Public Administration (MSc)
With a degree in Public Administration, you are well prepared for a career in the public sector, but also the private and non-profit sector. Opportunities include becoming a policymaker, policy advisor, (project) manager, consultant and lobbyist.
Gonçalo Veiga da Silva
Alumnus, Trainee at the European Commission
'I acknowledged the importance of also being empowered with a better understanding of economics and skills of economic reasoning. The MPA specialisation in economics and governance was the opportunity to develop those skills and knowledge, with an additional advantage: not only I would expand my knowledge on economics, as I would also be studying how public administrations work.'
I always had a strong sentiment about public service. When I finished my bachelor´s in law, I felt I had developed a good picture of how the World works and how society is regulated and their different fields ´operate`. Simultaneously, however, I did recognize that if I wanted to deliver a positive change to the World in a future professional career, some steps were still to be taken. In this context, I acknowledged the importance of also being empowered with a better understanding of economics and skills of economic reasoning. The MPA specialisation in economics and governance was the opportunity to develop those skills and knowledge, with an additional advantage: not only I would expand my knowledge on economics, as I would also be studying how public administrations work. The combination between courses on economics and public administration is the greatest advantage of this Master, and definitely what makes it unique. On the one hand, we are being taught public policy and administration theory. On the other hand, we are developing skills in a central field of the governance of our societies: economics. I believe this complementarity has the potential to empower future public servants, politicians and people motivated about public affairs with the capacity to not only understand the environment in which they will work, but also to contribute for better public policies. In fact, I feel I am applying myself some of the skills I developed in this Master. In my traineeship in the European Commission, I am constantly performing tasks that require me to be able to understand and analyse economic data and research. I also feel that on discussions on different policies` design, implementation, and evaluation I can devote a critical look to what is under consideration and reflect myself on the consequences of a given decision or intervention. Moreover, I sharpened my ability to read the policy cycles and the political phenomena inherent to the work of the Commission. Lastly and even before starting my traineeship, the Master gave me the opportunity to devote a Master`s thesis to the economic impact of the EU`s cohesion policy. This not only provided me the space to deep my expertise on the field I am currently working at, as it also forced me to develop very important skills for my career, including the ability to conduct economic research, apply econometric models and use statistical software. I would recommend this programme to all those interested to devote a career to public service and/or affairs. The Master is particularly useful for those that aim at being competent in a very relevant field of the governance of our societies – economics -, but who also want to be prepared to understand the environment in which public policies are born and shaped – administrations/organizations.
Alumnus, Pilot Succes Specialist at FeedbackFruits
'I vividly recall the specialisation course Leadership in Organisations during which I learnt how to conduct behavioural analysis of a leader. The course entailed working with a group on delivering leadership recommendations for a public manager and was focused on applying academic literature to a real case.'
I have chosen this programme as the specialisation appealed to me - I looked for a master's degree that will equip me with knowledge on the topics of management that goes beyond business or focus on private corporations. When choosing a master's programme I paid attention to the course design and the way classes are conducted. I enjoy working with others and engaging with the content in a non-traditional way, hence I asked myself - are most of the courses interactive and involve peer work? Is there ample attention put into practical knowledge? This course ticked them all so it was an easy choice for me.
A big asset of this specialisation was a rather small number of students in comparison to other specialisations. I was very lucky to be able to connect with my fellow peers during a/synchronous group work, meeting after class to work on a project or brainstorm in breakout rooms. When having 100 students online you never feel that the teacher is treating you individually and you might feel intimidated to speak up or ask questions. The seminars and workshops in smaller groups (10-15) opened a door for feeling acknowledged and comfortable to share your thoughts and doubts. It also helped make the connections and oftentimes resulted in great in-class debates that were continued long after classes were finished.
I vividly recall the specialisation course Leadership and Organisational Behaviour during which I learnt how to conduct behavioural analysis of a leader. The course entailed working with a group on delivering a recommendation letter for a public manager and was focused on applying academic literature to a real case. During that course, I had the pleasure to interview a public servant working in a Dutch public organisation, giving insights into how organisations work and what challenges people in high positions are facing.
