Plymouth Business School

DPA Public Administration

Are you a senior manager within the public sector or local government who wants to draw together both the theoretical and practical aspects of professional and managerial experience? Focused on managerial and organisational practice, this programme provides opportunities for learning through collaborative processes, and enables you to take your new knowledge back to the workplace where it can be implemented to improve the quality of your practice.


The DPA at Plymouth has research at its heart. It has been developed through the Plymouth Business School research community where you’ll make plenty of connections during the course of your studies.

Research areas include sustainable governance and leadership, institutional and public policy, finance and economics, and more.

Learn more about Plymouth Business School research

Key features

  • Immerse yourself in the policies and theories surrounding public administration, through our two year taught programme. Build on your newly acquired knowledge and develop your research interests, by taking an additional two to three years to complete your thesis.
  • Equip yourself with the skills to facilitate in others the capacity to manage public resources cost-efficiently, cost-effectively and equitably.
  • Gain knowledge to guide, and contribute to, socio-political discourses at all levels, on the future roles of the state, civil society and the market in societal and local community governance.
  • Sharpen your knowledge and feel able to give sound policy advice to government across an array of policy domains.
  • Enhance your ability by applying theory to practice in the contexts of critical public policy and administration issues in a way that draws upon your extensive professional and managerial experience.
  • Benefit from direct involvement with the Plymouth Business School research community

Course details

  • Year 1
  • You will start the programme with an induction and introduction to doctoral research. You will then engage in reflective practice, reflexivity and participatory research, and identify and explain theory. History and philosophy of public policy and social sciences and understanding paradigms of inquiry will be covered before you begin to develop methodological approaches. You will then work towards your research proposal and thesis.

    Modules (block taught during the first two years):
    DOC8101 Induction and Introduction to Doctoral Study
    DOC8105 Understanding Paradigms of Inquiry
    DOC8106 Developing Methodological Approaches and Dealing with Methods
    DOC8103 Identifying and Explaining Theory
    DPA8004 History and Philosophy of Public Policy and the Social Sciences
    DOC8102 Reflective Practice, Reflexivity and Participatory Research
    DOC8001 Thesis Proposal
    Core modules
    • GSRBUSM4 Research Business/Mgmt

  • Year 2
  • You'll build on the knowledge and skills gained during your first year, and continue to study your chosen taught modules. After you’ve completed your second year, and the taught phase of your Doctorate, you’ll then have an additional two to three years to complete your thesis.

Every postgraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the programme aims, the programme structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest programme structure and may be subject to change:

Doctorate in Public Administration DPA Part time 3818

The modules shown for this course or programme are those being studied by current students, or expected new modules. Modules are subject to change depending on year of entry.

Entry requirements

Five years relevant work experience and a master’s degree - a UK degree or equivalent overseas/professional qualification.  For overseas students, an IELTS score of at least 6.5 is required.

You will be interviewed and your capability to undertake the taught part of the programme will be established.

Progression onto the research element will depend on successful completion of six modules and a research proposal.

Fees, costs and funding

EU applicants should refer to our dedicated Brexit webpage for details of the implications of the UK’s plans to leave the European Union.

Please visit tuition fees for postgraduate research for information about fees. 

Please visit our postgraduate research money matters page to find out more about issues related to fees, funding, loans and paying for your programme of study.

How to apply

Applications should be made directly with the  International University in Geneva.

Join our postgraduate student community

Postgraduate study can help you realise your ambitions and develop your potential as a manager and leader of the future. Whether you come to us as a newly qualified graduate or after a successful track record in industry we provide high quality, professionally accredited postgraduate programmes, and PhD and professional doctorate supervision.  

Find out more in the essential guide to everything you need to know about life as a student at Plymouth University