Master's students Public Governance

Program and courses Public Governance: Public Administration, Economics and Law

You kick off your Master’s with getting to know your fellow students and teachers at a festive social event. You will be spending a lot of time with these people in the year to come. In the first months we will cover the governance basics. After that you can specialize and become an expert by choosing between the four themes related to public administration, law and economics. This will eventually lead to your Master's thesis.

Program structure

This one-year program consists of 60 credits (ECTS):

  • 6 core courses (36 ECTS)
  • 1 elective theme course (6 ECTS)
  • Master's Thesis: seminar and thesis (18 ECTS)

Main intake moment: end of August. Secondary intake: end of January (conditions apply).

Program content

Core courses (36 ECTS)

Fall semester (End of August - January)

Core courses (6 courses)

You will follow 6 core courses (36 ECTS):

  • Governance and Law
  • Governance and Economics
  • Governance and Politics
  • Good Governance
  • Governance Clinic
  • Public Entrepreneurship and Strategy

Elective theme course (6 ECTS)

Spring semester (End of January - June)

The MSc Public Governance program structure allows you to focus on one of the following course themes by choosing a specific elective and writing your Master's Thesis about this theme. You can also opt to do an internship instead of (or in addition to) an elective. 

A. Governing the Transition to a Sustainable Society

The transition to a sustainable society presents us with major political, social, economic and legal challenges. To address these challenges successfully, the support and capacity of a diverse set of public, private and societal actors is needed – from the global to the local scale. Investigate how to build coalitions and networks among a diverse set of public, private and societal actors, and how to align their interests and goals towards achieving sustainable development and growth.

Leading expert: Professor Martijn Groenleer

The MSc Public Governance program structure allows you to focus on one of the following themes by choosing a specific elective and writing you Master's Thesis about this theme.

This theme offers electives like:

  • Climate Change Law
  • Seminar Environmental and Resource Economics
  • Sustainable Entrepreneurship 

In this short video Professor Martijn Groenleer will tell you more about the challenges of the transition to a sustainable society: 'Governing the Energy Transition' (video - 3.34 min). 

B. Justice, Security, and the Governance of Risks

The governance of risk, safety, and security is more than ever of vital importance in order to secure the effectiveness and legitimacy of governance systems. This track covers three main foci in the growing body of literature and research.

  • Firstly, it addresses the governance of safety and risk both from a regulatory and an organizational perspective.
  • Secondly, it focusses on the justice sector since both the management and governance of the justice sector is strongly affected by the rule of law.
  • Systems failure and crises constitute the final focus of this track.

We will reflect on the issues of enforcement and compliance, i.e. what would we perceive as “good regulation”.

Leading expert: Professor Stavros Zouridis

The MSc Public Governance program structure allows you to focus on one of the following themes by choosing a specific elective and writing you Master's Thesis about this theme.

This theme offers electives like:

  • Migration and the Rule of Law
  • Competition and Market Risks
  • The EU and Global Environmental Risks

Professor Stavros Zouridis brings a current topic under discussion in this short video: 'Why the Rule of Law has failed in Europe' (video - 5:23 min). 

C. Governance for Health, Education, and Welfare

Many countries spend more than half of their total government budget on health, education and welfare. The foundation for a prosperous, fair and equal society requires good quality of provision in all these areas. And yet we have witnessed important developments that increase complexity and call for new forms of governance. These developments come from changing expectations and needs of citizens, growing internationalization and interconnectedness, increasing mobility and flexibility, a changing economy and the development of initiatives beyond government. You will learn how to govern health, education, and welfare systems to face 21st century challenges.

Leading expert: Professor Patrick Kenis

The MSc Public Governance program structure allows you to focus on one of the following themes by choosing a specific elective and writing you Master's Thesis about this theme.

This theme offers electives like:

  • Health, resilience and sustainability
  • Social Policy and Social Risks
  • Health & Policy
D. Democratic Governance and Digital Innovation

21st Century democratic governance is strongly pressured to change and (digitally) innovate. Diving into contemporary models and practices of democratic change, you develop your grip on the changing rules of the game for citizens, politicians and governance professionals – a.o. policy advisers and process managers.

Leading Expert: Professor Frank Hendriks

The MSc Public Governance program structure allows you to focus on one of the following themes by choosing a specific elective and writing you Master's Thesis about this theme.

This theme offers electives like:

  • Politics and Society in Comparative Perspective 
  • Populism and Active Citizenship 

In this short video Professor Frank Hendriks will elaborate on the topic Democratic Governance and Innovation:  'Public Governance and the Referendum'(video - 4:58 min). 

Master's thesis (18 ECTS)

Spring semester (End of January - June)

Master’s Thesis: seminar and thesis

In the second semester you write your Master's Thesis:

  • Master's Thesis Seminar (6 ECTS)
  • Master's Thesis (12 ECTS)

Examples of thesis subjects are:

  • Governance Sustainability Development Performance and National Culture: A Study of OECD and EU Countries
  • Regional innovation system: the metropolitan region of Grenoble and the role of human capital
  • Colored glasses in fortress Europe: European threat-perceptions in relation to immigrants on Facebook

You will find a detailed description of the courses and required literature in our course catalog.

Go to the course descriptions


Please Note: programs are subject to change. We advise you to look up the current program in OSIRIS Student at the start of the year.


Short overview of Public Governance; Public Administration, Economics and Law

Tackle complex and uncertain problems in the areas of governance and public administration on a local, regional and global level.

  • In order to make solid analyses you are trained to use both quantitative and qualitative methods and you will be experienced in taking responsibility in researching these complex and uncertain problems.
  • A governance perspective that is both global and local ensures you to learn from best practices in other countries - and to be able to apply these valuable skills later on as a professional.
  • Learn to co-create innovative governance solutions with fellow students, experts in the field and important stakeholders like citizens, non-state actors, and businesses.

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Interested in the MSc Public Governance?

- Are you always looking for alternative answers and solutions to challenging problems? - Are you on top of the latest news? - And do you want to look across borders? Then check your eligibility and the deadlines for application.