Taught course

Master of Public Administration (Finance)

University of Birmingham · School of Government

Entry requirements

  • An upper second-class Honours degree or equivalent from an approved university or an equivalent professional qualification in a relevant field (the equivalent US Grade Point Average is 3.0) or
  • A lower second-class Honours degree from an approved university with excellent work experience.
  • Adequate capacity in written and spoken English.
  • Degrees from all disciplines are considered and a candidate's work experience can also be taken into consideration.

Months of entry


Course content

The MPA is an international Masters’ programme, aimed at people who are pursuing (or would like to pursue) a career in public administration in government, public enterprises or non-governmental organisations, whether at local, national or international level. The programme is particularly suitable for those working in finance ministries, finance sections within sectoral ministries, development banks, local government, public enterprises, aid providers, non-governmental organisations, and research and training organisations who wish to participate at a strategic level in financial management decisions.

The Finance pathway will enable managers in the public sector and not-for-profit sector to update and improve their practical skills and their understanding of financial and economic management. This will enable managers to participate in financial management at the strategic level in their organisation rather than to focus on detailed technical skills such as bookkeeping. This is primarily a public sector management, not a business management programme, although some of the themes covered are relevant to both sectors.

The approach taken within the programme is practical. You will analyse cases, using real data as far as possible to provide you will skills in public economic and finance management. Theories and conceptual models where they help with the understanding and solving of practical problems will be introduced.

The programme will develop your understanding of the role of the state in managing the economy and public finances; managing monetary, exchange rate, fiscal, trade and environmental policy; budgeting and control. It will consider the issues associated with working with the private sector; and, in designing, planning, financing and evaluating projects. New approaches to reform of financial management including performance budgeting and improving accountability will receive attention. There will be a special focus on decentralised service delivery reflecting IDD’s long experience on working in decentralised systems.

Any relevant subject may be chosen for your dissertation, with the final topic agreed between yourself and your assigned supervisor. It will allow you to make an in-depth study of a topic of interest to you.

Why study this course

This is an MPA programme aimed at people already working within, or closely with, the public sector or not-for-profit sector, or wanting to join the sectors, particularly within developing or newly industrialised countries. The programme:

  • Has a strong international focus, using real examples and practice from many countries and being relevant to many countries, and with an international student body.
  • Includes a study visit, to learn about public administration and strategy in a particular context, with meetings with a range of public sector and associated bodies. There are two locations to choose from each year – destinations in recent years include St Petersburg, Guangzhou, Vienna, Berlin
  • Is aimed particularly at applicants with experience and interest in financial and economic management within the public sector. However, no prior experience or study in economics or financial management is required or assumed.
  • Has a wide range of optional modules.

Information for international students

  • IELTS 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in any band
  • TOEFL: 88 overall with no less than 21 in Reading, 20 in Listening, 22 in Speaking and 21 in Writing
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE) including online: PTE Academic 67 with no less than 64 in all four skills
  • Cambridge English (exams taken from 2015): Advanced – minimum overall score of 176, with no less than 169 in any component

Fees and funding

UK students
£12,600 FT/£6,300 PT
International students

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MPA
    part time
    24 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details