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Introduction to Public Administration

Vak 2019-2020


This course is open to Students of the Minor Public Administration Multi-Level Governance: id en Management, and Leiden University students (elective/keuzevak). Per group a max amount of students is determined.


Public administration is concerned with policy making, public management and the political – administrative relations.
In this introductory course we will discuss the basic issues and concepts of public administration, such as:
• The characteristics of public organizations;
• The policy cycle and the factors that influence the effectiveness and transparency of public policy programs;
• The legal, political, social and administrative context of public organizations;
• The most important management doctrines: Human Resources Management, New Public Management, Public Network Management;
• The accountability of public administrators and the possibility of administrative ethics;
• The institutional characteristics of public administration in the Netherlands and the EU.

Course objectives

Students should acquire knowledge of the basic concepts of public administration regarding the policy cycle, public management and public organizations.
• Students should acquire a profound understanding of the most important doctrines of public management.
• Students should acquire knowledge of the most important public institutions of the Netherlands and the EU.
• Students must be able to apply the concepts of public administration to analyze current policy issues and the performing of public organizations.
• Students must be able to reflect on the ethical issues of public administration.


On the right side of programme front page of the E-guide you will find links to the website and timetables, uSis and Blackboard.

Mode of Instruction

Seminars (compulsory).

Course Load

Total course load:140 hours
Seminars:14 hours
Mid-term exam (including review): 3 hours
Studying literature and self-study including peer review: 83 hours
Paper: 40 hours

Assessment method

Mid-term exam (50%): in which students are presented with open-ended and closed questions regarding the literature of the course up to the mid way mark.
A paper (10p. ; 50%), in which students have to report on a small research.

• Each of the two parts has to individually be a pass (5.5 or higher) before a weighed final grade is given for the course as a whole. Both parts can be re-taken once if failed. For rules of compensation and retakes, please refer to the website of the Board of Examiners of the Institute of Public Administration.
• Resit Students will be permitted to resit an examination if they have taken the first sit and earned a mark between 3 and 5.5 or with permission of the Board of Examiners.
• Resit written exam Students that want to take part in a resit for a written exam, are required to register via uSis. Use the activity number that can be found on the ‘timetable exams’.
• Keep in mind that retakes are in January.


Blackboard will be available a week before the start of the course.

Reading list

• Vries, Michiel S. de (2016), Understanding Public Administration. London and New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
• Lecture material and articles.


Use both uSis and Blackboard to register for every course.
Register for every course and workgroup via uSis. 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. Registration in uSis is possible from four weeks before the start of the course.
Also register for every course in Blackboard. Important information about the course is posted here.