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Public Administration: Public Management and Leadership

The MSc Public Administration offers 3 specialisations:

  1. International and European Governance (IEG)

  2. Public Management and Leadership (PML)

  3. Economics and Governance (EG)

This master’s is a fulltime day programme taught in English. Only students of the MSc Public Administration can participate in the courses of Public Administration.

If government wants to solve societal challenges and improve society, individual public organisations must be able to achieve results. The Public Management and Leadership specialisation focuses on how management and leadership shape the performance of organisations in the public sector. In times of increasing complexity, management is needed to ensure that public organisations operate in an effective, efficient and reliable manner. At the same time, leadership is necessary for public organisations to be adaptive, responsive and innovative.

Specialisation: PML

Please consult the programme overview of the Master Public Administration for the September and February intake to see which courses you follow in each block. Your study load is 15 ECTS per block. The core and skills-oriented courses are offered twice per year and the specialisation courses are offered once per year. Please note: the range of electives differs per block II and block IV. You can find the overview on the right side under 'Files'.

  • In your first block, you follow one core course Public Institutions (5 ECTS) and the specialisation courses Collaborative Governance (5 ECTS) and Citizen-State Interactions (5 ECTS).

  • In your second block, you follow one core course Public Policy and Values (5 ECTS), one skills-oriented course Research Design (5 ECTS), and one elective course (5 ECTS).

  • In your third block, you follow the specialisation courses Leadership in Organizations (5 ECTS) and Politicians and Public Managers (5 ECTS) and start with your Master's Thesis (15 or 20 ECTS)

  • In your fourth block, you work fulltime on your Master's Thesis (15 or 20 ECTS).


Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2

Block 1

Public Institutions 5
Collaborative Governance 5
Citizen-State Interactions 5

Block 2

Public Policy and Values 5
Research Design 5
Elective (see below) 5

Block 3

Public Institutions 5
Politicians and Public Managers 5
Leadership in Organizations 5

Block 4

Public Policy and Values 5
Research Design 5
Elective (see below) 5

Master thesis Public Administration

Master's Thesis Public Administration 20


Markets and Competition Policy 5
EU Policymaking and Implementation 5
Regulatory policy: Theory and practice 5
International Environmental Governance 5
Public Leadership Across Borders 5
Lobbying and Public Affairs in Theory and Practice 5
Managerial Economics, Business and Politics 5
Markets in the Welfare State 5


Board and co-participation

The programme Public Administration has a programme board that consists of:

  • Programme coordinator, responsible for the content of the programme amongst other things: Dr. R. (Rik) de Ruiter.

  • Student member of the board, who brings in the student perspective of the programme board: R. (Rassoul) Coelen

The Master Public Administration has a Programme Committee (OLC). This is a co-participation body that consists of academic staff as well as students.

Study counseling and support

The study advisers are your first point of contact within the programme. They can help you with study-related questions and problems, such as study delay, planning and choices, thesis issues, internships, exchange, rules and regulations etc. Please inform them of personal circumstances, especially when they affect your studies and/or wellbeing. Examples include (acute or chronic) illness, disability, family circumstances, pregnancy, top-level sport and certain board activities.

Depending on your question or problem, the study advisers might forward you to the:

  • Student counsellors. They help you with any questions or problems you might have concerning combining studying with top-level sport, a disability or pregnancy/with children, academic delay, complaints and financial matters.

  • Student psychologists. They can help you with study-related and personal problems. They also provide mindset and study skills courses and workshops, and support groups for students who are writing their thesis.

  • Board of Examiners. The board of examiners is responsible for examination and monitors the level of exams and elective courses/packages, including adherence to the rules and regulations, granting exemptions and taking measures with regard to fraud, plagiarism etc. For individual requests to the board, please read the rules and regulations.

  • Educational Service Centre (OSC). The OSC is responsible for the organisation of exams and exam facilities, registration of final grades and processing of requests in uSis, diploma requests, transcripts and schedules. They can be reached at the desk and by telephone during opening hours, and via email 24/7.


  • The study advisers are the first point of contact within the programme. Please inform them about your complaint first so they can forward you the right contact person, department or procedure.

  • The university offers different channels where you can discuss your question or complaint.

  • Do you have a questions, suggestion or complaint about a specific course, exam or about the study programme and time schedule? Please check the complaints page of your programme.

  • Every faculty has a complaints coordinator: the assessor of the Faculty (student member of the Board). He or she is the complaints coordinator for all other complaints.

