Master of Public Administration (MPA)


MPA Programme Brochure (PDF version)

Message from the Programme Director

As a global city, Hong Kong is undergoing major political and socioeconomic change. Our public managers and professionals are increasingly challenged by complex problems and dynamic situations. The MPA programme at HKU is designed to prepare students to become public service leaders through equipping them with the analytical and problem-solving skills to meet these challenges.

We are celebrating 40 years of excellence in providing professional education in public administration this year. With our extensive experience, internationally recognized faculty members, a vibrant student body, and well-designed curriculum, we provide our students to strive for excellence and attain leadership roles in public service.

We invite you to read on and explore our MPA programme.

Professor W.F. LAM
Professor, Department of Politics & Public Administration
Director, MPA Programme

The Department and the MPA teaching staff

The University of Hong Kong’s Department of Politics and Public Administration is a founding department of the Faculty of Social Sciences and has played a leading role in research and teaching in Public Administration in Hong Kong and the Asia-Pacific region since 1969. The Department is a core teaching unit at the University, offering a Bachelor of Social Sciences, Master of Public Administration, Master of International and Public Affairs, and Doctor of Public Administration. Our programmes are amongst the most renowned in Hong Kong and many of our graduates are now serving in the upper echelons of the HKSAR Government. At the forefront of Politics and Public Administration education is a commitment to excellence in training our students to become future leaders in the public, private and non-profit sectors.

The Programme

The Master of Public Administration (MPA) Programme, first launched in 1978, is designed to provide high quality professional education to students and prepare them for leadership roles in the public sector.

The curriculum is designed to achieve the following learning objectives:

  1. Acquire cutting edge knowledge in public administration and public policy.
  2. Understand the changing institutional and political contexts of public affairs.
  3. Examine the critical issues and possible solutions to the challenges in governance.
  4. Develop professional knowledge and core skills required to become effective public managers and leaders.

Distinctive programme features:

  1. an optional live-in course in the Chinese Academy of Governance (國家行政學院)
  2. extensive use of interactive teaching methods
  3. intensive workshops conducted by distinguished international scholars
  4. experience sharing with senior practitioners and professionals from the public, private and nonprofit sectors
  5. simulation exercises for training various practical skills
  6. opportunities for one-day shadowing with various organizations

Programme Structure

The MPA is offered on a 2-year part-time or 1-year full-time basis. Students are required to complete eight taught courses and one capstone project or dissertation in order to graduate. The eight courses include four compulsory courses, and four courses from a list of electives.

To accommodate midcareer students, the compulsory courses are usually scheduled on Saturdays and elective courses on weekday evenings or Saturday afternoons.

  Part-time Full-time Capstone Project
Timeline Year 1 Semester 1
POLI7002 +
POLI7002 +
POLI8027 +
2 Elective courses
  Semester 2
2 Elective courses POLI8017 +
POLI8026 +
2 Elective courses
*Mainland live-in course *Mainland live-in course
Year 2 Semester 3
2 Elective courses  
  Semester 4
POLI8017 +

* The optional Mainland live-in course (POLI8008 Public Administration in China) is available to students at additional cost. It lasts for about two weeks and will require time off work. The course will be offered at the Chinese Academy of Governance (國家行政學院).

Students are expected to consult the administrator or Director of the MPA programme regarding the latest information about course offering and course selection. They can also access the syllabuses and regulations of the MPA programme.

Course List

(i) Compulsory courses:

  • POLI7002 Public Administration: Scope and lssues
  • POLI8017 Workshop in Public Affairs
  • POLI8026 Workshop in Managerial Skills
  • POLI8027 Public Administration in Hong Kong

(ii) Elective courses:
(these course offerings may vary each academic year)

Our Faculty

The MPA programme is taught by faculty members from HKU’s Department of Politics and Public Administration. They are actively engaged in teaching, research, and service.

