Call us to speak to a Student Recruitment Coordinator Tel: +44 (0)800 032 7101

Short online courses in public administration

Study the core practices, principles and strategies of public services by joining a flexible online course from a globally ranked university.

8-weeks, 100% online

UK’s leading academic centre on local governance and strategic public management

60% of students studying overseas, across more than 50 different countries2

World top-100 University1

Transform your tomorrow

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Flexible learning for today

Across the globe, public servants need to be more forward-thinking and tech-savvy than ever. Complete with contemporary topics and the latest thinking from around the world, our 8-week, 100% online short courses – or Postgraduate Microcredentials – will help you to progress in this dynamic and evolving field.

Covering topics such as leadership, governance and performance management, each postgraduate microcredential is designed to help hone your skills in a particular area of public services. Not only are they a quicker way to boost your CV, but they also teach you the skills you need to support your career objectives and continuing professional development (CPD) – without the commitment of long-term study. At the end of your 8-week course, you will receive an official University of Birmingham Postgraduate Microcredential certificate worth 10 credits, and a transcript highlighting your new credential to both current and prospective employers.

Studying a short course is also an opportunity to introduce yourself to online learning. Should you choose to apply for a full masters programme at a later date, any course credits you’ve earned through this Microcredential qualification will count towards the Online Master of Public Administration programme.

Online learning experience

Our short courses are 100% online, giving you the flexibility to study and progress your career around your existing commitments, from anywhere in the world. All you need to commit to is 12–15 hours of study a week.

By enrolling onto any of these microcredentials, you will be a fully registered University of Birmingham student for the duration of the course, with access to the same acclaimed lecturers, industry speakers, resources and support services as our campus-based students. You’ll also be connected to a community of like-minded learners from around the world, through live discussions, instant messaging, group work and more.

Studying online has many advantages which include being able to study from the comfort of my own home, at times of my own choosing, with all the appropriate readings for each lesson available online. I also have the opportunity to get to interact with fellow ‘classmates’ via discussion forums and online webinars.

Sharon Clayton, Online Graduate

Explore our featured short courses

All of our postgraduate microcredentials are taught by academics and industry experts who are leaders in their field – supporting your ability to expand your career opportunities and effect positive change in public services. We currently offer the following online short courses:

Leadership in public services
Exploring the concept of leadership and the changing demands on public service leaders, this course helps to hone a set of individual and highly practical leadership skills.

Performance management
Gain the practical skills and knowledge necessary to apply theoretical frameworks and data to drive performance management.

Partnership and collaboration
Understand the dynamics of inter-organisational collaboration in public service and government.

Strategic management
Learn how to strategically plan and manage policies, practices, resources, services and communities, drawing on appropriate examples from the private sector.

Democracy, governance and participation
Study the influence of representative democracy and the challenges in changing societies around the world, exploring models of participation and government.

Managing public money
Examine how the economy works and its role in government, and acquire key skills in budgeting, finance, cost/benefit analysis and more.

Managing in a political environment
Understand the value of political leadership in public service management, learning how to manage the interface between political and managerial leadership.

Programme management
Explore the practical aspects of programme management and how it is used to implement new strategies and change in public services around the world.

Public management and governance in a changing world
Serving as an overview of the development of public service governance, this course examines the challenges and pressures on public bodies and governments to deliver public services.

If you are passionate about driving public sector efficiencies to benefit the needs of whole communities, you can take all of the courses by enrolling in our full Online Master of Public Administration. By exploring every aspect of public service, you will be better equipped to lead change in this ever-evolving field.


1UNKNOWN (2019) World University Rankings. QS Top Universities [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 12.02.2020]
2Updated 11th February 2020. Country names categorised using information provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) [online] Available at: [Accessed 11.02.2020]
3UNKNOWN (2020) The graduate market in 2020. High Fliers Research Limited [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 08.06.2020]
4UNKNOWN (2020) The School of Government receives Athena SWAN accreditation [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 21.02.2020]


8 weeks

Start dates:

Speak to a recruitment coordinator to find out about our upcoming start dates

Entry requirements:

At least an upper second-class degree or postgraduate diploma from a UK university OR an equivalent qualification from a recognised institution. Professional applicants may also be considered.

International students:

With the exception of Graduate Diploma Students, applicants must have an IELTS score of 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in any band.