UCL Graduate degrees


Innovation, Public Policy and Public Value MPA

The Innovation, Public Policy and Public Value MPA teaches the competencies, capabilities and leadership skills needed for purpose-driven organisations - in public, private and civil sectors - to confront the grand challenges of the 21st century.

Covid-19 programme updates

Due to COVID-19, there may have been updates to this programme for the 2020 academic year. Where there has been an update, these are indicated with a red alert and a link which will provide further information.

Key information

Programme starts

September 2020

Modes and duration

Full time: 1 year
Part time: 2 years
Flexible: up to 5 years

Full-time students study for 37.5 hours per week during term time. Typically, lectures and seminars occur on two days per week. Flexible students normally attend half this amount.

Application dates

All applicants
Open: 1 November 2019
Close: 7 April 2020
Due to the large number of applications received, this programme is no longer accepting applications for 2020/21 entry. We apologise for any inconvenience caused. Applications for 2021/22 entry will open later in the year.

Tuition fees (2020/21)

£19,520 (FT)
£10,240 (PT)
£27,460 (FT)
£13,640 (PT)

Note on fees: The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website. Fees for flexible, modular study are charged pro-rata to the appropriate full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session.

Location: London, Bloomsbury

Entry requirements

UK Bachelor’s degree in an appropriate Arts and Humanities, Social Science and Economics, and Engineering subjects awarded with First or Upper Second-class Honours (2:1), or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.

English language requirements

If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.

The English language level for this programme is: Advanced

Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

International students

Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.

International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below.

Select your country:

About this degree

As a graduate of the programme, you will help organisations refocus themselves to become mission-led, driven by public purpose, and able to welcome and manage the explorative and risk-taking processes that structural change, innovation and socio-economic transformation require. Key to this process is a rethinking of public and societal value: how to create it, how to nurture it (within organisations) and how to evaluate it. 

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits

The 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). 

Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded a MPA in Innovation, Public Policy and Public Value.

Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability is subject to change.

Compulsory modules

All students are expected to take four compulsory modules.

  • Public Value and Public Purpose (30 credits)
  • Grand Challenges and Systems Change (30 credits)
  • Creative Bureaucracies (15 credits)
  • Transformation by Design (15 credits)

Optional modules

Up to 30 credits drawn from the following:

  • Contemporary Political Philosophy II: Social Justice and Equality (15 credits) [Term 2]
  • Democracy and Accountability: Holding Power to Account (15 credits) [Term 2]
  • Urban Innovation and Policy (15 credits) [Term 2]
  • Development, Technology and Innovation Policy (15 credits) [Term 2]
  • Smart Cities: Context, Policy & Government (15 credits) [Term 2]
  • Social Diversity, Inequality and Poverty (30 credits) [Terms 1 and 2]
  • Rethinking Capitalism: (15 Credits) [Terms 1 and 2]
Covid-19 module updates
Due to COVID-19, there may be updates to the modules for your chosen programme of study this year. Some modules may not be available or may need to be moved to a later term or year of study. These updates are relevant for 2020-21 academic year only.  The full list of modules will be available in the module catalogue from late August.  From the first week of September, you will be invited to complete module selection from Portico, our student record system. There may need to be additional updates or changes to modules during the academic year to allow for new guidance from the UK Government and Public Health England. Your department shall keep you updated of these changes as they become available.


The MPA culminates in individual project work (60 credits). The project is a written work of substantial analysis of a management, policy or program problem for an external organisation (typically a public organisation). The project is prepared either in consultation with or during placement in an external organisation and an academic supervisor in the Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose.


For the final project, students have the option to go on a placement, during term 3 organised by the Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose.

Covid-19 placement updates
Due to COVID-19 updates, there may need to be changes to planned placements for this programme. This will depend on social distancing measures, the availability of the relevant placements, and the relative risk of completing the placement. Your department will keep you updated if placements are able to occur and/or any alternative options available.

Teaching and learning

The programme is delivered through lectures and seminars; the assessment is based on personal and group presentations, reports, papers, and examinations.

