Why this Study programme

Public Administration and Organisational Science

Explore societal problems and critical challenges in the master programme Public Administration and Organisational Science.

A changing climate, porous borders, the knowledge economy, the internet of things or robotica: the world is changing at an unprecedented pace. This throws up tantalizing opportunities as well as wicked problems for the way in which we govern our societies. Private organisations, civil society groups and the public sector share responsibility to tackle these modern challenges.

Public administrators respond to these challenges in a variety of ways. They initiate reforms to make public management less bureaucratic and more accountable. Activating and enabling citizens, they help businesses become more competitive while enhancing social responsibility, and they support civil society initiatives to provide voluntary community services.

In this research master you will analyse how such initiatives can be beneficial and help governments cope with the challenges of modernity. 

Why study this Research Master in Public Administration in Rotterdam?

This master degree is a joint programme offered by four Dutch universities: Utrecht University, Tilburg University, Erasmus University Rotterdam, and the Free University of Amsterdam. The participating institutes belong to the best Public Administration and Organisation Science research groups in Europe. Their multidisciplinary, international faculties offer state-of-the-art insights about public sector governance, management and policy. All courses are taught in English.

Unique about this two-year master programme is the intensive interaction between professors and students and the personal attention and the international study climate. In the previous years we have had students from all over the world.

About the programme Research Master Public Administration and Organisational Science

The research Master in Public Administration and Organisational Science comprises three pillars.

First pillar: theoretical themes

The first pillar contains the core theoretical themes in the fields of Public Administration and Organisation Science, such as public policy, public management, bureaucracy and public service, and human resource management. These courses connect classic theories to cutting edge research. Students both develop knowledge about theories and learn to apply them in research. It offers room to develop your personal interests through a tailor-made tutorial.

Second pillar: philosophy of science and research methods

The second pillar consists of a broad range of philosophy of science and research methods courses. These courses will focus both on high control designs such as experimental and survey research as on low control designs such as case studies and field research. The programme will provide you with the broad basis that is needed for researchers in this field. We offer various choices in this pillar so that you can choose the modules that are most valuable to you.

Third pillar: applied and fundamental research projects

The third pillar consists of both applied and fundamental research projects, resulting in a (smaller) group thesis at the end of the first year and a (larger) individual thesis at the end of the second year. A policy-oriented research project typically involves a specific organisation or policy problem. The aim of the project is to offer advice on a current issue, and this requires you to conduct research in a real-life setting. A theory-oriented research project involves the writing of an academic article or the formulation of a detailed PhD proposal, which can serve as the basis for a future PhD project. (Please note that completing this master programme does not automatically guarantee you a PhD position).


It's a challenging master programme that gives you practical experience and a critical attitude.

Educational Methods

In addition to lectures and tutorials, this master contains:

  • individual and small group assignments and presentations;
  • visits to knowledge institutes with leading researchers;
  • a research thesis traject with seminars, group work (including peer feedback), virtual discussion boards, and individual supervision.

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