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Published on October 19th, 2012

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Master of Public Administration: Bringing Social Science into Public Leadership

The Master of Public Administration has grown from its mid-90s origin in Copenhagen Business School to becoming an international success bringing together leaders from industrialized democracies in order to exchange experience and raising their competence.

As a part time program it creates an opportunity for leaders of the public sector to achieve an academic background while at the same time still tending to their jobs. The goal is to get a better understanding of organizations, politics, and economics. The student mass includes high ranking officers like union leaders, NGOs, and public servants.

We have spoken to Associate Professor Morten Knudsen at the Copenhagen Business School. Knudsen explains that there is an increasing focus from governments on leadership development. There is an outspoken wish from the politicians to invest in human/leader capital.

One of the reasons for the programs success is also due to the drive many public sector leaders have to increase their competence, while not having the opportunity to become full time students. The study consists of regular lectures, as well as letting the students work on large projects with a focus on collaboration.


Professor Knudsen’s main role in the master’s program is the responsibility of the summer gatherings. There is an international collaboration which works through the course’s summer schools and also through student exchange between universities. The summer schools are an essential part of the program, and take place at different resorts or five stars hotels around Europe.

These gatherings are of great importance, Knudsen stresses, as they give the participants a comparative perspective, new impulses from leaders and scholars from different countries, and helps put their own workplace and country into perspective.

There is also a related program, the Master of Public Governance, which is a joint program by Copenhagen Business School and the Copenhagen University. In this variant the participants focus more on personal leadership.


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2 Responses to Master of Public Administration: Bringing Social Science into Public Leadership

  1. Walter says:

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  2. Henry P. says:

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