Covid-19 contact hours on campus
In Term One, while campus will be open, all the learning activity for the core content of your modules will take place online – including lectures, tutorials, seminars and assessments. By “core content” we mean everything you need to learn to complete the module successfully. In addition to these online contact hours, we will be offering some face-to-face educational activities for students on campus, and we will provide alternative online activities for those students unable to join us on campus. These activities, which will include contact with academic staff, will be relevant to your programme of study may include seminars, academic and employability skills workshops, small-group or individual tutorials, lab and practice-based teaching. UK Government safety guidelines will limit the amount of ‘in person’ activity we can offer and while it will vary from programme to programme, is likely to be no more than 1-2 hours per week. This will vary across departments, particularly if your programme includes laboratory/practical/studio/workshop sessions. You will be updated with more specific details as they are available and your timetable will indicate which sessions will be on campus and which will be available online.
Covid-19 assessment updates
There may be changes to the format of assessments for modules in this programme due to COVID-19. These will be summarised for each module on the module catalogue from 17 August 2020.   If any changes to assessments need to be made during the academic year due to updates in government guidance, these will be communicated to you as soon as possible from your department.    
Communicating further Covid-19 mitigation plans
We are continuing to follow UK Government guidance, as well as the expertise of our researchers, including specialists in health, education, human behaviour and infection prevention, to make sure UCL is as safe as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic. If it becomes necessary to make further changes to your programme as a result of new guidance/regulations, UCL and your department will communicate these as soon as this becomes clear. We will keep you up-to-date with our plans throughout term one, so you have the information you need to be able to take decisions that are right for your circumstances. Please ensure that you keep in touch with your department by regularly checking your UCL emails, Moodle courses, the Coronavirus FAQs for Students page and any UCL online groups or social media you follow.

Additional costs

If you are concerned by potential additional costs for books, equipment, etc. on this programme, please get in touch with the Programme Administrator, Ms Isha Reid, by e-mailing i.reid@ucl.ac.uk or telephoning +44 (0)20 3108 8261.

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.


Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble. Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support & Wellbeing team.


UCL offers a range of financial awards aimed at assisting both prospective and current students with their studies. 

Any additional funding available from the Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose and the Built Environment Faculty Office are advertised on the respective websites.

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.


The programme is aimed at teaching the competencies, capabilities and leadership skills needed for purpose-driven organisations in all sectors -- public, private and civil organisations. 


Graduates from the MPA will possess a unique skill set in public policy, organisational and institutional innovation, new models of innovation policy (mission-oriented innovation), and strategic design and digital transformation of public services. Many public sector organisations, policy think tanks and other policy analysis organisations, NGOs and increasingly also large private organisations are looking for employees who are well versed and skilled in new ways of justifying, evaluating and implementing public policies. Graduates will have strong analytical and leadership skills.

Why study this degree at UCL?

Tackling grand challenges, ranging from climate change to health care for aging populations, requires organisations to be fully equipped to co-create markets together and to understand the opportunities for technological, organisational and social innovations. Our MPA programme provides a state of the art curriculum and policy toolkit for shaping this dynamic world.   

Studying this globally unique programme, you will gather an in-depth understanding of the economics of innovation, technological, social and institutional innovations, and cutting-edge thinking around public administration and governance, strategic design and digital transformation. A cross-cutting theme throughout the programme is new economic thinking needed for tackling key 21st century challenges.

You will help organisations overcome the following challenges: how can we create and articulate a sense of shared public purpose; how can we manage complex accountabilities and relationships with multiple stakeholders; how can we lead long-term change in organisations and systems; and how to mobilise people within and outside organisation to engage with the need for change.

Department: Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose

Application and next steps


Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.

There is an application processing fee for this programme of £80 for online applications and £105 for paper applications. Further information can be found at: www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/taught/application.

Who can apply?

A minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor's degree in the disciplines of Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences, Economics or Engineering from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard is required. This programme will be attractive to both those who have recently graduated, as well as practitioners who desire to further their knowledge, understanding and application to improve their potential to contribute to tackling the grand challenges of the 21st century through innovation. If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency. The English language level for this programme is: Advanced

Application deadlines

All applicants
7 April 2020

For more information see our Applications page.

Apply now

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Page last modified on 13 August 2020