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Public Administration: Pre-Master

Public Administration: Pre-master

The purpose of the pre-master Programme is to eliminate deficiencies of students who cannot be admitted directly to the master Public Administration (PA).

This part of the e-Prospectus gives an overview of the pre-master courses offered by the Institute of Public Administration. The pre-master programme is not an independent study programme therefore you cannot apply for admission to the pre-Master.

Click here for the Dutch Management van de Publieke Sector pre-master

Rules and information


The Pre-Master’s programme consists of 15 ECTS of courses. The Pre-Master’s programme runs twice a year; from late October to January (Block 2) and from late March to June (Block 4).

After you’ve successfully finished the Pre-Master you can continue in the Master Public Administration (PA).

There is a link to the schedule on the right side of this page.

Only students who applied for admission to the Master’s and were admitted to the Pre-Master’s by the Admission Committee can follow the Premaster’s.


In your decision on admission from the admission committee you can find which of the Pre-Master’s courses you have to follow before you can start with the Master’s Programme. Under the tab 'Courses' you can find information on the courses.

Did you receive a decision on admission where other courses are mentioned than those listed under 'Courses'?
Please contact the admission committee (only for this question. For other questions, please contact our study advisors)

Pre-Master’s: one chance only!

We encourage students to take all courses in their first semester. This gives them a good idea on what it is like to follow the Master’s programme and it gives them the option to retake courses in their second semester. Students who opt to spread the workload –for whatever reason- run the risk that they don’t have a good picture of pressure and pace of the Master’s programme and they have fewer options to pass a course successfully.

  • Students who start in September can retake the parts they did not pass in the second semester of that academic year.

  • Student who start in February can retake the parts they did not pass in the first semester of the following academic year.

Students need to finish within one year. If they fail to do so, they cannot retake the Pre-Master’s or retake the course(s) you failed. Failing the Pre-Master’s also means that you cannot apply for another Master’s programme offered by this institute. An application for one of the other Master’s degrees will be refused automatically.


The Pre-Master’s is a fulltime study. Even though the Pre-Master’s has the duration of one block and contains 15 ECTS, the Pre-Master’s is difficult to combine with another study or (voluntary) work. We expect that the student has 40 hrs. per week available to study. Please ask yourself if you have this time to spend on your studies. If the answer is ‘no’, it might be better to postpone.

Since a lot depends on the Pre-Master’s, we recommend you to be well prepared. We notice that the Pre-Master ’s is often underestimated. If your previous education is Hbo (vocational) and this is the first time you study at a university or if you are a bit rusty, because it has been some time since you last studied we strongly recommend that you look into these study skills and/or follow an online workshop.

It is advisable to start studying from the first week on. The longer you wait, the more you have to catch up. Read the literature before and after the lectures!

Extra facilities due to disabilities such as dyslexia or a visual impairment

You might need more time to finish an exam or you might need to take the exam on a laptop due to a disability, like dyslexia or AD(H)D. If you need any kind of facilities you are advised to contact the study advisers. They can inform you on how to arrange this. Get in touch with them soon to ensure you have a relaxed start.

Your personal situation & unexpected events

If you have questions or need advice on your personal circumstances (if you are a caregiver or pregnant, etc) or if you are aware of something time-consuming during the Pre-Master ’s, e.g. a family-event, please contact the study advisers for a consult. Preferably before the start of the Pre-Master ’s, so that they can show all options to you.

If you contact them the study advisors can assist you to find solutions or to advice you on what steps to take. If you don’t contact them, they cannot support you. That might lead to a situation that you have no other options to finish the Pre-Master.


(Part of) the literature is available in the course descriptions in the Prospectus. It could be that you are referred to Brightspace for more information. You can find the articles in the catalogue from the University Library. You can find additional literature in the course manuals on Brightspace.

There is not one overall list with all literature available.

More information

If you have any further questions you can contact our study advisors.


Pre-Master’s students for the Master Public Administration (MPA) follow these three courses (15 ECTS):

  • Research in Public Administration (English) (5 ECTS)

  • Public Policy (English) (5 ECTS)

  • Public Management and Organisations ( English) (5 ECTS)

Click here for the Dutch Management van de Publieke Sector pre-master

Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2
Research in Public Administration (SPOC) 5
Public Policy 5
Public Management and Organisations (English) 5


Study counseling and support

The study advisers from your programme can help you out with programme related questions and problems, like if you fall behind with your studies, your study planning, examination rules and regulations etc. Please see below:

  • Personal circumstances:
    By this we mean: illness, disability, special circumstances within the family, pregnancy and certain board activities. If you’re not sure about your situation, please also come by the study advisers.

  • Other study related issues:
    Study progress, rules and regulation Institute of Public Administration/ University, problems with thesis.

Furthermore, there are also:

  • Student counselors: they answer your questions and help you out with problems where different regulations and legal conditions play a role;

  • Student psychologists: they can for instance help you with fear of failure, procrastination, hindering thoughts and they also provide study skills workshops and support groups for students who write their thesis.

You’re always welcome to come by the study advisers first if you are in doubt as to whom you should turn to.

Other important departments:

  • The Board of Examination is, among other things, responsible for the organization of exams and they also check up on the fulfillment of the Regulations for Teaching and Examinations. Furthermore, the Board of Examination also processes individual requests from students regarding their programme. For individual questions to the Board, please read the rules and regulations.

  • The Education Services Centre (OSC) takes care of the registration of study and education information and is available for students by telephone and at the desk during their opening hours.


  • The study advisers are the first point of contact within the programme. Please speak to them first, if you are not sure where to turn to regarding the options below.

  • The university offers different portals where you can discuss your question or complaint.

  • Do you have a questions, suggestion or complaint about a specific course, exam or about the study programme and time schedule? Please check the complaints page of your programme.

  • Every faculty has a complaints coordinator: the assessor of the Faculty (student member of the Board). He or she is the complaints coordinator for all other complaints.

Study association

The study association Bestuurskundige Interfacultaire vereniging Leiden (B.I.L.) forms a link between students and the Institute and organizes several activities for students.