Specialist Certificate in Public Administration
What will I study?
The Specialist Certificate in Public Administration prepares you with a foundational understanding of public administration with two subjects: 'The World of Public Administration' and an additional core subject, drawing on expertise from a range of disciplines including public administration, public policy, law, management, leadership, international relations, economics, development studies and philosophy.
- One compulsory subject (12.5 points)
- One core subject (12.5 points)
Total: 25 points
Students who have significant experience working in the public sector may be exempted from taking the compulsory 'The World of Public Administration' subject and can choose another core subject in its place. Requests should be referred to the program coordinator.
Sample course plan
View some sample course plans to help you select subjects that will meet the requirements for this certificate.
25 point program
Explore this course
Explore the subjects you could choose as part of this certificate.
- 12.5 pts
This subject sets out the foundations of public administration and explores how the theory and practice of public administration has adapted over time 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 in the public sector, the strategic environments that shapes the operations of public sector agencies, and the capabilities managers need to deliver on the public policy challenges of the 21st century.
The subject will explore the following questions:
- How do public managers balance the demands of politics, administration and delivering value?
- How do managers marshal and organise organisational resources to deliver the best outcomes for citizens?
- How does the public sector ‘join up’ to address complex societal issues, reduce costs or deliver better outcomes?
- What drives public sector reform and how has the practice of public administration adapted to meet these reform challenges and drivers?
- 12.5 pts
This subject provides students with an advanced understanding of the key leadership and management practices required to deliver outcomes effectively. These include, for example: leadership and followership, negotiation and conflict management, coaching and providing feedback, delegation, and working collaboratively. The subject situates these practices in their social, theoretical, historical and disciplinary contexts in order to provide a solid foundation for their application and use. Its focus is on enabling leaders to develop their understanding, appreciation and capability across these areas. Managing Effectively draws from a variety of disciplines and focuses attention on the application of such knowledge in practice.
Managing Effectively is one of the core subjects in the Melbourne School of Government's Public Administration program. It is one of three professionally-oriented subjects and it builds on The World of Public Administration and the core discipline subjects to develop the professional skills of participants with a particular focus on managing effectively.
- 12.5 pts
This subject provides the theoretical and analytical tools for understanding the nature and practice of finance in relation to public administration and management, drawing on the disciplines of economics and finance. Key ideas that will be explored in this subject include budgets, performance, reporting and decision–making and how these relate to broader notions of governing in complex institutional and policy environments.
Managing Public Finances is one of the core subjects in the Melbourne School of Government's Public Administration program.
- 12.5 pts
The Nature of Governing is one of the core subjects 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 governing for public outcomes and examines how government and governing institutions have evolved over time and in various settings to meet political and policy challenges, and the implications of this for public managers.
This subject provides students with the theoretical concepts and analytical tools to understand the nature and practice of governing and government in a globalizing world. Its focus is on the relationship between political institutions, actors, ideas and public administration. It draws mainly from the disciplines of political science and international relations, and from related disciplines such as sociology and political economy. Its core objective is to help participants to understand how the political environment (comprised of institutions, ideas and actors) and the practice of politics, constrains and facilitates the work of public managers in delivering public policy. This political environment is simultaneously local, national, international and global and includes elections and appointment procedures, interconnected policymaking institutions, multiple accountability mechanisms, delegation and independent agencies, interest groups, civil society and public opinion. The subject explores the great diversity of these political processes, actors and institutions and assesses how the practice of politics shapes the work of public managers across a range of practical and topical policy domains. The international dimension of this political environment has become ever more important and particular attention will be paid to the influence of international negotiations and agreements, international organizations, global standard setting bodies, international policy learning and diffusion, transnational private sector and civil society actors on the work that public managers do.
- 12.5 pts
A foundational aspect of public administration is the legal environment within which public actors operate and understanding this is central to the activity of public administration and management. The subject identifies, explains and examines the role of law in providing legitimacy and authority for government, as a framework within which government must be conducted and as one of two principal systemic avenues through which the public accountability of government is secured (with political accountability). The subject matter is organised under the rubric of the rule of law, as a central organising legal value, which underpins a range of relevant legal rules and standards which shape the way in which those that work within and with government operate. The rule of law is claimed to characterise Australian government, has been described as an ‘assumption’ of the Australian Constitution and is widely accepted internationally as a prerequisite for the effective operation of a constitutional democratic state.
While the outer parameters of the rule of law are contested, there is no dispute about the core requirement that all parts of government, without exception, must act according to law. In Australia, the relevant ‘law’ for this purpose is found in the Australian Constitutions, legislation enacted or authorised by a Parliament and the common law, all of which are informed by the long history of common law constitutionalism. A broadly comparable framework exists in all other countries. The subject will introduce students to the principal rules, standards and practices involved in governing according to law. Rather than enmeshing students in detailed legal technicalities, it will examine the requirements of the rule of law though a selected range of contemporary issues that demonstrate the rule of law in practice and the pressures to which it may be subject. It will also consider the implications for government according to the rule of law of the increasing significance of international law for public managers, and those actors that work with government in the realm of public administration.
- 12.5 pts
This subject will explore the issues of evidence construction and use in practice, allowing participants to reflect on their professional experience and develop their ability to be ‘smart consumers’ of information in a professional setting. It will explore how evidence is created, by whom, and for what purpose, exposing participants to the ongoing debates regarding evidence-based policy-making, data-driven decision-making, and, more broadly, the creation of knowledge. It will place a particular emphasis on the complex relationship between scientific advancement and the challenges this poses to leaders, managers and policy makers.
Using Evidence is one of the core subjects in the Melbourne School of Government's Public Administration program. It is one of three professionally-oriented subjects that builds on The World of Public Administration and the core discipline subjects to develop the professional skills of participants with a particular focus on using evidence in managerial practice.
- 12.5 pts
This subject provides students with an advanced understanding of ethics as they apply to the individual in their managerial role, but also in the design and implementation of public outcomes more broadly. This subject situates these challenges in their social, theoretical, historical and disciplinary contexts to provide participants with a strong foundation for their application in practice. The subject draws in particular on key ideas from philosophy to guide participants in working ethically as individual managers and leaders, but also more broadly facing the ethical dilemmas that managers confront in complex policy and governing environments. It will place a particular emphasis on the complex relationship between scientific advancement and the challenges this poses to policy makers and public managers.
Working Ethically is one of the core subjects in the Melbourne School of Government's Public Administration program. It is one of three professionally-oriented subjects and it builds on The World of Public Administration and the core discipline subjects to develop the professional skills of participants with a particular focus on ethics.