Master of Public Administration


Which target public?
The MPA programme is aimed at anyone wishing to pursue a high-level career in the public sector or in an organisation whose activities involve working with the public sector.

Public sector
  • Graduates of universities and higher education establishments;
  • Employees working in Federal, cantonal or municipal services;
  • Individuals working in organisations that are part of the public sector in the broad sense, such as public companies, or political, professional or non-profit-making bodies.

Private sector
  • Individuals whose job involves frequent interaction with the public sector;
  • People who want refocus their career within the public sector.

A diploma combining a joint programme and individual choice

Each course is scheduled for one full day a week.

Summary of the MPA programme
Foundation course: 6 modules of 6 days (Tuesdays) 36 days
3 course options of 12 days 36 days
Dissertation (including course on methodology and writing)

At the same time, the student will produce a dissertation in his/her chosen subject from an interdisciplinary perspective, supervised by a professor at IDHEAP. The dissertation perfectly complements the courses taken.

The philosophy of the MPA is for students to devise a study plan the helps them acquire new skills, complementing the knowledge they already have from their initial training, and balancing courses in public management, public economics and public policies in their study plan.

Interactive teaching
Teaching follows an innovative and dynamic approach, taking in the problems currently experienced in the public sector. The MPA offers a direct insight into the transformations that are happening in public services, through case studies and numerous contributions from outside experts.

Flexible and individual planning of on-the-job training

You can start the MPA programme in each trimester.

Registration dates Start of studies

Autumn trimester (end of September to end of December)
Winter trimester (beginning of January to end of March)
Spring trimester (mid-April to beginning of July)

The MPA programme normally takes 2 years (including dissertation). The first year is devoted to the basic courses, and the second year to optional courses. However, depending on the student’s availability, it is possible to complete the MPA programme in a minimum of one year full-time or, by contrast, extend it up to 3 years.

The MPA programme was devised with reference to Swiss and European standards of accreditation, so as to ensure that individuals who wanted to pursue their studies or activities abroad had their diploma recognised. The institute is accredited by the Confederation, and the MPA by the EAPAA (European Association for Public Administration Accreditation).

IDHEAP is keen to foster cooperation with the best graduate schools at international level. Students can, from now on, have a module validated that was taken at the partner institutions:
  • University of Lausanne;
    Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne;
  • University of Bern Centre of Competence in Public Administration;
  • National School of Public Administration in Quebec;
  • Faculty of economic, social and political science of the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium;
  • Deutsche Hochschule für Verwaltungswissenschaft (HFV Speyer) in Speyer, Germany;
  • Instituto Nacional de Administração (INA) in Lisbon, Portugal;
  • Sun Yat Sen University (Zhongshan) in Canton, China.

What added value does the MPA create?
In addition to the quality and topicality of the various courses, the MPA offers the following benefits:
  • Systematic link between theoretical approaches and practical projects;
  • In-depth and global study of public-sector issues through the integration of various disciplines such as political science, public management, economics, statistics and law ;
  • Practical approaches and the acquisition of tools to facilitate the solution of problems arising daily within an administrative body;
  • A network of contacts representing a source of information and relationships that remain extremely useful long after the course has finished;
  • Career acceleration: The MPA represents a major asset for professional development, as shown by the career paths taken by our graduates.

The MPA programme requires a sustained effort throughout the period of study. Participation in the courses is obligatory and the students must put in a substantial amount of individual work in the form of lectures, case preparation, team activities and writing of various papers, in addition to producing the diploma dissertation. A one-year, full-time programme is unlikely to allow the student to carry on with their professional activity.

Where do IDHEAP graduates work ?
  • Research & teaching 10%
  • Swiss Confederation 20%
  • Public & private companies 17%
  • NGO / associations 10%
  • Municipalities 9%
  • Cantons 33%

Some MPA graduates since 1982
  • Alain Buogo, Head of the coordination service, Federal office for topography, Bern
  • Jean Borloz, Head of the personnel department of the city of Lausanne
  • Patrick Cudré-Mauroux, Management Consultant, Mercuri Urval SA, Nyon
  • Lionel Eperon, Head of the Economy and Tourisme Department, State of Vaud
  • Daniel Fino, Deputy manager of the Graduate Institute of Development Studies (IUED), Geneva
  • Stanislas Frossard, Administrator at the Council of Europe, Strasbourg
  • Jacques-André Maire, Members of the National Council, Neuchâtel
  • Corine Mauch, Mayor of Zurich
  • Brigitte Pitteloud, Delegate for cross-border and European affairs, Valais
  • Yvonne Reichlin-Zobrist, Head of the Administration of finance, Basle-Country
  • Andreas Scheuber, Secretary-General of the Department of health and social services, Nidwald
  • Philippe Schwab, Deputy Secretary-General, Secretary of the Council of States (Swiss Senate)
  • Ursula Straub, Personnel Manager of the IT division of the Swiss Post Office
  • Serge Terribilini, Prefect, Lausanne
  • Frédéric Varone, Professor at the University of Geneva

Conditions for admission to the MPA

Individuals who wish to apply for the MPA must fill in the application form, accompanied by two photographs, a copy of their academic qualifications, a letter explaining the reasons why they are applying, and a provisional study programme. Registration can be done online.

Registration dates
It is possible to start the MPA programme at the beginning of each trimester.

Decision regarding admission
All the application files are presented to the Study Committee which decides on the basis of the candidate’s academic qualifications, their professional experience, their linguistic ability and their interest in a public-sector career. A university degree does not automatically give the right of admission to the MPA programmes, and there is a rigorous selection procedure. Each candidate is called to an interview, in which his/her verbal, writing and reasoning abilities are tested, as well as their linguistic competence and genuine interest in the public sector. Candidates without a university degree, but who have obtained A’levels and have considerable professional experience, may be admitted to the MPA; however, they will for a time be admitted only to attend lectures .

Registration fees
The cost of registration for the entire course programme leading to the MPA is Fr. 22’000.--. It includes educational materials and the use of the library.

A non-returnable registration fee of Fr. 120.— must be paid into

Bank: PostFinance, 1010 Lausanne, Switzerland
Account: 10-157849-1
Clearing: 9000
IBAN: CH30 0900 0000 1015 7849 1
Beneficiary: Fondation pour la formation continue universitaire lausannoise
EPFL - Innovation Park, Bâtiment E, CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland
Reference: 01 215 500

A copy of the bank or postal receipt confirming the payment must be attached to the application file.

Working languages
The IDHEAP courses are delivered in French.
The two other working languages are German and English.
It should be pointed out, however, that both the trimester’s work and the dissertation can be written in French, German, English or Italian.

Award of the MPA
To be awarded the MPA, the student must successfully pass the tests relating to the basic course modules, to the three optional courses chosen, and obtain an adequate mark after an oral defence of his dissertation.