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)

Course Descriptions

Course Descriptions 2017-18

Course Descriptions 2018-19

Course Descriptions 2019-20

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, Assistant Professor
BA., MPhil., HKU; PhD., Indiana
Expertise: Comparative politics, authoritarianism, comparative public policy, and institutional analysis.
Dr. Jung Eun KIM, Assistant Professor
BSc Ewha Womans; MES, York; PhD, Syracuse
Expertise: Policy analysis, climate change and energy policy, international technology transfer and diffusion, international development
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
BSocSc, CUHK; PhD, Indiana
Expertise: Public policy analysis, institutional analysis, public management, common-pool resources management, self-governance
Professor Eliza LEE, Professor
BSocSc, CUHK; MA, PhD, Syracuse
Expertise: Participative governance, civil society organizations, social policy development, public management, and gender issues
Dr. LI Hui, Assistant Professor
B.A. & M.A., Renmin U; Ph.D., Southern California
Expertise: Public/nonprofit management, organization theory, civil society, environmental governance
Professor Ian THYNNE, Visiting Professor
BA, PhD, Wellington
Expertise: Public governance, public organization, administrative law, and organizational change
Dr. Wai-Hang YEE, Assistant Professor
B.Soc.Sc., HKU; MPhil., HKU., Ph.D., 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 35 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
Dr CHAN YUEN Tak Fai, Dorothy, JP Deputy Director of Administration & Resources/
Head, Centre for Logistics and Transport
School of Professional and Continuing Education,
The University of Hong Kong
Mr LAI Nin, Alan, GBS, JP Former Ombudsman Office of Ombudsman 1982
Former Permanent Secretary Financial Services and the Treasury
HKSAR Government
Dr LEE Ching Yee, Jane Director HKSKH Welfare Council 1983
Dr CHAN Yiu Wing Former Chief Staff Officer Auxiliary Medical Service
HKSAR Government
Mr WONG Fook Yee Former Assistant Director Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department,
HKSAR Government
Mrs LAU MAK Yee Ming, Alice, JP Former Commissioner of Inland Revenue Inland Revenue Department,
HKSAR Government
Mr CHIANG Yam Wang, Allan Former Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data 1986
Mr KWOK Kwok Chuen, JP, BBS Former Government Economist Financial Secretary's Office,
HKSAR Government
Luke, C.D.S.M. C.M.S.M
Former Deputy Comissioner of Customs & Excise Custom & Excise Department
HKSAR Government
Dr YUK Tak Fun, Alice, JP Chairman The Hong Kong General Chamber of Social Enterprises 1991
Dr FAN Yun-Sun,Susan, JP Executive Director Family Planning Association of Hong Kong 1992
Mr HUI Cho-hang, Desmond Former Senior Superintendent
(Operations Division)
Quality Assurance Division
Correctional Services Department
HKSAR Government
Mrs CHIU YAU Mei Po, Mable Senior Assistant Registrar Vice-Chancellor’s Office
The University of Hong Kong
Mr WONG Tak Wing, Albert, JP Former Assistant Director of Audit Audit Commission
HKSAR Government
Ms WONG Tee Vee, Vivian Senior Assistant Registrar and Faculty Secretary Faculty of Law
The University of Hong Kong
Mrs YUEN KWONG Sau Yee, Cecilia Former Assistant Director Social Welfare Department
HKSAR Government
Ms HAU Soo Mun Teresa Former Chief Immigration Officer Immigration Department
HKSAR Government
Ir HON Chi Keung, JP Permanent Secretary for Development (Works) Development Bureau
HKSAR Government
Mr. LAM Tin Sing, Enoch, JP Director of Water Supplies Water Supplies Department
HKSAR Government
Mr LUK Wai Hung Assistant Director
New Works Branch
Water Supplies Department
HKSAR Government
Ms LUK Wai Ling, Melody Assistant Commissioner (Labour Relations) Labour Department
HKSAR Government
Mr SHUM Kwok Leung Deputy Chief Ambulance Officer Fire Services Department
HKSAR Government
Ms CHAN Fung Lan, Doris Principal Trade Officer Trade and Industry Department
HKSAR Government
Mr CHUNG Siu Man, Raymond Marine Advisor,
London ETO
Marine Department,
HKSAR Government
Mr HO Chun Hung, Van Assistant Director
Existing Buildings
Buildings Department
HKSAR Government
Ms MA Siu Hung, Candy Principle Electoral Officer Registration and Electoral Office
HKSAR Government
Mr AU Wing Hung Chief Building Surveyor Buildings Department
HKSAR Government
Mr CHIU Yu Chow Assistant Director (Grade Management and Development) Food and Environment Hygiene Department
HKSAR Government
Ms PANG Mee Yuk, Melissa Deputy Head of Property Development MTR Corporation 1999
Mr Fong Hok Shing, Michael Assistant Director
Projects & Development Branch
Drainage Services Department
HKSAR Government
Ms Ho Pui Shan, Louise, C.M.S.M. Assistant Commissioner(Boundary and Ports) Customs and Excise Department
HKSAR Government
Mrs KWONG LAU Po Yuk, Christina Former Chief Engineer Civil Engineering and Development Department
HKSAR Government
Ms LAU Chi Wai, Edwina Director of Hong Kong Police College Hong Kong Police Force
HKSAR Government
Mr TSANG Chee Wah, Luke Former Head of Programme Development Radio Television Hong Kong 2001
Miss Monica CHEN, JP Assistant Director
(Regional Cooperation)
Trade and Industry Department
HKSAR Government
Mr CHONG Wing Hong, Ben Former Chief Building Surveyor Building Department
HKSAR Government
Mr LEE Kui Biu, Robin, JP Project Manager
Hong Kong Island and Islands Development Office
Civil Engineering and Development Department
HKSAR Government
Mr TAM Tai Keung Senior Divisional Officer
(Building Improvement)
Fire Services Department
HKSAR Government
Dr KO Pat Sing, Tony Cluster Chief Executive New Territories West Cluster 2004
Hospital Chief Executive Tuen Mun Hospital
The Hospital Authority
Mr LEE Cheung Wing, John Former Head of Customs Drug Investigation Bureau Customs and Excise Department
HKSAR Government
Mr Mak Hoi Wan, Walter Former Chief Superintendent of Customs and Excise Head of Land Boundary Command Customs and Excise Department
HKSAR Government
Mr CHAN Chi Kin Former Principal Immigration Officer Immigration Department
HKSAR Government
Mr CHEUNG Tak Keung, Jacob Deputy Executive Director (Operations) Aviation Security Company Limited 2005
Former Assistant Commissioner of Police, Operations Hong Kong Police Force
HKSAR Government
Miss KWONG Kam Wai, Susana Assistant Director
(Local Public Relations)
Information Services Department
HKSAR Government
Mrs LO Ho Yin, Martha Assistant Director (Public Relations Outside HK) Information Services Department
HKSAR Government
Dr LO Seen Tsing, Sue Senior Doctor The Family Planning Association of Hong Kong 2005
Mr TSO Wai Yan Former Principal Investigator (Operations Department) Independent Commission Against Corruption
HKSAR Government
Mr AU Chi Kwong, Sonny, PDSM, PMSM, JP Under Secretary for Security Security Bureau
HKSAR Government
Ms CHAN Yuk Mei, Cassandra Former Controller of Procurement Division Government Logisties Department
HKSAR Government
Mr LAW Chun Nam Deputy Director of Immigration Immigration Department
HKSAR Government
Mr LAM Man Wing, Edwin Former Assistant Commissioner of Police (Information Systems) Hong Kong Police Force
HKSAR Government
Mr TO Chun Wai, Clarence Former Assistant
Commissioner of Police
Hong Kong Police Force
HKSAR Government
Mr YAU Wai Keung Assistant Director (New Territories) Fire Services Department
HKSAR Government
Miss YAU Kwai Chong, Eliza Former Assistant Secretary to the Commission on Strategic Development Central Policy Unit
HKSAR Government
Mr HO Fu Ho, Jonathan Former General Manager, Corporate Communications Division Hong Kong Productivity Council 2007
Ms CHUNG Woon Fan, Flora Chief Executive Officer Agency for Volunteer Service 2008
Mrs Yuen KAO Hing Monica, Esther Chief Executive and Secretary The Hong Kong Institution of Engineers 2008
Ms HO Odilia, Angela Former Vice Principal
(Administration and Finance)
Singapore International School
(Hong Kong)
Mr KONG Ping Lam, Francis Assistant Director
(Hong Kong Island, Islands and Marine Command)
Fire Services Department
HKSAR Government
Mr LAW Wai Fung, Eric, CSMSM Former Chief Superintendent of Correctional Services Head of Stanley Prison Correctional Services Department
HKSAR Government
Mr NG Bond Loy Former Chief Fire Officer Fire Services Department
HKSAR Government
Dr TANG Yiu Hang, Simon Deputy Hospital Chief Executive Tuen Mun Hospital
Hospital Authority
Mr YIP Kan Chuen, Frankie Chief Manager
Corporate Communication
Hospital Authority 2012
Ms LAM Yuen Mui, Wendy Senior Director
Corporate Affairs
McDonald's Restaurants (HK) Limited 2013

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.

We also welcome candidates with appropriate qualifications and experiences to apply as occasional students to enrol in individual courses. Occasional students are not formally registered with the University and hence will not be granted the access to the campus facilities. Our Department will issue certificates of attendance to occasional students who have attended more than 80% of the teaching sessions of their chosen courses and completed all the required assignments/examinations.

Schedule of Fees for regular students 2021-2022 (in HK$) (subjected to University approval)

Application $ 300 (non-refundable)
Caution Money $ 350
Composition $ 152,000 per year (full-time)
$ 76,000 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: 12:00nn, 1 March (Monday), 2021

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.