Study association

The study association Bestuurskundige Interfacultaire vereniging Leiden (B.I.L.) forms a link between students and the Institute and organizes several activities for students.

Transitional arrangement

Research Methods (IEG and PML February 2020 cohort and earlier)
Due to the restructuring of the program the course Research Methods is no longer offered from the academic year of 2021-2022 onwards. If you are still in need of this course please contact Study Advice before September 1st, 2023.

PML specialization courses (PML February 2021 cohort and earlier)
Due to the restructuring of the Public Management and Leadership program the courses Strategic Public Management and Collaboration and Leadership and Organisational Behaviour are no longer offered from the academic year of 2022-2023 onwards.

Students from the PML February 2021 cohorts and earlier who did not finish (one of) these courses follow the following courses instead:

  • Strategic Public Management and Collaboration follow: Collaborative Governance and Citizen-State Interactions

  • Leadership and Organisational Behaviour: Politicians and Public Managers and Leadership in Organizations
    Students that have obtained partial grades from one of the courses please contact Voet, J. van der (Joris). NB In principle partial grades will not remain valid in the new academic year.

Career preparation

Career Preparation in the Master Public Administration

The Career Preparation programme of the Master Public Administration equips you with the knowledge, skills and tools you need to make a good head start on the labour market, in the Netherlands or abroad. It consists of employability skills in the courses, self-study modules in Brightspace, and labour market orientation by the programme and faculty. During the two-hour kick-off meeting in week 2, we will inform you on the importance of career preparation and possibilities during your master's studies and how to navigate the (sub-)modules in Brightspace. When you have completed the programme, you are able to position yourself in the labour market and target your dream job(s) effectively.

Employability in the Courses

The professors in our master's programme include individual and group assignments in their courses to train employability skills, some discipline-specific, to prepare you for the labour market. Students follow one specialisation course with career preparation explicitly embedded in the curriculum. Students are required to perform an assignment and reflect on their learning experiences and applied skills, and to apply these insights to their future career perspectives.

Economics & Governance: Economics of Regulation by Dr. Hendrik Vrijburg

This specialisation course pays attention to labour market preparation throughout. We ask students to think of examples of government policy that they might come across in a future work environment. We also ask students to conduct a Social Cost Benefit Analysis (SCBA), give policy advice regarding the regulation of nitrogen emissions in the Netherlands and evaluate an actual SCBA to learn which difficult decisions drafting an SCBA requires. The assignments encourages students to reflect on the relationship between the course Economics of Regulation and their future work environment.

International and European Governance: Decision-Making in Multi-level Governance Systems by Dr. Rik de Ruiter

In the final assignment of this specialisation course, students need to reflect on their experience during a simulation negotiation game (week 7), link it to relevant parts of the literature assigned for this course and reflect on the relevance of the experience for labour market prospects for students of International and European Governance (IEG). More specifically, students need to reflect in the individual paper on their negotiation skills and suitable jobs and employers.

Public Management and Leadership: Leadership in Organisations by Bernard Bernards MSc MA

This specialisation course seeks to contribute to labour market preparation by:

  • Bringing students in contact with a relevant practitioner in public administration practice,

  • Giving students the experience of leadership consulting,

  • Giving insight into the practice of a potential policy field or organisation where the student may find future employment, and

  • Contributing to the development of relevant professional and analytical skills.

Self-Study Modules in Brightspace

Having a master's degree in a certain specialisation alone, while significant, is not sufficient. It needs to be accompanied by (personal) reflection, experience (application in practical situations) and labour market orientation. That is why we have developed self-study modules in Brightspace as a valuable and indispensable addition to your master's programme. It helps you to connect your master's programme to your ambitions, skills and personality traits, so you obtain a holistic view of yourself as an academic professional.

The online programme consists of four modules: 1. Career Orientation, 2. Know Yourself, 3. Application Skills and 4. Transition to the Labour Market. Each module consists of several sub-modules. Although the (sub-)modules follow a logical order, you can also choose to do them randomly. The modules are composed of the following elements: introduction, body paragraphs, assignment and suggestions for more information.

After completing the modules, students:

  • Are able to scan and analyse the labour market according to their ambitions.

  • Understand and explain their personality traits/preferences, values and qualities in a professional context.

  • Have knowledge of how to network and use LinkedIn for the benefit of finding a job.

  • Have the necessary skills and tools to apply for jobs effectively.

  • Have knowledge of how to successfully pass the interview and assessment stages of the application process.

Labour market orientation

The university offers various resources to facilitate your transition from university to the labour market, which include: