Learning outcomes

Students enrolled in the Master [120] in Public Administration course are working towards becoming expert actors in public life, particularly in the field of public administration, at different levels of authority and in particular at regional and local levels, capable of robustly and critically analysing contemporary political phenomena and ongoing political developments, explaining them and acting within and for society, after having gained an understanding of and an ethical approach to public service.

Recent changes in the structures and role of the State in society have resulted in the emergence of new challenges and numerous questions concerning the management of public affairs, which public service managers are faced with on a daily basis. It is to tackle these challenges and questions that the Master in Public Administration course prepares students for employment as managers (executive and managerial positions) or as analysts, advisers or representatives with public organisations or bodies working in close collaboration with the public sector (e.g. the political parties, trade unions, professional organisations, etc.) at a European, federal, regional or local level.

To meet these challenges, on completion of the Master in Public Administration programme, graduates will have developed politico-institutional expertise and be capable of introducing analytical strategies for a better understanding of public action and their environment and intervening in a rational, effective and fair manner They will be able to:

  • Apply, in a critical manner, their in-depth knowledge of public life, power games between actors and institutions, legitimacy issues, democratic issues, organisation of public authorities, etc., from local to regional, as well as at national and international levels.
  • Critically and pertinently use tools (both theoretical and conceptual) and methods required to analyse complex situations/issues relating to public action, identify constraints on collective decisions and develop practical solutions that will ensure modern and effective management of the public sector.
  • Incorporate into their analysis and action the complexity of the multi-level governance process, particularly in the context of European politics.
  • Adopt a solicitous perspective of socio-economic development and democratic issues and implement an approach that integrates interactions among the various stakeholders involved in political life.
  • Pursue a comparative approach in the analysis of institutional dynamics and interactions between public and private stakeholders.
  • Pursue an approach that takes account of the spatial extent of politics (spacialisation and territorialisation).
  • Direct and evaluate, in concrete terms, changes in public organisations at European, federal, regional and local levels.
  • Defend positions at different levels of the political arena.
  • Identify best practices and draw lessons from experience abroad.

On completion of this Masters course, graduates will also have developed their personal research skills, meaning that they will have independently built up their knowledge of conceptual or theoretical questioning in a field of their choice, particularly with regard to the thesis, while interacting with the reality on the ground through the work placement coupled with the thesis.

Aware of the responsibility that goes with the role of decision-maker, graduates will have adopted a critical academic attitude, enabling them to make decisions completely independently, with civic and ethical values and public service being core concerns. They will adopt a continuous development approach enabling them, as professionals, to display expertise, multiple skills and the ability to adapt and evolve positively in their socio-professional environment.


On successful completion of this programme, each student is able to :


CG1.1 Identify, analyse and understand the political issues of a given situation.
CG1.2 Adopt a stance in debates and negotiations in defence of the interests of the institutions and organisations they represent.
CG1.3 Incorporate the ethical dimension and the “in the public service and for the common good” dimension into political debates and actions.

CG2. Position their analyses and/or actions in a multi-level perspective.

CG2.1 Identify different institutional levels.
CG2.2 Demonstrate in-depth and specialist knowledge (depending on the choice of focus) of different political and institutional systems and political issues at international, European and Belgian levels.
CG2.3 Compare different political and institutional systems, both national and international.
CG2.4 Identify various government and non-government stakeholders (social movements, interest groups, citizens, etc.) and demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of their positions.
CG2.5 Analyse interactions among different stakeholders, from the relationships between political parties and states to the role of non-governmental organisations.

CG3. Adopt a robust and interdisciplinary approach to analysing complex political, economic and social situations.

CG3.1 Demonstrate in-depth specialist knowledge (theories, fundamentals, phenomena) of political sciences, according to the focus chosen.
CG3.2 Demonstrate basic knowledge of key aspects of the human and social science disciplines related to political sciences, according to the focus chosen: law, geopolitics, economics, sociology and history.
CG3.3 Pertinently and rigorously apply data analysis (qualitative and quantitative) and diagnostic tools in social and political sciences to provide a better understanding of the complexity of “political life”.
CG3.4 Apply and combine these tools and this knowledge to analyse the issues/questions specific to political sciences (according to the focus chosen).

CG4. Use their politico-institutional expertise to advise on political action in a specific sector or area (according to the focus chosen).

CG4.1 Demonstrate an understanding and knowledge (for the focus chosen) of the issues unique to different sectors of political life (environment, family, humanitarian, etc.).
CG4.2 Explain and analyse specific contexts and situations:
  • Analyse the different regional geographic areas.
  • Evaluate political action by sector or area.
  • Use robust analytical and diagnostic tools.
  • Apply a robust comparative approach.
CG4.3 Contribute to the analysis and/or design of management strategies for real-life political situations, according to the focus chosen.

CG5. Disseminate pertinent political, economic and social information adapted to the targeted sector of the public and interact constructively with different stakeholders involved in a given situation.

