Master of Advanced Studies in Public Administration | MPA

The Master of Advanced Studies (MAS) in Public Administration (90 ECTS credits) is aimed at individuals who wish to take on significant responsibilities in the public sector or within organisations whose activities occur in close interaction with it. The MAS is a diploma of continuing education in public administration and is well-suited to professionals who wish to study while working. This programme has developed successfully over 30 years, provides the latest thoughts and analyses on public administration, offers a solid grounding in the latest public-sector issues and, through the opportunity to make numerous informal contacts (at diverse conferences and talks), it gives students access to a unique network of professionals in the domain of policy and administration.

Qualification awarded

Master of Advanced Studies (MAS) in public administration/
Master of Advanced Studies in Public Administration (MPA) with 90 ECTS credits


The course’s principal objectives are:

  • Developing the essential competencies needed by all managers in the domains of public administration, management, policy, economics and public law;
  • Developing a broad, integrated vision of public action that complements students’ professional knowledge and previous training;
  • Acquiring the tools and working methods necessary to be able to exercise positions with higher responsibilities;
  • Deepening the student’s knowledge of a theme of contemporary importance in the form of an MPA dissertation.

The MPA is aimed primarily at students with a solid professional background. It is a part-time programme, generally based on one day of classes per week, with students usually continuing with their professional responsibilities at 80%. With this in mind, the MPA does not plan for internships in public institutions as the majority of students make the most of the opportunity to experiment and learn in their own “natural” working environment.

The standard programme duration is 3 years: 2 years of classes and 1 year to develop and write the MPA dissertation. However, it is possible to condense the programme’s classes into 1 academic year or extend the duration of studies out to a maximum of 5 years.

The MPA is designed and organised for flexibility; students can start the programme at the beginning of any trimester. Depending on how their professional situation evolves, students can change the rhythm and duration of their studies during the programme.

The programme can be further personalised, as in addition to the obligatory core modules, the student must choose to follow three out of twelve optional courses.

Learn more about the programme’s structure (in French). 


The MPA programme requires a sustained effort throughout the entire period of study. Class attendance in obligatory and students must also carry out a significant amount of personal work involving reading, the preparation of case studies, teamwork activities and essay writing, not forgetting the dissertation.

The intense, one-year, full-time version of the programme makes it impossible to carry out any professional activities in parallel.

Target audience

The programme is particularly aimed graduates from universities or higher education institutions:

From the public sector

  • Individuals with policy or administrative responsibilities at the federal, cantonal or communal levels;
  • Individuals working in the broader sector of public organisations, such as public enterprises and political, professional and not-for-profit organisations.

From the private sector

  • Individuals whose positions involve very significant interaction with the public sector;
  • Individuals wishing to reorient their careers towards the public sector.

Exceptional candidates without a classic university or academic background may also be taken into consideration.

More information on Conditions of admission (in French).


In addition to the quality and contemporary relevance of its courses, the MPA also offers the following key elements:

  • Systematic links between theoretical approaches and practical projects;
  • New, integrated ways of looking at public affairs through the lenses of such diverse disciplines as political science, public management, economics, statistics and law;
  • Tools and practical methods which will make day-to-day problem resolution easier as part of an administration;
  • A network of contacts who may represent a valuable source of information and relationships, long after the studies are over;
  • A career accelerator: the MPA represents a major boost to its students’ professional evolution, as demonstrated by its alumni’s career paths;
  • Le MPA is a diploma which associates a common core of knowledge with personal study options; it allows students to flexibly plan and personalise their studies on the job.
Teaching methods

Lessons are presented from an innovative and dynamic angle, always assimilating the contemporary problems facing public services. Interactive teaching methods ensure student participation, and they are encouraged to contribute to theoretical thinking and to share their professional experience and experiences, all of which go to enrich the contributions of the teaching staff.

Furthermore, the programme allows students to get to grips with the current transformations being carried out in public services via case studies and numerous lectures from external experts in the field.

Teaching language

The MPA programme’s courses are taught in French. The two other working languages are German and English.

It should be noted, however, that trimestral essays and the final dissertation can be written in French, German or English (and in Italian, with the Professor’s agreement).

Outside speakers

Courses are taught by professors from IDHEAP. Lessons are enriched by interventions and talks by numerous specialist outside speakers, professionals and researchers in the different domains covered by the MPA.

These outside speakers represent further potential contacts whom students can aim to integrate into their growing networks—an essential element in the successful evolution of any career.


IDHEAP is developing different partnerships and collaborations with the best higher education establishments internationally. Students can already have a module passed in one of the following partner institutions validated by IDHEAP:

  • The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne;
  • The Centre of Competence for Public Administration of the University of Berne;
  • The National School of Public Administration of Quebec;
  • The Faculty of Economic, Social and Political Sciences of the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium;
  • The German University of Administrative Sciences Speyer (HFV Speyer) in Speyer, Germany;
  • The National Institute of Administration (INA) in Lisbon, Portugal;
  • Sun Yat Sen University (Zhongshan) in Canton, China.



The MPA programme has been designed with reference to Swiss and European accreditation standards so as to ensure that the diplomas of those students who wish to pursue their studies or activities abroad are more easily recognised. IDHEAP is accredited by the Swiss Confederation (AAQ), and the MPA is accredited by the EAPAA (European Association for Public Administration Accreditation); the latter accreditation was validated in 2013 and is valid seven years.

Programme management

IDHEAP’s Committee on Continuing Education is responsible for running the MPA programme, and is notably in charge of candidates’ admission to the programme and evaluating lessons. The Committee is organised in collaboration the University of Lausanne’s and the EPFL’s Foundation for Continuing Education.

Operational questions linked to the MPA are managed by programme’s head of scientific content, Prof. Yves Emery, Chairman of IDHEAP’s Committee on Continuing Education. He is supported by the study secretariat, whose duties are fulfilled by Stéphanie Huguelet.

In addition, each of the lecturers involved in the programme acts as the first point of contact to discuss any concrete concerns related to the progress of their particular course of studies.

Practical information and Registration

Conditions of admission

The prerequisites for admission to the MAS in Public Administration are the following:

  • to be the holder of a Master’s degree from a Swiss higher education institute or a qualification deemed equivalent by the University of Lausanne, plus at least two years of post-graduate professional experience; or
  • to be the holder of a Bachelor’s degree from a Swiss higher education institute or a qualification deemed equivalent by the University of Lausanne, plus at least five years of post-graduate professional experience.

Exceptional candidates without a university or academic qualification but with a high school leaving certificate and a proven professional track record may also be admitted to the MAS in Public Administration. See règlement du MAS en administration publique.

Registration fees

Total registration and tuition fees for all the courses leading to the MPA are CHF 27'000. This includes all teaching materials and use of the IDHEAP library.

I'm registering

Individuals who wish to apply for a place on the MPA course must prepare a application dossier. Learn more about the application procedure here (in French). The number of places being limited, registrations will be considered on the basis of the date of receipt.

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Program manager
Prof. Laure Athias

Studies Secretariat
Fatma Yavavli
+41 21 692 69 17

Rue de la Mouline 28 - CH-1022 Chavannes-près-Renens
Tel. +41 21 692 68 00
Fax +41 21 692 68 09