Key Info

Public Administration and Leadership

NFQ Level 8 major Award Honours Bachelor Degree

Entry route(s):

Course code
LM002 - Arts (Common Entry) | LM019 - BSc in Social Sciences (Common Entry)
4 Years
Subject area
Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Course Director
Professor Ross Macmillan (LM019) or Dr Niall Keegan (LM002)
+353 (0)61 233755

Public Administration and Leadership can be taken on both LM002 Bachelor of Arts & LM019 Bachelor of Science in Social Sciences. Subject combinations & course structures can be reviewed on the appropriate programme page.

About you

You are interested in how the world works, particularly that part of the world that is in the public space that involves decision making, political and otherwise, about how resources are allocated, about who gets what and why. You are interested in current affairs and have a curiosity to explore how Ireland and indeed other countries are managed. Within this you are both interested to learn more about the politics of decision making and public leadership but also about the ‘machinery’ that keeps this and other countries running, often referred to as public administration. Crucially, you are interested in knowing more about how politics and the machinery of government interact but also about how they relate to and engage with citizens and their organisations. You may be interested in a career in politics or in the public sector or in the non-profit sector, in Ireland or internationally. Indeed, you may even be a future public leader!

Why study Public Administration and Leadership at UL?

Studying Public Administration and Leadership at UL will open up the world of politics, public administration and civil society in Ireland and internationally. You will learn to recognise that politics is not just the responsibility of those we elect but that it is of concern to individual citizens and to the organisations that they are part of. You will learn not only to understand the world of public leadership but how to critically analyse it. Learning about public leadership at UL is not about amassing lots of information; it’s about enabling and empowering you to know what to do with that information. UL has a long tradition of teaching and research in the area of politics, public administration and civil society and actively engages with a variety of public and community based organisations. During your studies here you will have the chance to do a work based placement, with many opportunities available in public, private and non- profit organisations. You will also have the opportunity to benefit from a study abroad programme with a large choice of universities available in different countries such as the Netherlands, Poland, the Czech Republic and even in the US.

Learn more about our courses and upcoming events

our campus

What you will study

In the Public Administration and Leadership programme you will study a range of subjects. As well as core, broader introductions to politics and public administration, in your first year you will be able to choose electives from other related disciplines, all of which are designed to generate an understanding of the complexity of public leadership. As you progress through second, third and fourth years you will encounter a range of more specific subjects, both core and electives, in the areas of public policy, international development, political economy, political theory, civic engagement, social justice, European politics, local government and many others.

Modules are offered on both Bachelor of Arts (LM002) and BSc. Social Sciences (LM019) - Both are subject to change.

Year 1 Semester 1   Semester 2


Introduction to Public Administration 1


Introduction to Public Administration 2

Year 2 Semester 3   Semester 4


Issues and Concepts in Development

  Cooperative Education Work Placement


Leadership for the 21st Century

Year 3 Semester 5   Semester 6
  Erasmus/Exchange placement with a partner institution abroad


Comparative Public Policy



Government and Politics of the EU

Year 4 Semester 7   Semester 8


Public Administration and Social Justice


Ireland and EU Membership: Adapting politics, policy and polity



Careers and influence in public leadership: ministers and civil servants


Public policy and the Environment


How to apply

Fees and funding

Student course fees are broken into three components - Student contribution, Student Levy and Tuition Fees.

A number of illustrative examples of fees for this course based on the current fee levels have been set out in the tables below.

An explanation of the components, how to determine status and the criteria involved is provided below the examples as is a list of possible scholarships and funding available.

EU Students with Free fees status in receipt of a SUSI grant

HEA pays Tuition Fees €2,558
SUSI pays Student contribution €3,000
Student pays Student Levy €100

EU Students with Free fees status not in receipt of a grant

HEA pays Tuition Fees €2,558
Student pays Student contribution €3,000
Student pays Student Levy €100

Students with EU fee status not in receipt of a grant

Student pays Tuition Fees €2,558
Student pays Student contribution €3,000
Student pays Student Levy €100

Non-EU Students

Student pays Tuition Fees €15,262
Student pays Student Levy €100

Student course fees are comprised of the following components:

Student Contribution

Annual charge set by the government for all full-time third level students. All students are liable unless they have been approved for a grant by Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI). Please refer to to determine your eligibility for a grant and for instructions on how to apply. The current student contribution is set at €3000.

Student Levy

All students are liable to pay the Student Levy of €100. Please note the Student Levy is not covered by the SUSI Grant.

Tuition Fees

These are based on Residency, Citizenship, Course requirements.

Review the three groups of criteria to determine your fee status as follows

  1. Residency
    • You must have been living in an EU/EEA member state or Switzerland for at least 3 of the 5 years before starting your course
  2. Citizenship
    • You must be a citizen of an EU/EEA member state or Switzerland or have official refugee status
  3. Course Requirements (all must be met)
    • You must be a first time full-time undergraduate (Exceptions are provided for students who hold a Level 6 or Level 7 qualification and are progressing to a Level 8 course in the same general area of study).
    • You must be undertaking a full-time undergraduate course of at least 2 year’s duration
    • You cannot be undertaking a repeat year of study at the same level unless evidence of exceptional circumstances eg serious illness is provided (in which case this condition may be waived)

Depending on how you meet these criteria your status will be one of the following -

  • Free Fee Status: You satisfy all three categories (1, 2 and 3) and therefore are eligible for the Higher Education Authority’s Free Fees scheme.
  • EU Fee Status: You satisfy both the citizenship and residency criteria but fail to satisfy the course requirements and are liable to EU fees.
  • Non EU Fee Status: You do not meet either the citizenship or residency criteria and are therefore liable to Non EU fees.

More information about fees can be found on the Finance website

These scholarships are available for all courses

Your future career

Recent graduates of this programme are working as; analysts in the insurance sector; community workers; graduate entry level public servants. Recent graduates are working for employers like Northern Trust; the National Treasury Management Agency; the Policing Authority and Intel.

A wide range of career opportunities are open to you from this programme, in the public, private and non-profit sectors:

  • Public sector positions at a national and local level and in a range of state agencies and in international public sector bodies;
  • Private Sector opportunities e.g. within the banking and financial services sector as well as in industry;
  • Non-Profit Sector employment within charitable, voluntary and community organisations, including local level community development as well international development NGOs (Non- Governmental Organisations).

Follow-On Study:

Student Profile

Frank Fitzgerald

Frank Fitzgerald

Coming from school in Clare, my main interest was (and still is) current affairs. I chose my four first year subjects on LM002 Bachelor of Arts with that in mind – Politics, Public Administration & Leadership, History and Sociology.  

In second year I had a hard time choosing which two to keep, but I chose politics and especially Public Administration and Leadership because I wanted to understand how politics and government works: who runs it, who decides, who implements, and the dynamics that not only dictated where we’ve been, but help predict where we’re going.  

Public Administration isn’t a single topic. It covers different aspects of the study of how the permanent machinery of states (and beyond that wider institutions like those of the EU) work – everything from the effect of European membership on Ireland’s permanent administration systems to environmental policy. This emphasis on policy and the permanent side of the state aligns nicely with the political – and so with taking politics as my other subject.  

If I were starting again, I would advise getting as much information as you can about the modules available and what assignments are like in college – the UL Book of Modules is great for this; just check which modules you will be taking in Public Administration and Leadership then type in the module code. This gives a better idea of which modules might be right for you. 

Finally, if unsure about anything at all when deciding what to choose, lecturers’ emails should be easy to find – if you email they will be happy to help with any queries.