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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 via MyStudymap or uSis. Registration is possible from Tuesday 11 July, 13.00 h
Minor students will be enrolled in a workgroup by the programme.
You can view your personal schedule in MyTimetable after logging in. Some courses and workgroups have a limited number of participants, so register on time (before the course starts).

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

After registration for an exam you still need to confirm your attendance via MyStudymap. If you do not confirm, you will ultimately be de-registered and you will not be allowed to take the exam.
More information on registration via MyStudymap can be found on this page.

Please note: guest-/contract-/exchange students do not register via MyStudymap but via uSis. Guest-/contract-/exchange students also do not have to confirm their participation for exams via MyStudymap.


Dr. Amandine Lerusse (