What made you study at UL?
I worked in a private sector managerial role for twelve years and decided to change my career path. I joined Limerick City and County Council in 2017 and I knew that I would build strong customer service, communication, and leadership skills in this role. But I felt that I needed more analytical skills, strategic thinking skills and to combine these competences with greater knowledge of public management and policy making. The MA Public Administration course in UL had it all. By taking modules such as public administration, collaborative governance, leadership, organisational behaviour, administrative law and by carrying out all of the research projects, I knew that I would gain the knowledge and the skills necessary for the effective delivery of my work with Limerick City and County Council.
The MA Public Administration course in UL had it all
What did you learn on the course and what modules did you enjoy most?
In the first semester, I studied the principles and theory of public administration. We focused on the changes in the management of the public sector and the key concepts of organisational behaviour. We also had an economics module where I learned how economists use theories to analyse economic problems and policy issues. In the second semester, I was part of a module on collaborative governance and leadership where we analysed how to apply a collaborative approach to public administration. I also took an administrative law module. In our economics module we analysed how global issues affect and have an impact on international and national policy making.
What is unique about the MA Public Administration?
For me, one of the major things is the flexibility of the learning experience. I can do research and analyse issues that I am interested in and that matter to me in my work. For example, in the first semester, we had to prepare a presentation and review an organisation of our choice. As I work in Limerick City and County Council I chose this organisation, and I have to say, that I did learn a lot more about the services that the organisation provides, its historical development, and patterns of institutionalisation. Also, I have had the opportunity to meet so many interesting people who were invited to give guest lectures and share their experiences. Recently, we met a representative from an ethnic minority group in Ireland, and we had a very interesting discussion about collaborative strategies that were created and being applied in order to overcome conflicts in diverse communities. These are just a few examples of the interesting things on my course.
I have had the opportunity to meet so many interesting people who were invited to give guest lectures and share their experiences
Can you take us through a typical week on the MA programme?
I am a part-time student and a full-time employee of LCCC. During the first semester, I had three modules. I was on campus for a full day on Wednesday and a half day on Thursday. We are currently completing the second semester and I also have three modules. This time, I have a half day on Tuesday and a full day on Wednesday. It is manageable and I am able to fulfil my work obligations, do the assignments, and prepare for exams.
Can you tell us about how you found studying subjects from different disciplines such as Economics, Public Administration theory and Law?
I believe that studying subjects from different disciplines provides me with knowledge and develops an essential skill set required for challenging work in the public sector. Administrative law provides me with knowledge of legal rules and processes involved in public administration. Topical issues relevant to all public and private sectors are discussed and analysed in my international economics module, whilst the subject of public administration provides me with relevant academic knowledge for practice. I work for an organisation which provides a broad range of services to local communities including social, cultural and economic development. Therefore I have to be prepared and equipped with the knowledge needed for successful and effective delivery of these services. I believe the masters programme has equipped me with this knowledge.
Administrative law provides me with knowledge of legal rules and processes involved in public administration
Can you tell us about your own experiences of the course, the benefits/challenges, etc?
I really enjoy the course. I am employed in the public sector, so everything I learn can be applied to the real world and my job. The main challenge is that this is an intensive programme with commitments to various assignments and presentations. On the other hand, the MA experience is a great way to develop time management and problem-solving skills – skills that are desired for any leader in the public sector.
Would you recommend the MA to others?
Absolutely! I would definitely recommend this course for anyone who wants to work with the community and citizens, and build a career in the public sector. I would urge anyone who works in the public sector and who wishes to learn and apply principles of new public management and collaborative leadership to do this MA programme.
For further information on the faculty of Arts, Humanties and the Masters in Public Administration, please click here.