Preparation before your arrival
Prior to your arrival at LSE you will receive details about optional readings and online learning materials which are designed to help you to prepare for the programme.
MPA Welcome & Introductory Teaching
From mid-September (exact date TBC) you will need to attend MPA Welcome events and introductory teaching sessions. These will take place prior to the start of the LSE Autumn Term dates. The welcome sessions include campus enrolment, a programme introduction, compulsory introductory teaching in mathematics, statistics, academic writing and presentation skills plus sessions to introduce opportunities and resources available to you during your studies.
If you have not studied mathematics and statistics for some time, the MPA introductory teaching provides a challenging but accessible introduction to some of the key skills and techniques required for the degree. For other students, it serves as a refresher course.
In the first year, you will take three compulsory courses, in micro- and macro-economics, political science and quantitative methods of analysis. These provide a rigorous foundation to support you in your second year.
You will also select optional courses (electives) to the value of one unit from a range of options.
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Micro and Macro Economics for Public Policy
You will learn macro- and micro- economic concepts, models and methods suitable for appraising policy, applicable in a wide variety of contexts. This includes the study of demand and supply, the labour market, public goods, market failure, inflation and monetary policy, fiscal policy and debt, and exchange rates.
Political Science for Public Policy
You will learn concepts and models for understanding the behaviour of political actors and why they lead to particular outcomes. This includes the study of voting, political parties, interest groups, legislative politics, corruption, democratisation and ethnic conflict. These tools are essential for designing policy interventions to achieve desired future outcomes.
Quantitative Approaches and Policy Analysis
You will learn skills for the quantitative evaluation of public policies, such as causal relationships; randomised control trials; difference-in-difference estimation; instrumental variables; regression discontinuity designs and cost-benefit analysis.
Option courses (electives) - Year one
In addition to your required core courses, you will take full unit or half-unit option courses (electives). The SPP offers a wide range of courses as options.
You can review the 2023/24 option list here.
The key features of the second year are the MPA Capstone and the option to choose a specialisation to be a part of your degree title.
You will also choose a range of option courses (electives) from the School of Public Policy (or elsewhere in LSE, subject to permission and availability).
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The MPA Capstone
The MPA Capstone is a compulsory one unit course. You will carry out analysis and research, as part of a team, in order to address a practical policy issue relevant to a real-life client organisation. It allows you to extend your capabilities by applying what you have learned in the MPA core courses in a professional context.
Option courses (electives)
Your remaining second year course units will be made up of option courses (electives) from a wide range available in the School of Public Policy or (with permission and subject to availability) from elsewhere in LSE.
You may choose to write a Policy Paper (6,000 words) or a Dissertation (10,000 words) as one of your option courses. You will choose your own topic if you decide to write a Policy Paper or Dissertation, which you will develop in consultation with your allocated supervisor.
You can either choose to pursue a general MPA or you can request that one of the following specialisms is added to your degree title.
The current specialisms are:
- Economic Policy
- International Development
- Inequality and Poverty
- Social Impact
- International Political Economy
Each specialism has one or more courses attached to it (please refer to the programme regulations and click on 'MPA course list' for details). To be eligible for a specialism to be added to your degree title, you must meet the requirements to be eligible for the overall degree and pass the courses attached to your chosen specialism. You can only choose one specialism but you can take courses from other specialisms as option courses (electives).
For the most up-to-date list of optional courses please visit the relevant School Calendar page.
Whilst care has been taken to ensure that this information is up to date and correct, a change of circumstances since publication may cause the School to change, suspend or withdraw a course or programme of study, or change the fees that apply to it. The School will always notify the affected parties as early as practicably possible and propose any viable and relevant alternative options. Note that the School will neither be liable for information that after publication becomes inaccurate or irrelevant, nor for changing, suspending or withdrawing a course or programme of study due to events outside of its control, which includes but is not limited to a lack of demand for a course or programme of study, industrial action, fire, flood or other environmental or physical damage to premises.You must also note that places are limited on some courses and/or subject to specific entry requirements. The School cannot therefore guarantee you a place. Please note that changes to programmes and courses can sometimes occur after you have accepted your offer of a place. These changes are normally made in light of developments in the discipline or path-breaking research, or on the basis of student feedback. Changes can take the form of altered course content, teaching formats or assessment modes. Any such changes are intended to enhance the student learning experience. You should visit the School’s Calendar, or contact the relevant academic department, for information on the availability and/or content of courses and programmes of study. Certain substantive changes will be listed on the updated graduate course and programme information page.