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Higher education boost for Scotland’s public service sector

Posted: 14th January 2016

Queen Margaret University (QMU), Edinburgh, has launched a new Master of Public Administration (MPA) in an effort to meet a growing industry demand.


In Scotland, around 21% of the workforce is employed in the public sector. This does not include the many private and third sector organisations that help deliver vital public services.

At a time of increasing pressure on public finances it is increasingly important that all those who support the delivery of our public services continue to develop their professional skills and knowledge. QMU’s public services programmes support those seeking to develop these skills.

The MPA is an internationally recognised professional postgraduate degree, which is a public sector equivalent to the Master of Business Administration (MBA).

The programme is targeted primarily at public service professionals working in a range of organisational contexts. The aim of the programme is to enable learners to build on their professional experience by studying key developments in public administration in order to more effectively deliver public service outcomes in a rapidly changing environment.

The programme addresses some of the key challenges facing our public services such as financial accountability, partnership working, governance, effective leadership and responding to change.

The MPA has an innovative leadership exchange element, working with the Association of Chief Officers of Scottish Voluntary Organisations (ACOSVO), to enable all students to partake in an appropriate exchange within another organisation. QMU is also an institutional member of the Joint University Council’s Public Administration Committee.

The programme offers options for both full-time study and part-time study, which will fit with busy working lives.

This is a multidisciplinary course, with the purpose of preparing students for professional academic level roles in the public sector in democratic and legal states. As such, the delivery draws on academic expertise from a range of backgrounds such as administrative justice, public management and social policy. The input of research active academics will be complemented with expert guest speakers and visits to key public administration sites such as the Holyrood Parliament in Edinburgh.

Ian Elliott

Dr Ian Elliott, Senior Lecturer in Business and Public Services at QMU, said: “Our new MPA has been specifically designed to support managers who are currently charged with delivering public services, from within the public sector or from private and third sector organisations. QMU’s public services courses have always delivered excellence in the facilitation of academic qualifications and knowledge in a practice-focused setting.

“The new MPA is designed for middle level managers who have an interest in the way public services management has developed from traditional public administration to the new public governance. The course focuses on key themes and issues including public finance and leading change. As such it equips managers with skills and knowledge to step ahead in their career and implement real improvements in within their workplace.”

For more information on public service and business programmes, ‘Step Ahead’ at QMU and find your postgraduate course online at:


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