Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Politics and International Studies

MA Public Administration

In this Section:

MA Public Administration offers you …

  • the unique experience of studying in both the UK and China
  • an advanced understanding of key theories and contemporary practices in international politics and policy making
  • a practical insight into the public administration of China.

If you want to …

  • engage with students and academics from across the globe
  • contribute to and make an impact on global society
  • pursue a career in the international political arena, including development, diplomacy, policy, international law, administration, non-governmental advocacy or journalism

… then consider MA Public Administration.


"Our diverse research interests and interdisciplinary approaches to teaching mean that you can discuss matters of international importance with students and academics from all over the world." Dr Adam Tyson


This highly distinctive Masters programme allows you the unique opportunity to study advanced international politics and public administration at the University of Leeds and the East China University of Political Science and Law (ECUPL). The programme will enable you to explore international perspectives on political systems, public administration and policy making - ideal for those who wish to make a major impact and contribution to global society.

Specifically created with UK and Chinese students in mind -- although the course will appeal, and is open, to all nationalities -- this two year, two-stage, collaborative programme allows you the rare opportunity to gain international experience as part of your postgraduate studies.

In the UK, you will benefit from our research-informed curriculum and engage with the latest critical thinking in the fields of politics, international relations and global development. You will undertake a comparative study of key theories, methods and contemporary practices in international politics and develop analytical as well as practical skills in a complex, blended-learning environment.

In Shanghai, you will be enrolled in a number of both theoretical and practical modules that will give you a comprehensive understanding of Chinese politics and public management. A key feature of this year is the ‘Social Practice and Discussion’ module. This module allows you to carry out fieldwork in Shanghai, including visits to municipal government buildings, prisons, free trade zones, business centres and schools.

On completion of this programme, you will receive two degree qualifications - one from the University of Leeds and one from ECUPL. The whole programme is taught in English.


Career possibilities

As a graduate of this programme, you will be strategically positioned within a global job market, having studied in both the United Kingdom and the People's Republic of China. You will be well placed for a career in the international political arena, in fields such as development, diplomacy, policy, international law, administration, non-governmental advocacy, and journalism, as well as teaching in higher education.

Alumni from our School have pursued a range of high-profile careers within academia, global think tanks, globally-operating consultancy and publishing firms, transnational civil society organisations, the United Nations and the World Bank. ECUPL has also produced a number of prestigious alumni, including political leaders at national level and local level, civil servants and judges in the Supreme People's Court.

Year 1 - Leeds

In your first year, you will study in the School of Politics and International Studies (POLIS) at the University of Leeds.

Compulsory Modules

You will be required to complete the compulsory modules from one of the following degree programmes:


Optional Modules

You will study up to three optional modules from the following list. 

  • Africa in the Contemporary World
  • American Foreign Policy
  • Contemporary Politics of the Middle East
  • Developments in British Politics
  • European Defence and Security Analysis
  • Global Inequalities and Development
  • Global Politics of Health: Power and Inequity
  • International Political Theory
  • Policing Post-Conflict Cities
  • Political Economy of Resources and Development
  • Political Theory in Action
  • The Rise of China

Year 2 - Shanghai

You will study in the School of Politics and Public Management at the East China University of Political Science and Law and will undertake eight compulsory modules, one of which will be taught by a visiting lecturer from the University of Leeds.

Compulsory modules

Constitution and Administrative Law will give you a basic understanding of constitutional law and administrative law in China, and lay a solid foundation for the other fields of study in law. By the end of the module, you should be able to question and discuss the relevance of comparative approaches for the real problems of China.

Contemporary Chinese Government and Politics focuses principally on issues of contemporary Chinese politics, while also introducing you to contemporary Chinese society. You will gain an advanced, interdisciplinary understanding of the contemporary Chinese government and politics and the module will enable you to question and discuss the important issues and characteristics of Chinese politics. Throughout the module you will be asked to develop reasoned arguments and exercise critical judgement, manage their own learning and make use of constructive feedback.

Contemporary Social and Economic Issues and Administration in China has been designed solely for international students with the objective of examining the key social and economic issues in China's transitional period. You will study Chinese demographic development, labour market, labour conflict, and inequity. At the same time, you will gain an understanding of the contemporary Chinese government’s role and policies aimed at solving these issues. On completion you should be able to analyse the effects and disadvantages of government policies, and suggest some reasonable directions or solutions that adress these issues.

Political Science will recap the essential theories of contemporary political science and various approaches and methods for political science research. You will also develop your academic skills through literature reviews, presentations, discussions, research design and writing.

Public Management will deepen your appreciation of the importance of public management and enhance your ability to  think analytically about the problems of public management. You will also construct convincing arguments related to the ways in which complex public management issues can be addressed.

Social Practice and Discussion is designed exclusively for international students, in order to gain experience in the facilities, communities, and government sectors of Shanghai, China. It will assist you in understanding real life issues in China and the unique culture and administrative style of Chinese government. In order to realize these objectives, the module covers a variety of practical activities, including visiting commercial and business centres, the free-trade zone, and the congress hall in Shanghai. On completion of this module you will possess a good understanding of the general social, economic and political context in Shanghai and China, and reflect upon the potential problems that China may face.

Optional modules

Chinese Language (Level 1 and Level 2) aims to introduce you to the basic characters and grammar of the Chinese language (including listening, speaking, reading, and writing) using a practical and interactive teaching method. You will examine: basic Chinese pronunciation; greetings and strokes of Chinese characters; classroom Chinese and the basic structure of Chinese characters; university campus language; off-campus language and everyday communication.

Chinese Culture (level 1 and Level 2) examines the conditions under which Chinese culture originated and developed, as well as the historical process of cultural development. You will learn to discern the evolution of traditional aspects of Chinese culture, including history, law, art, calligraphy, architecture, food and clothing, whilst also exploring the cultural diversity of China.