CG5.1 Communicate in a pertinent manner, verbally and in writing, on complex situations / subjects in political sciences
  • Select pertinent information enabling the analysis and comparison of political situations
  • resent the information in an accurate, structured, clear, precise and well-argued manner (demonstrating an ability to prepare reports, assessments, critical reviews, notes, etc.).
  • Adapt the communication (content and form) to the targeted public sector and to the intended purposes according to the communication standards specific to the context (popularising, etc.).
CG5.2 Communicate articulately in English, verbally and in writing, in a clear, coherent and well-argued manner on general matters or issues relating to the field of political sciences. (Level B2 of the Common European Framework of Reference).
CG5.3 Communicate, interact and negotiate constructively with various representatives, including colleagues, political decision-makers and target audiences.
CG5.4 Liaise and collaborate effectively within a team and network effectively with other agencies involved in a given situation.

CG6. Devise and implement a personal research project (thesis) using a robust and critical scientific and methodological approach in order to conduct a detailed analysis of an issue related to political science (in the chosen field of study).

CG6.1 Define and explain a research subject, making sure that it is placed in the proper context.
CG6.2 Prepare a critical report on the literature relating to this subject, making active, critical and pertinent use of information tools and primary and secondary sources.
CG6.3 Construct and implement a robust and pertinent methodology in response.
CG6.4 Devise and carry out, if appropriate, a quantitative and/or qualitative empirical research project using suitable analytical tools.
CG6.5 Develop an objective analysis and the ability to summarise so as to enable the relevant parameters to be put into perspective and pertinent conclusions to be formed.
CG6.6 Demonstrate, in general terms, an attitude of critical detachment with regard to their own work and the knowledge and skills deployed.

CG7. Act as academics and critical and responsible players committed to continuous development.

CG7.1 Embark on a socio-professional practice using a well-founded academic approach (from a theoretical and methodological perspective) characterised by a reflective and critical attitude.
CG7.2 Work, make decisions and act independently and responsibly with regard to the framework, the work context and other people.
CG7.3 Be aware of their societal and civic responsibilities.
CG7.4 Maintain an attitude of critical detachment (their knowledge, skills, limitations, achievements and actions) and of the continuous learning and development required to evolve positively in their socio-professional environment.

More specifically, as graduates of the Master [120] in Public Administration who have pursued the Professional focus:

AP. Develop expertise and a high level of skills in the field of public administration and specifically in the analysis of organisations, public policy and actions, as well as in modern and effective management of the public sector, with a view to participating in public decision-making, and be able to take employment with public or parapublic organisations at European, federal, regional and local levels.

AP.1 Demonstrate and use, in a critical manner, in-depth and specialist knowledge related to:
  • the development and decision-making process at each stage of the cycle of a public policy and the analysis and direction of public action,
  • the functioning and management of public organisations,
  • the multi-level dimension of institutional systems,
  • the national, regional, European and international political arenas.
AP.2 Demonstrate and use, in a critical manner, in-depth and specialist knowledge of management and human resources with a public service ethos.
AP.3 Analyse and manage complex situations/problems related to public action by using different analytical methodologies and tools, by:
  • identifying, analysing and taking account of the numerous issues,
  • identifying and analysing the stakeholders involved, their positions and their interactions,
  • analysing the internal organisation of political institutions,
  • critically and pertinently mobilising the tools (theoretical and conceptual) and methods required to analyse and act on the operating methods of the policies implemented,
  • adopting a robust comparative approach in the analysis of institutional dynamics and the interactions between public and private stakeholders,
  • integrating multi-level governance processes,
  • being mindful of socio-economic development and the spacial extent of the policies,
  • mobilising the pertinent theoretical and conceptual tools to analyse European and international problems,
  • aiming for efficiency and modernity in public management.
AP.4 Organise and direct political consultation, the monitoring of procedures and processes, as well as the introduction of control or monitoring tools.
AP.5 Analyse and discuss the main democratic issues directly or indirectly related to public actions and the behaviour of public and/or political stakeholders.
AP.6 Discuss and analyse the territorialisation and spacialisation process (specific division of space in relation to problems) in the development of a development dynamic.
AP.7 Analyse and evaluate public policies, inter alia the effects of implementing a public policy at local, national, and international levels and the process guaranteeing the legitimacy of directions taken and of its impact on the real situation.
AP.8 Critically examine a media document, identifying its ideological content and analysing and discussing its intended or possible effects.
AP.9 Work as part of a team within a hierarchy, clustering or working in a network.
AP.10 Identify, analyse and direct changes in public organisations and create and provide well thought out and pertinent innovation.
AP.11 Develop skills related to their first work experience (work placement):
  • Situate and perform their role and scope of action within an organisation, liaising with various internal and external stakeholders and adapting to the context and operational principles.
  • Compare theory and practice in order to learn how to critically examine the operation of an organisation and/or a problematic situation, as well as the theory relating to reality on the ground (a “round trip” between theories and practices).
AP.12 Communicate articulately in English and Dutch or Spanish, verbally and in writing, in a clear, coherent and well-argued manner in an international context, taking account of the intercultural aspects (Level B2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages).
AP.13 Develop their communication and relational skills by their command of theoretical reference frameworks, the development of expertise and the implementation of a metacognitive approach to their interpersonal skills, in direct relation to their future professional lives.