Globalization and Development

Master of Philosophy in Public Administration (MPA)


Purpose and Coordinators


The purpose of the Master of Philosophy in Public Administration is to enhance students' ability to conduct independent analyses of organizations, political, administrative structures, processes, and public policy. MPA programme strengthens the student's analytical ability and provides a comprehensive training in methodology. Participation in various seminars and individual writing ensure that the motivation for and ability to work independently in an academic or a professional setting, is enhanced.

The M.Phil. Degree in Public Administration is equivalent to four semesters of study after completion of an under-graduate degree.

The Programme aims at foreign students who obtain stipend under the Quota scholarship scheme and international self- financed students.

Exchange students under the Erasmus/Socrates agreement and other guest students who are qualified academically may on application be admitted to one or more courses in the programme.


Professor Steinar Askvik

Associate Professor Ishtiaq Jamil



Structure of the Study

In the first term of the study, the autumn semester (August-December), one is required to complete two compulsory courses/ seminars, in Methodology (AORG320), and Organization and Politics (AORG321). In the second term (January-June), one is required to complete two compulsory seminars, viz. the seminars in Research Design (AORG322), and Research Field (AORG323).

In the second semester there will be an assessment of the student's ability to continue in the programme.

During the second year (3rd and 4th term), one is required to write the M.Phil. Thesis (AORG351) in close collaboration with respective supervisor. The length of the AORG351 Thesis is normally around 100 typed pages, using 1.5 line spacing and font size of 12.

1st term:

AORG321: Methodology
AORG320: Organizations and Politics

2nd term:

AORG322: Research Design
AORG323: Research Field

3rd and 4th term:

M.Phil Thesis




In order to be admitted to the Master of Philosophy in Public Administration (MPA), an applicant must have a university degree based on either (a) three years of studies or more from a recognized non-Norwegian university or (b) a Bachelor- or cand. mag.-degree or comparable education recognized by the Department of Administration and Organization Theory. The undergraduate degree must include relevant courses in political science, public administration, and/or organization theory equalling a minimum of 1,5 years of full-time studies. These formal entrance requirements are identical to the minimum requirements that apply for admission to the Norwegian Master Programme in Administration and Organizational Theory. Priority is given to candidates with a major in public administration or political science. The Faculty of Social Sciences selects applicants in cooperation with the Department of Administration and Organization Theory.

All teaching is conducted in English, and applicants must provide documentation of English language proficiency.


The Seminars

AORG320 Organization and Politics

Content: The content of the seminar is built around three interrelated topics: (1) the history of the discipline, central themes, theoretical foundations and major contributions. (2) The development of organization theory, the institutionalization of different schools of thought, controversies and discourses. (3) Different traditions and approaches to the study of public policy, organization and power.

Purpose: The aim of the seminar is to help the students understand and analyze the relation between organization and public policy in a critical and independent manner. The seminar provides a review of selected approaches and discourses in each of these fields, and emphasizes relations between the two. The course provides empirically based knowledge on power relations in and between organizations in different sectors of society.

Number of lectures: 14

Compulsory requirements:
Presentation of a short essay on at curriculum based problem. In addition one is required to comment on the presentations given by the other students.

Exam: School exam and take home exam (½ + ½)

AORG321 Methodology

The course requires prior knowledge of different methods and techniques used in Social Science Methodology. The course provides an in-depth review of relations between theory and data in selected fields of study. Focus is on the application of central concepts though empirical studies. Student working with his/her exam essay will have the opportunity to link a research problem to a methodically adequate research design.

Purpose: The purpose of the course is to enhance knowledge of central concepts and methods that provide further insight into the relation between theory and data as well as training in the development of relation between the two.

Number of lectures: 14

Exam: 20 page essay and oral exam (2/3 + 1/3)

AORG322 Research Design

Content: The course provides the student with training in writing research proposals: (i) formulating research questions, (ii) introducing relevant theory and reviewing literature, (iii) identifying sources of data and methods of data gathering, and (iv) discussing possibilities for generalisation.

Purpose: to provide practical experience in the development of a research proposal. The course focuses on the relation between problem identification, developing theoretical perspectives, methodological approach and data discussion.

Compulsory requirements:
Submission of project proposal for evaluation and mandatory participation in seminars.

Exam: Submission of an essay of about 15 pages


AORG323 Research Field

Content: Through critical analysis and discussion of relevant literature within the research field of student's choice, the course aims to give a good basis for developing master's thesis. The following questions are important: What kind of studies characterizes the research field? Which theories, methods and data sources are used and how are findings interpreted? On this background you will be able to position and argue the relevance of your own project within a broader context. You are also required to choose a curriculum of approximately 1000 pages approved by your supervisor.

Purpose: The course provides the state of the art within the research field the student has selected for his/her master thesis.

Compulsory requirements: Approved draft and mandatory attendance at workshop

Exam: Submission of an essay of about 15 pages


AORG351 M.Phil. Thesis

Content: The Master's Thesis shall explore a topic/issue which is relevant to Administration and Organizational Science. It is required that the topic and research problem of the Master's
Thesis takes its point of departure from the research agenda of the research groups which structures the research activities of the institute. It is also required that the students follow the research seminar organized by research group as an integral part of their work with the master thesis. Dissertation seminar may be arranged depending on the needs and progress of thesis of the students.

Purpose: In writing the thesis students are required to pursue independent scientific work and presentation.

Teaching method: Individual and collective supervision and dissertation seminars

Exam: The Master's Thesis shall be submitted in the fourth semester and the fixed date is 1st of June in the spring semester. Submitting on a different date may be granted based on individual application.

Form of exam: The thesis shall be submitted electronically to the department. There is no oral defence in connection with the grading of the thesis, but if you wish, you may ask for a clarification of the evaluation on thesis.

Both with regard to exams and essays, the following letter grades are used, namely: A (Excellent), B (Very good), C (Good), D (Satisfactory), E (Sufficient) and F (Fail).



University of Bergen does not charge tuition fees. However, all persons who attend regular courses/lecturers at the University of Bergen or prepare for university examinations have to register each semester. This applies for all guest students and scholarship holders. In order to register, you must pay the semester fee in advance. The deadlines for semester registration and payment of the semester fee are:
Autumn semester : 1 September
Spring semester: 1 February


Read more about the MPA-programme and admission.