Professor John P BURNS, Honorary Professor
BA, St Olaf College; MA, Oxford and Columbia; MPhil, PhD, East Asian Institute Certificate, Columbia
Expertise: Organisation theory and problems, public personnel administration, bureaucratic participation, bureaucratic representation, new public administration, public administration in China
Dr. Kwan Nok CHAN, Associate Professor
BA, MPhil, HKU; PhD, Indiana
Expertise: Comparative politics, authoritarianism, comparative public policy, and institutional analysis.
Mr. Peter LAI Hing-Ling, Honorary Professor (Former Secretary for Security)
Expertise: Managerial skills, public administration in Hong Kong
Mr. Alan N. LAI, Adjunct Professor
Expertise: Public administration and management in Hong Kong
Professor Danny W. F. LAM, Professor & Head
BSocSc, CUHK; PhD, Indiana
Expertise: Public policy analysis, institutional analysis, public management, common-pool resources management, self-governance
Dr. LI Hui, Assistant Professor
BA & MA, Renmin U; PhD, Southern California
Expertise: Public/nonprofit management, organization theory, civil society, environmental governance
Mr. Andrew H.Y. WONG, Adjunct Professor
Expertise: Public administration and management in Hong Kong
Professor Ian THYNNE, Visiting Professor
BA, PhD, Wellington
Expertise: Public governance, public organization, administrative law, and organizational change
Dr. Wai-Hang YEE, Assistant Professor
BSocSc, MPhil, HKU; PhD, Southern California
Expertise: Public administration and management, institution theory, organization theory, regulatory governance, policy reform.

Distinguished International Scholars

In addition to our own staff, distinguished international scholars and practitioners are invited to give guest lectures and especially to be involved in POLI 8017 Workshop in Public Affairs, which is explicitly international in focus.

Professor Chris Ansell
Professor, Department of Political Science
University of California, Berkeley
Professor Eugene Bardach
Emeritus Professor of Public Policy, Goldman School of Public Policy
University of California Berkeley
Professor Arjen Boin
Professor, Department of Political Science
Leiden University
Professor Shamsul Haque
Editor-in-Chief, Asian Journal of Political Science
Deputy Editor, International Review of Administrative Sciences
Department of Political Science
National University of Singapore
Professor Patricia Ingraham
Founding Dean, College of Community and Public Affairs
Binghamton University
Professor Bryan Jones
J.J. "Jake" Pickle Regents Chair in Congressional Studies
Department of Government
The University of Texas at Austin
Professor Jan-Erik Lane
Professor in Political Science
University of Geneva
Professor Peter J May
Donald R. Matthews Distinguished Professor of American Politics
Department of Political Science
University of Washington
Professor H Brinton Milward
Director of the School of Government and Public Policy
Providence Service Corporation Chair in Public Management
University of Arizona
Ms. Colette Nault
Director, General Recruitment Priorities
Resourcing and Learning Branch
Public Service Commission of Canada
Professor Rosemary O’Leary
Edwin O. Stene Distinguished Professor of Public Affairs & Administration
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
The University of Kansas
(Late) Professor Elinor Ostrom
Nobel Prize Laureate in Economic Sciences
Arthur F Bentley Professor
Department of Political Science
Indiana University, Bloomington
Professor Roger B Parks
Professor Emeritus
School of Public and Environmental Affairs
Indiana University, Bloomington
Professor James L Perry
Distinguished Professor and Chancellor’s Professor
School of Public and Environmental Affairs
Indiana University, Bloomington
Professor Guy Peters
Maurice Falk Professor of American Government
Department of Political Science
University of Pittsburgh
Professor Beryl Radin
Adjunct Professor
McCourt School of Public Policy (MSPP)
Georgetown University
Professor Martin Rein
Professor Emeritus of Social Policy
Department of Urban Studies and Planning
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Professor Jodi Sandfort
Associate Professor and Chair of the School’s Leadership & Management Area
Humphrey School of Public Affairs
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
Ms. Fiona Spencer
Merit Commissioner
Province of British Columbia
The Government of Canada
Ms. Marilyn Stuart-Major
Director General, Executive Programs
Public Service Commission of Canada
Professor Jacob Torfing
Professor in Politics and Institutions
Roskilde University
Director, Centre for Democratic Network Governance
Professor Montgomery Van Wart
Department of Public Administration
California State University San Bernardino
Professor Gary Wamsley
Professor Emeritus
Center for Public Administration and Policy
Virginia Tech
Professor Roger Wettenhall
Professor Emeritus
ANZSOG Institute for Governance
University of Canberra
Professor Kenneth Wiltshire
J.D. Story Professor of Public Administration
Department of Government
University of Queensland

