will show you that societal challenges are transboundary problems. That is, they involve both the public and the private sector. This is what we aim for then: educating future academics with the state-of-the-art scientific knowledge and professional skills that are capable of addressing our most important challenges. We educate people who know that governments alone can no longer steer societies on their own but need partners to do the job. Thus, we educate knowledge entrepreneurs, capable of working within (semi) public as well as private organizations towards solving our pressing social and economic problems.

Prof. dr. Sandra Groeneveld


Prof. dr. Sandra Groeneveld

“Public managers connect people to purpose”

The Public Management and Leadership specialisation focuses on how public managers can contribute to the organisational capacity to solve societal problems by balancing the management of external relations with internal management activities. The management of public organizations is vital to the effectiveness of public policies since policy outputs and outcomes are to be generated by public organizations and their employees, often within complex networks with other public, non-profit and private sector organizations. We study how public managers’ leadership connects people to the purpose of delivering public value.

Public management as a field of study essentially focuses on public performance. We analyse managers’ decision making regarding the achievement of potentially contradictory organizational goals and how the effectiveness of their decisions is contingent upon the institutional context in which the organization is embedded. This context may provide opportunities, but also constraints, such as decreasing resources in the realm of the economic crisis.

Students of Public Management acquire knowledge and understanding of the key concepts and theories of public management as well as of state-of-the-art academic research. On top of this they develop the professional skills to use their knowledge in responding to management challenges in international, national and local public organizational settings.

What does this master's programme entail?

Across the globe our governments and societies are confronted with enormous challenges that raise new organisational, policy, and ethical issues. The main focus of the Master of Public Administration is on the management, steering, and coordination of political, administrative, economic, and social actors and the contexts in which they act. It will equip you with the skills to address policy issues at local, regional and international levels.

Read more about the Public Administration programme.

3 reasons to choose Public Administration at Leiden University

  • The Master of Public Administration focusses on governance from multi-level perspective. You will examine policy creation and implementation from the level of the organisation (i.e. the behavior of public managers) all the way up to the highest level of cooperation (i.e. international governance issues).
  • As the world becomes more complex your Master of Public Adminsitration has growing career value for governmental organisations, NGO's and business.
  • The Hague is the ideal location for your study, placing you in the political and administrative heart of the Netherlands and at the centre of European policy and governance.

Find out more reasons to choose Public Administration.

Public Administration: the right programme for you?

  • Are you fascinated in watching the whole context of dilemmas and challenges experienced by  governments and societies worldwide?
  • Do you want to address these issues from the perspective of governance?
  • Do you have affinity with a specific area of governance, as addressed by the three specialisations in this programme – economics and governance, international and european governance, or public management and leadership?

Then this programme is for you!

Read more about the admission requirements.

Chat with a student

Do you have a question about studying at Leiden University or student life in Leiden or in The Hague? Do you want more information about the Master of Public Administration? Chat with a current student for answers to your questions!

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