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Role of IT in Public Administration


Admission requirements

Not applicable


The course focuses on IT challenges from a public governance perspective. This includes providing a basic understanding of the politico-administrative characteristics that distinguish public from private sector organizations and how these characteristics affect the challenges and opportunities of the use of IT in government.

Students will be introduced to Public Administration theories and the workings of government as well as different themes that are linked to the major problems identified for IT projects within government. The themes include aspects of leadership in the public realm, regulatory and collaborative aspects, the governance of new technologies, and policy challenges in the big data age.

Course objectives

The course aims at providing a deeper understanding of the issues, challenges and opportunities brought by the rapid changes in IT and its applications in government over recent years. By the end of the course, the you will:

  • have an understanding of key public administration concepts;

  • be able to identify key dynamics in government that facilitate or hinder IT implementation.

  • be able to write policy recommendations based on real-world challenges in combination with theoretical insights;


You will find the timetables for all courses and degree programmes of Leiden University in the tool MyTimetable (login). Any teaching activities that you have sucessfully registered for in MyStudyMap will automatically be displayed in MyTimeTable. Any timetables that you add manually, will be saved and automatically displayed the next time you sign in.

MyTimetable allows you to integrate your timetable with your calendar apps such as Outlook, Google Calendar, Apple Calendar and other calendar apps on your smartphone. Any timetable changes will be automatically synced with your calendar. If you wish, you can also receive an email notification of the change. You can turn notifications on in ‘Settings’ (after login).

For more information, watch the video or go the the 'help-page' in MyTimetable. Please note: Joint Degree students Leiden/Delft have to merge their two different timetables into one. This video explains how to do this.

Mode of instruction

The course is based on a combination of lectures, class discussions and some practical exercises. The lectures will present the background material for each session. Do not expect the lectures to cover each and every topic from the assigned readings. Instead, the lectures will be mostly focused on the more difficult and controversial issues. Hence, it is essential that you read the assigned literature in advance of the sessions.

Assessment method

  • Bi-weekly discussion questions (10%)
    Preparation of discussion questions for each lecture based on the assigned readings. Those questions will be used throughout the lecture to touch upon different aspects of the literature.

  • Essay (30%)
    The essay will address a question from the general public administration literature and its connection to IT-related challenges and should be treated as an assignment building up to the final paper.

  • Final paper (60%)
    The final paper builds on the essay.

Details about the essay and final paper will be made available via Brightspace.

The teacher will inform the students how the inspection of and follow-up discussion of the exams will take place.

Reading list

The reading list will be made available via Brightspace before the start of the course.


From the academic year 2022-2023 on every student has to register for courses with the new enrollment tool MyStudyMap. There are two registration periods per year: registration for the fall semester opens in July and registration for the spring semester opens in December. Please see this page for more information.

Please note that it is compulsory to both preregister and confirm your participation for every exam and retake. Not being registered for a course means that you are not allowed to participate in the final exam of the course. Confirming your exam participation is possible until ten days before the exam.

Extensive FAQ's on MyStudymap can be found here.


Programme Co-ordinator: ms. Esme Caubo


There is only limited capacity for external students. Please contact the programme Co-ordinator

Also register for every course in Brightspace. Important information about the course is posted here.