Programme Structure

You will achieve your learning objectives through a combination of advanced lectures by our expert academic staff, as well as lively seminar discussions, guided weekly readings, and the completion of independent research in the form of essays of varying length. Your dissertation will be completed under the close supervision of your module leader.

Additional contact hours are offered in the form of personal tutoring and supervision, as well as the optional participation in postgraduate conferences, research seminars and an impressive range of guest lectures and workshops.

MA Politics and Public Administration offers you the unique opportunity to study at two internationally recognised Universities, creating a programme with a truly global perspective and practical outlook.

At the University of Leeds, you will learn in one of the largest and most diverse schools of Politics and International Studies in the UK, benefiting from a broad range of expertise in substantive issues and regional specialisations. At ECUPL, you will also be taught by academics with recognised achievements in teaching and research, and a record of successful participation in national research projects.

Both Schools place great emphasis on the combination of theories and practice for teaching methodologies, and often invite experts from home and abroad to deliver lectures and seminars.

Research-led teaching

POLIS and ECUPL academic staff are widely recognised as leading experts in their fields, as measured by their successful acquisition of research funding, publications in leading peer-review journals, the production of policy briefs and evidence used in high-profile political deliberations, and frequent invitations to appear on national and international media.

A key strength of the research culture in POLIS is an approach to academic inquiry which openly embraces normative and empirical approaches in the study of international politics and public administration. We participate in a number of research clusters, including “The Responsibility to Protect and Prosecute”, “Foreign Policy Analysis” and the “Middle East Research Group”.

Academic staff at ECUPL explore specialised themes such as public security and safety, administrative law, contemporary politics and governance of China, and public affairs and social security.

The 'double degree' qualification

What qualification will I receive at the end of the programme?
At the end of your second year of study, you will receive 2 separate degree qualifications – your chosen MA (China) from the University of Leeds and MA Public Administration from ECUPL.

What language will the programme be taught in?
Both Year 1 (University of Leeds) and Year 2 (ECUPL) will be taught in English.

What grade do I need to achieve in Year 1 to progress to Year 2?
You will need to pass your first year of study at the University of Leeds to progress to the second year of study at ECUPL.

Application process for UK, EU and International (non-Chinese) candidates

How do I apply?
All applicants must apply to both the University of Leeds and ECUPL. You will apply initially to the University of Leeds and subsequently to ECUPL.

  • To apply to the University of Leeds, please visit the How to apply webpage. For further information and guidance please contact Postgraduate Admissions. The deadline for applications made to the University of Leeds is 10 September 2015.
  • To apply to ECUPL please contact Ms Zhang Juan (Mia) for more detailed information. The deadline for applications to ECUPL is the 30 June 2015.

What are the entry requirements for this course?
If you wish to apply for this programme you should normally hold a good honours degree (upper second class or first class in the UK) in a relevant Social Science discipline, or an equivalent professional qualification.

For students whose first language is not English, you will need to have an IELTS score of 6.5, with at least 6.0 in all components, or an equivalent qualification. 

I am currently studying a POLIS MA at the University of Leeds. Can I ‘convert’ my current degree to the MA Public Administration qualification?
Yes, it is possible to ‘convert’ your standard POLIS MA to the MA Public Administration - unless you are currently studying MA Politics (parliamentary pathway).

Please contact Postgraduate Admissions for more detailed information about the conversion process.

Application process for Chinese candidates

How do I apply?
All applicants must apply to both the University of Leeds and ECUPL. You will apply initially to ECUPL and subsequently to the University of Leeds.

  • To apply to ECUPL please contact Ms Zhang Juan (Mia) for more detailed information. The deadline for applications to ECUPL is the 31 July 2016.
  • To apply to the University of Leeds, please visit the How to apply webpage. For further information and guidance please contact Postgraduate Admissions. The deadline for applications made to the University of Leeds is 31 August 2016. 

What are the entry requirements for this course?
If you wish to apply for this programme you should normally hold a Bachelor’s Degree in a relevant Social Sciences discipline, with at least 75% overall average, or an equivalent professional qualification.

You will also need an IELTS score of 6.5, with at least 6.0 in all components, or an equivalent qualification

Fees and funding

How much does the programme cost?

  • At the University of Leeds, you will pay the standard, full-time taught postgraduate fees, depending on your fee status.
  • At ECUPL, UK, EU and international students will pay £5,310. Chinese students will pay the standard fee of 54,000 RMB.
  • You will also have to cover your personal maintenance costs in both the UK and China.

Are there any scholarships available?
Yes, there are a number of scholarships available to non-Chinese students in order to fund your year in China.

  • ECUPL scholarships can be worth £200 - £600 per year for general expenses, and are awarded to approximately 70% of applicants. 
  • The China Ministry of Education also has a scholarship scheme worth around £300 per year, and are awarded to approximately 10% of applicants.

To apply for a scholarship, please contact Ms Zhang Juan (Mia).

Living costs

What is the average cost of living in the UK and China?

  • The Leeds University Union provides some useful information about the average costs of living as a student in the UK.
  • The average cost of living in Shanghai is around 5000 RMB (£200) a month.

Am I eligible to apply for university accommodation?

  • In your first year at the University of Leeds, if you are an international applicant you are guaranteed a place in our accommodation. If you are a UK/EU applicant, you are not guaranteed accommodation however we are confident that we will be able to offer you a room. Please visit the Accommodation website for further information and for application deadlines.
  • Once you have been accepted to study at ECUPL, you will be helped with your accomodation reservation by the International Office. Accomodation for international students is £110 a month for a single (non-shared) room at the new Songjiang campus.

University of Leeds - Programme leaders

East China University of Political Science and Law

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