Offered by 4 universities


    2-year research programme

This challenging two-year programme focuses on key issues of Public Administration and Organisational Science. The programme offers an in-depth investigation of societal problems and critical challenges faced by organisations involved in public value creation, such as - government agencies, not-for-profits, hybrid organisations or citizen groups. You will investigate these challenges, analyse how public organisations deal with each challenge, and develop an understanding of what is required to make policies work.

USBO kleinschalig onderwijs

Challenges of public governance

Climate change, porous borders, the knowledge economy, infectious diseases, Artifical Intelligence. The world is changing at an unprecedented pace, throwing up tantalising opportunities as well as wicked problems for the way in which we govern our societies. Public administrators respond to these challenges in a variety of ways:

  • they initiate reforms to make public management less bureaucratic and more accountable;
  • they activate and enable citizens;
  • they help businesses become more competitive while enhancing social responsibility; and
  • they support civil society initiatives to provide voluntary community services.

As a student of this research programme you will analyse how such initiatives help governments cope with these complex challenges. However these challenges are no longer the sole responsibility of government institutions. Private, not-for-profit and hybrid organisations as well as civil society groups are increasingly involved in creating value in the public domain and performing what previously were considered public tasks. Public governance thus both takes place in national political institutions and at local, regional and internationals levels of government, in multi-actor, multi-sectoral networks, and at the headquarters of large companies. Your study of the public domain and the critical issues in that domain will therefore focus on public organisations in the broadest sense of the word.

Watch the video to see programme director professor Barbara Vis together with a student and alumna elaborate about this research programme.

Programme offered by four universities

This Master's degree is a programme in which four Dutch universities collaborate: Utrecht University, Tilburg University, Erasmus University Rotterdam and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, with Utrecht University as the coordinating university. The participating institutes belong to the best Public Administration and Organisational Science research groups in the world. Their multidisciplinary, international faculties offer state-of-the-art insights about public sector governance, management and policy. 

Programme objectives

Our two-year Master’s programme offers an ideal environment for your studies, including:

  • classic and contemporary theory and research on public governance, policy and management;
  • robust training in the philosophy, methods, ethics and application of social science research methodology;
  • tailor-made, individual tutorials from leading scholars;
  • chance to participate in challenging research projects pursued by programme staff and colleagues within the participating universities;
  • small class sizes, group work, engaged and engaging teachers and supervisors;
  • ample opportunities to pursue individual knowledge/research interests through electives.

After graduation

Through this intensive Master’s programme, you will gain the theoretical knowledge and methodological skills to analyse organisational and governance processes, such as strategic management, policy design and delivery, citizen engagement, public accountability and institutional learning. It will provide you with the tools to identify, analyse, and design effective intervention strategies. Your studies will prepare you for a career in research, consultancy, government or the public sector at large. Your key selling point will be your analytical and methodological skills, your firm grounding in different bodies of theory and research, your writing and presentation skills, and your hands-on experience with designing and conducting projects.

Key facts

Research in Public Administration and Organizational Science (research)
Language of instruction: 
Mode of study: 
Study duration: 
2 years
Tuition fees: 
Dutch and other EU/EEA students (statutory fee, full-time) 2024-2025: € 2,530

Non-EU/EEA students (institutional fee) 2024-2025: € 20,043

More information about fees
Croho code: 
Accredited by the NVAO
Law, Economics and Governance 
Graduate school: 
School of Governance
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