Our MPA Students

Our students are a mix of professionals from the public, business and non-governmental sectors. The majority have some managerial experience, although a number are from the top tiers of management, who seek to further their career through obtaining an MPA. The diversity of our student body provides exciting and enriching opportunities for exchange and learning in the classroom.

Our Graduates said:

  • "The MPA programme proved to be an eye-opener for me. Despite having been a technical bureaucrat throughout my career, I was amazed that it had opened so many new dimensions to me in the public administration arena. Subjects like policy formulation, implementation and critical analysis, human resources management, as well as financial management were much more enriching than what I had originally expected from a postgraduate course. In retrospect, I consider the time and effort spent at HKU well worth it for the intellectual as well as practical knowledge with which the programme has equipped me." - Ir Chi Keung HON, JP, Director, Permanent Secretary for Development (Works), Development Bureau, MPA 1997
  • "The MPA programme at HKU strikes the appropriate balance between theory and practice; it allowed me to build upon the skills and knowledge I needed in my pursuit to raise the standard of good governance and public service." - Mr. Alan N. LAI, GBS, JP, The Ombudsman, Office of the Ombudsman, MPA 1982
  • "I appreciate how the MPA programme is designed to approach concepts and theories through day-to-day issues in society. Al though l had been working in Government for some time, as I went through the programme, I often discovered new perspectives, sometimes enlightened by a more d1eoretical-based framework, sometimes inspired from an "outsider's" standpoint. The programme would not be complete, however, without the good mix of classmates who brought not only ideas but also fun and laughter during class. The network built up is truly an asset to my career as I have access to contacts across many Government departments. I must say their official and unofficial advice has often made my job easier!" - Ms. Leonie H.L. LEE, Assistant Secretary, Education Bureau, MPA 2010
  • "Obtaining a second degree from a renowned university has enhanced my career prospects and opportunities. The benefits of earning an MPA from HKU, however, go beyond graduation. As part of the Alumni Association, my learning and development has continued through priority access to seminars and workshops on public affairs and, more importantly, through connection with a large and highly networked group of alumni and peers." - Mr. Tak Keung CHEUNG, Former Assistant Commissioner of Police (Operations), Hong Kong Police Force, MPA 2005

Our Distinguished Alumni

With over 40 years of history, the MPA programme has produced graduates who have not only developed successful careers, but also made significant contributions to Hong Kong. Today we have over 1,000 alumni working in the government, public bodies, non-profit organizations, private firms, universities and educational institutions.

Name Post Company/Department Year of Graduation
Mr AU Chi Kwong, Sonny, PDSM, PMSM, JP Under Secretary for Security Security Bureau
HKSAR Government
Mr. AU Wing Hung Former Chief Building Surveyor Buildings Department
HKSAR Government
Mr AU YEUNG Ho Lok, Luke, C.D.S.M. C.M.S.M Former Deputy Commissioner Customs and Excise Department
HKSAR Government
Mr CHAN Chi Kin< Former Principal Immigration Officer Immigration Department
HKSAR Government
Ms CHAN Fung Lan, Doris Former Principal Trade Officer Trade and Industry Department
HKSAR Government
Dr CHAN YUEN Tak Fai, Dorothy, JP Deputy Director of Administration and Resources /
Centre for Logistics and Transport /

Miss Monica CHEN, JP Principle Assistant Secretary Commerce and Economic Development Bureau
HKSAR Government
Mr CHEUNG Tak Keung, Jacob Executive Director /

