The World of Public Administration

Subject PADM90007 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

February, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 22-Feb-2016 to 26-Feb-2016
Assessment Period End 01-Apr-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 23-Feb-2016
Census Date 04-Mar-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 18-Mar-2016

July, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start 04-Jul-2016
Teaching Period 11-Jul-2016 to 22-Jul-2016
Assessment Period End 26-Aug-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 05-Jul-2016
Census Date 15-Jul-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 05-Aug-2016

Delivery mode:
Intensive, and with a pre-teaching period.

Pre-teaching Period Requirements:
Students will be required to access the LMS and the readings provided in order to prepare for the first assessment task. Note: this is due in the week prior to the start of classes. Students will be able to contact the subject coordinator for support during the pre-teaching period.

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: The subject will be offered to students twice in the year, February and July, It will be scheduled intensively from 9:00am - 5:00pm over 5 consecutive days.
Total Time Commitment:

170 hours


Admission to the Master of Public Administration program.

Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge:

Previous study in public policy, political science, management, law, business, economics, international relations, non-profit management or cognate area

Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Prof Helen Sullivan


Subject Overview:

The World of Public Administration is the foundation subject in the Melbourne Master of Public Administration. The Melbourne MPA is an interdisciplinary, globally-focused degree program for managers that work within or with government. This subject sets out the foundations of public administration and explores how the theory and practice of public administration has adapted over time and in various settings to address the challenges faced by policy makers and managers.

The subject will particularly focus on understanding management and administration and the strategic environment in which managers operate. Students will develop an understanding of administration and management across the public, private, and non-profit sectors, the strategic environments that shape their actions, and the relationships these managers develop to deliver on the public policy challenges of the 21 st century.

This subject introduces students to the interdisciplinary aspects of public administration, in particular making connections to political science, law and economics, which are explored in depth in the three discipline core subjects in the Melbourne MPA.

Learning Outcomes:

Students who successfully complete this subject will:

  • Understand the foundations of public administration and management and contemporary debates related to this;
  • Appreciate the connections between public administration and management and a range of disciplines including political science, law, and economics;
  • Understand the strategic environment in which managers operate and the relationships they develop to deliver on public policy goals; and
  • Explore the local, national, regional, and global factors that impact on these managers and their environment.
  • Assessment Task 1: Practice application paper of 1,000 words where students write up a practical issue related to key themes in the subject; due the week prior to the face-to-face seminars (20%)
  • Assessment Task 2: Syndicate project (group presentation and individual paper):

    • Group presentation, approx. 10 mins per student (1000 word equivalent); scheduled during the face-to-face seminars (20%)
    • Individual paper of 1,000 words exploring key aspect of the group presentation; due two weeks after completion of the face-to-face seminars (20%)
  • Assessment Task 3: Case paper of 2,500 words where students apply key concepts from the course to the practical issue from Assessment task 1; due four weeks after completion of the face-to-face seminars (40%)

Hurdle requirement: Students are required to attend a minimum of 100% of classes in order to pass this subject and regular class participation is expected.

Prescribed Texts:

All readings will be provided via the LMS.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

On completion of this subject students should have:

  • A comprehensive understanding and appreciation of the interconnectedness and complexity of the fields of public management and administration, and the strategic environment in which managers operate;
  • A sound understanding of politics, economics and the law as they are connected to key ideas in public administration;
  • A high-level ability to combine theory and practice in a meaningful way in order to address managerial challenges and analyse contemporary issues of administration in a global environment;
  • A high-level ability to combine professional managerial and administrative skills with discipline-based expertise and to apply this complex synthesis to professional practice;
  • Well-developed interpersonal and communication skills necessary to a range of professional activities including report writing, workplace discussions, negotiation and management and lobbying strategies;
  • Flexible communication skills with a highly attuned sensitivity to a diverse audience, and to the issues specific to cross-cultural communication;
  • The ability to draw upon an extensive repertoire of advanced professional skills, in particular in decision-making, providing advice and collaborating across sectors.

Note: Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per working day. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked.

Related Course(s): Master of Public Administration
Master of Public Administration (Enhanced)
Specialist Certificate in Public Administration

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