UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose



This globally unique programme will provide in-depth understanding of innovation in economics, technology and organisations—alongside cutting-edge thinking around public administration and governance.

IIPP launch

The Master of Public Administration (MPA): Innovation, Public Policy and Public Value programme is divided over three terms in one academic year, with four compulsory (90 credits) and two optional taught modules (30 credits) plus a final project (60 credits). Team work is critical throughout.

Compulsory modules (90 credits)

The first term is focused around two core modules (30 each):

  • Public Value and Public Purpose: delves into the different approaches to understand the creation and measurement of public value and different framings for purpose-led organisations 
  • Grand Challenges and Systems Change: considers how public value and purpose can direct innovation by multiple actors to tackle societal grand challenges, from those around the climate and health, as well as to guide fiscal and financial frameworks

The second term offers two further compulsory modules (15 each):

  • Creative Bureaucracies: looks at governance frameworks geared to developing dynamic capabilities within organisations that need to be flexible, adaptable and willing to experiment 
  • Transformation by Design: develops strategic design skills and techniques for creating policy innovation cultures, processes, environments and organisations, particularly addressing the dynamics of digital transformation

Students will also benefit from seeing first-hand the impact of the ideas presented in the modules. The Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose (IIPP) is having a global impact on policies through its Commission on Mission Oriented Innovation and Industrial Strategy (MOIIS), its work with the European Commission horizon programme, and our work with designing new institutions like public banks.

Optional modules (30 credits)

In the second term, students will choose two optional modules from a selection in other Master programmes across different faculties at UCL. These range from modules in urban innovation, democratic theory, political philosophy and social inequality:

  • Contemporary Political Philosophy II: Social Justice and Equality
  • Democracy and Accountability: Holding Power to Account
  • Urban Innovation and Policy
  • Development, Technology and Innovation Policy
  • Smart Cities: Context, Policy and Government
  • Social Diversity, Inequality and Poverty 

Rethinking Capitalism

New economic thinking will be a cross-cutting theme throughout the course. IIPP also runs a module, Rethinking Capitalism, which features guest academic lectures from world-leading economic thinkers, including Stephanie Kelton, William Lazonick, Branko Milanovic, Eric Beinhocker, Andy Haldane and Dimitri Zenghelis. This will be available to all MPA students.

Final project (60 credits)

During the third term, students will apply their learning to practice-based work through an individual project. The project will be a dissertation analysing a management, policy or programme challenge for an external organisation (typically a public organisation). The project is prepared with an academic supervisor in IIPP and in consultation with an external organisation (where the student is offered temporary placement). 

The project and placement are curated by IIPP staff, with periodic feedback and peer-learning sessions with students. Find out more about our placements and partners here.