Former Assistant Commissioner
Aviation Security Company Limited /
Hong Kong Police Force
Mr CHIANG Yam Wang, Allan Former Privacy Commissioner Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data
HKSAR Government
Mr CHIU Yu Chow Former Assistant Director Food and Environment Hygiene Department
HKSAR Government
Mr CHONG Wing Hong, Ben Former Chief Building Surveyor Building Department
HKSAR Government
Mr CHUNG Siu Man, Raymond Marine Advisor London ETO, Marine Department
HKSAR Government
Ms CHUNG Woon Fan, Flora Former Chief Executive Officer Agency for Volunteer Service 2008
Dr FAN Yun Sun, Susan, JP Former Executive Director Family Planning Association of Hong Kong 1992
Mr Fong Hok Shing, Michael, JP Director of Civil Engineering and Development Civil Engineering and Development Department
HKSAR Government
Mr HO Chun Hung, Van, JP Assistant Director Buildings Department
HKSAR Government
Mr HO Fu Ho, Jonathan Director of External Affairs Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority 2007
Ms Ho Pui Shan, Louise, C.M.S.M. Commissioner Customs and Excise Department
HKSAR Government
Ir HON Chi Keung, JP Chief Executive and Secretary /
Former Permanent Secretary for Development (Works)
The Hong Kong Institution of Engineers /
Development Bureau
Mr HUI Cho Hang, Desmond Former Senior Superintendent Quality Assurance Division, Correctional Services Department
HKSAR Government
Dr KO Pat Sing, Tony Chief Executive Hospital Authority
HKSAR Government
Mr KONG Ping Lam, Francis Former Assistant Director Fire Services Department
HKSAR Government
Mr KWOK Kwok Chuen, JP, BBS Former Government Economist Financial Secretary's Office
HKSAR Government
Mrs KWONG LAU Po Yuk, Christina Former Chief Engineer Civil Engineering and Development Department
HKSAR Government
Mr LAI Nin, Alan, GBS, JP Former Ombudsman /
Former Permanent Secretary
Office of Ombudsman /
Financial Services and the Treasury
Mr LAM Man Wing, Edwin, PDSM General Secretary /
Former Assistant Commissioner
Hong Chi Association /
Hong Kong Police Force
Ir LAM Tin Sing, Enoch, SBS Former Director of Water Supplies Water Supplies Department
HKSAR Government
Ms LAM Yuen Mui, Wendy Director (Corporate Communication) Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountant 2013
Ms LAU Chi Wai, Edwina Deputy Commissioner (National Security) Hong Kong Police Force
HKSAR Government
Mrs LAU MAK Yee Ming, Alice, JP Former Commissioner of Inland Revenue Inland Revenue Department
HKSAR Government
Mr LAW Chun Nam Former Deputy Director of Immigration Immigration Department
HKSAR Government
Mr LAW Wai Fung, Eric, CSMSM Former Chief Superintendent of Correctional Services and Head of Stanley Prison Correctional Services Department
HKSAR Government
Mr LEE Cheung Wing, John Former Head of Customs Drug Investigation Bureau Customs and Excise Department
HKSAR Government
Dr LEE Ching Yee, Jane Director/
HKSKH Welfare Council,
The Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Fund (SIE Fund)
Mr LEE Kui Biu, Robin, JP Former Principal Project Coordinator Sustainable Lantau Office, Civil Engineer and Development Department
HKSAR Government
Mr. LIU Chun San, JP Under Secretary for Development Development Bureau
HKSAR Government
Mrs LO Ho Yin, Martha Former Assistant Director Information Services Department
HKSAR Government
Dr LO Seen Tsing, Sue Senior Doctor The Family Planning Association of Hong Kong 2005
Mr LUK Wai Hung, JP Project Manager (Major Works) Highways Department
HKSAR Government
Ms LUK Wai Ling, Melody Former Assistant Commissioner Labour Department
HKSAR Government
Ms MA Siu Hung, Candy Police Civil Secretary Hong Kong Police Force
HKSAR Government
Ms PANG Mee Yuk, Melissa Head of Property Development MTR Corporation 1999
Mr SHUM Kwok Leung Former Deputy Chief Ambulance Officer Fire Services Department
HKSAR Government
Dr TANG Yiu Hang, Simon Cluster Chief Executive (New Territories West) Hospital Authority 2012
Mr TO Chun Wai, Clarence Former Assistant Commissioner of Police Hong Kong Police Force
HKSAR Government
Mr TSANG Chee Wah, Luke Former Head of Programme Development RTHK 2001
Mr TSO Wai Yan Former Principal Investigator Independent Commission Against Corruption
HKSAR Government
Mr WONG Fook Yee Former Assistant Director Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department
HKSAR Government
Mr WONG Tak Wing, Albert, JP Former Assistant Director of Audit Audit Commission
HKSAR Government
Ms WONG Tee Vee, Vivian Former Senior Assistant Registrar and Faculty Secretary Faculty of Law
Miss YAU Kwai Chong, Eliza Former Assistant Secretary to the Commission on Strategic Development Central Policy Unit
HKSAR Government
Mr YAU Wai Keung Assistant Director (New Territories) Fire Services Department
HKSAR Government
Mr. YEUNG Man Pun District Commander (Yau Tsim) Hong Kong Police Force
HKSAR Government
Mr YIP Kan Chuen, Frankie Chief Manager Corporate Communication
Hospital Authority
Mrs YUEN KWONG Sau Yee, Cecilia Former Assistant Director Social Welfare Department
HKSAR Government
Mrs YUEN KAO Hing Monica, Esther Former Chief Executive and Secretary The Hong Kong Institution of Engineers 2008
Dr YUK Tak Fun, Alice, BBS, JP Chief Executive Officer Ebenezer School and Home for the Visually Impaired 1991

