nl en

Introduction to Public Administration


Admission requirements

This course is open to Students of the Minor Public Administration Multi-Level Governance, exchange students 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 organisations;

  • The policy cycle and the factors that influence the effectiveness and transparency of public policy programmes;

  • The leadership styles of public administrators and the legal, political, social and administrative context of public organisations;

  • 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 analyse current policy issues and the performing of public organisations.

  • 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 timetables, uSis and Brightspace.

Mode of Instruction

Seminars (compulsory).

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 (10 pp.; 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.

  • From 2020-2021 onwards, partial grades will not remain valid after the exam and the resit of the course.

  • More information about participation in exams can be found in the Rules & Regulations.

  • 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.

Reading list

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

  • Lecture material and articles.


Elective and minor students have to 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. Exchange students will be registered by the OSC.

Registration in uSis is possible from four weeks before the start of the course, after registration for the entire minor.

From the academic year 2020-2021 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.


Vasileios P. Karakasis, MSc