Oftentimes I am using the skills I learned during my elective. I wouldn't know that writing a systematic paper would be that useful in daily life, yet we have learned very valuable skills of extracting relevant information from a long research paper together with several reading techniques or searching for information. Additionally, my thesis capstone allows me to dive deep into statistics. You have the freedom to choose if you are conducting qualitative or quantitative research hence if you want to learn a new set of skills, this programme will allow you to do so. And most importantly - I have learnt what I like and where my interest does not lie, which is incredibly useful and valuable to know when joining the job market.
I would recommend it to students who seek a high peace programme and opt for interactive work whilst learning about how management work in an international environment. In my experience, I have been equipped with valuable feedback on my work, I became more sensitive to the challenges of public managers and I acquire an interest in topics I didn't know about before. Additionally, the professors always made sure that we not only write our papers and pass the course but also that we enjoy the time spent during the seminars. If the above resonates with you, this programme is a great fit for you.
Alumnus, Research Intern at the Clingendael Institute and former Schuman Trainee
' I aspired to become a policymaker who is able to tackle national and global challenges. To this end, I wanted to know more about policymaking, decision-making processes and implementation in multi-level governance systems.'
I chose to study Public Administration, and specifically the IEG track, because I aspired to become a policymaker who is able to tackle national and global challenges. To this end, I wanted to know more about policymaking, decision-making processes and implementation in multi-level governance systems. I felt that the IEG track could offer me that knowledge through its curriculum and due to its location in the administrative heart of the Netherlands. Moreover, I knew from first-hand experience how high the quality of the studies at Leiden University are, because I had done my Bachelor at Leiden University as well. This was an extra incentive for me to choose the MPA IEG.
What sets IEG apart from the other studies is that it is built upon the analysis of the political-administrative context and the organizational dimension. With an emphasis on how policymaking occurs in multi-level systems and in an international environment, IEG distinguishes itself from other study programmes such as international relations or EU studies. I would recommend this programme, because it offers a high quality of education and the opportunity to meet and learn from people all over the world.
I learned to write policy papers for and essays about various international challenges, in which I not only take into account the involvement of different actors with varying interests, but also the deeper layer of multiple political and societal issues on the global level. Moreover, apart from the theoretical knowledge that I gained through IEG, it strengthened my ability to think analytically, critically and creatively. In addition, the MPA IEG also prepares students for the labour market by focusing both on individual and group assignments, through which students learn to work both independently as well as in a team consisting of people with various national backgrounds and ideas. All of this helped me with receiving traineeship positions at the European Parliament and Clingendael.
Acquired skills and competences
After completing the programme, you will have a solid foundation in research and policymaking. You are able to analyse complex issues, approach them from multiple perspectives and tackle them with effective policy, services and leadership. Depending on your choice of specialisation, you will have developed a unique skills set tailored to a specific domain within public administration. The combination of being an academic policy researcher and a specialist in economic policy, (inter-)national governance or public management allows you to be employable in a wide variety of positions and still distinguish yourself on the labour market.
The programme prepares you for a career where policy and process meets strategy and leadership. You can respond to societal and organisational challenges, and develop and implement solutions in cross-sectoral and multilevel playing fields. This means that you can become anything from a policymaker in the (semi-)governmental institutions to consultant or lobbyist at the intersection of the public, private and/or non-profit sector – and more.
Orientation Year for Highly Educated Persons
If you are a non-EU recent graduate of Leiden University, you can apply for a residence permit under the ‘orientation year highly educated persons’ scheme. This allows you to spend a period of up to twelve months in the Netherlands looking for and undertaking employment. During your orientation year, you have free access to the labour market and do not need a work permit. For more information, see the Holland Alumni website.
Alumni that have completed the programme end up in a wide variety of jobs and organisations. Although the majority of the alumni end up in the public sector, a significant part works in consultancy, financial, legal and other business services or pursue a PhD.
Did you know that:
• the most popular positions that alumni hold are policy adviser, project manager and consultant?
• 60% of alumni found a job within 3 months after graduation and that it takes alumni approximately 5 months on average?
• more than half of alumni landed a permanent contract for their first relevant job after graduation?