Access to Facilities and Services

MPA students have full access to all campus facilities and services, including libraries, computer facilities, the University Health Services (medical and dental) and sports amenities.

Master of Public Administration Alumni Association (MPAAA)

With over 35 years of history, the MPA programme has graduated over 1,000 alumni, many of whom are now occupying key positions in the civil service, public bodies, non-profit organizations, private firms, and tertiary institutions. They represent our fine tradition of dedication to public service. The MPA Alumni Association, inaugurated in 2005, strengthens our alumni network and ties with society.

The MPAAA welcomes all MPA graduates to join. Please visit for updated information about the Association.


The Requirements

Applicants for admission to the MPA programme

(a) shall hold

  1. a Bachelor's degree of the University of Hong Kong, or
  2. another qualification of equivalent standard from the University of Hong Kong or from another University or comparable institution accepted for this purpose, and

(b) satisfy the English language requirements of HKU; and

(c) if deemed necessary, satisfy examiners in a qualifying examination.

Successful applicants usually have at least three years of working experiences.

A candidate who does not hold a Bachelor's degree of this University or another qualification of equivalent standard may in exceptional circumstances be permitted to register if he or she demonstrates adequate preparation for studies at this level and satisfies the examiners in a qualifying examination. The purpose of this qualifying examination is to test the candidate's formal academic ability or ability to follow the course of study prescribed. Applicants whose undergraduate record is considered to be of an insufficient standard may also be required to sit for the qualifying examination.

Schedule of Fees for regular students 2023-2024 (in HK$) (subject to University's approval)

Application $ 300 (non-refundable)
Caution Money $ 350
Composition $ 189,200 per year (full-time)
$ 94,600 per year (part-time)

Dear applicants

As Hongkong Post adopted new postage rates on 1 January 2018, please make sure that sufficient postage is provided when you send us your supporting documents by post. For mails with postage underpaid, we shall return the mails to senders or ask them to pay for the shortage. Such actions may delay the processing of the applications concerned.

For new postage rates please refer to Hongkong Post

Application forms

Regular Students:

Online application system:
Closing Date: 12:00 noon (GMT +8), February 28, 2023

Please note that only shortlisted applicants will be contacted. Regardless of the final admission decision, the Programme will not comment on the suitability or performance of any applicant.