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Introduction to Public Administration


Admission requirements

This course is open to Students of the Minor Public Administration Multi-Level Governance and exchange students. Per group a max amount of students is determined.


The primary objective of public administrations is to deliver public goods and services through public policies and programmes. Public administrations also need to make sure that individuals contribute to the delivery of public goods and services through taxes and/or contributions. In this course, we aim at better understanding the internal and external workings of public administrations by examining the political, economic, legal and social dimensions of public administrations.

In this introductory course we will discuss the following central themes:

  • The characteristics of public organisations and public administration;

  • Rationality, bureaucracy and organizational structures;

  • Leadership and management in public organizations;

  • Policy making in public organizations;

  • The ethics of the public service;

  • The institutional characteristics of public administration in the Netherlands and the EU.

Course objectives

After successfully completing this course, students should be able to:

  • Understand the key theoretical concepts used to study public administration.

  • Apply the key theoretical concepts to real life examples.

  • Discuss the key theoretical concepts in the field of public administration.

  • Critically assess scientific readings in the field of public administration.


On the right side of programme front page of the Prospectus you will find links to the timetables, uSis and Brightspace.

Mode of Instruction

This course consists of interactive sessions that are combined with students’ independent study of the literature.

Total 140 hours of which:

  • 14 contact hours

  • 3 hours of exam

  • 123 hours of self-study

Assessment method

The assessment method of this course consists of an exam.

To pass the course, students need to have a minimum of 5.5. Partial grades are only valid in the current academic year; partial grades will not remain valid after the exam and the resit of the course.

Reading list

During this course, we will use the following book: Michiel de Vries. 2016. Understanding Public Administration. London and New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

We will also use additional readings that will be communicated prior to the start of the course via Brightspace. Additional readings should be located through the university library catalogue. Readings that cannot be found online will be provided by the course instructor.


Register for every course and workgroup via MuStudymap or uSis. Registration is possible from 12 July 13.00h. Some courses and workgroups have a limited number of participants, so register on time (before the course starts). In uSis you can access your personal schedule and view your results.

Leiden University uses Brightspace as its online learning management system. After enrolment for the course in uSis you will be automatically enrolled in the Brightspace environment of this course.


Dr. Amandine Lerusse (