The Postgraduate Diploma in Public Management is both a one-year, stand-alone qualification and the first year of the IPA's suite of MA programmes. By providing a solid grounding in subjects central to public management, it prepares students for the elective subjects they will take in the second, specialised year of their chosen MA stream.
The programme analyses public management issues using models and concepts from the social sciences and from quantitative disciplines. Its content blends academic principles and scholarship with practical application, and it is taught be a mix of academics and public service experts.
Students receive instruction in areas vital to the effective management of public services, including the cost-appraisal of projects, the promotion of organisational change, public sector financial management and the significance of EU institutions and policies for Ireland. The programme is divided into two semesters - September to December and January to April - and three modules are taken in each semester.
Semester One (September – December)
This course focuses on public sector economics. The State plays a very important role in all our economic lives and in the economic health of the nation. Among the topics that are addressed are taxation, the economics of regulation, efficiency and effectiveness in the public sector, monopolies, project appraisal, sources of funds and portfolio theory.
Managing Human Resources
On completing this course, which attends to both human resource management and organisational behaviour, students will be able to evaluate the human resource management system in their organisation. It considers, among other topics, strategic HR planning, performance and rewards management, theories of leadership, group dynamics, communication in organisations, politics and conflict, organisational change, and job design.
Public sector managers, like their private sector counterparts, should have a solid understanding of the main principles and tools of contemporary financial management. This course explores financial reporting, financial statement analysis, budgeting and working capital, cost and management accounting, and investment. It also attends to the ideas and practices of modern financial governance, auditing and risk.
Semester Two (January – April)
Organisation and Strategy
This course gives students a solid understanding of the evolving role of the State, of different approaches to policy-making and strategy, and of organisational design. Focusing on the public sector, it will provide them with ideas and arguments that they can use to evaluate their organisation, its working environment, and its success. Among the specific topics addressed are the role and evolution of the State, decision-making in organisations, and public management in the 21st century.
This course explores both research theory and design and quantitative techniques. With regard to the former, it considers how knowledge is best obtained, different research strategies, sampling, interviews, and focus groups. Its treatment of quantitative techniques examines how to present data, the application of probability distributions, the estimation of population parameters, and the forms that relationships between quantitative variables can take.
Managing Service Delivery/Managing in Europe
This course falls into two parts. The first explores some of the main issues around the management of service delivery in the public service. It addresses the changing demands and challenges, the effects of consumerism, and the use of contracting and devolved management. The second part of the course explores the history of European integration, how the EU functions and the debates about its direction and future.