The Graduate Diploma in Public Administration (GDPA) and Graduate Certificate in Public Administration (GCPA)

General Information About the Courses

The GSG offers a world-class learning environment for current and future leaders in public administration.

A practical and academic rationale for the GDPA and GCPA is the proposition that they directly contribute to the skills of people seeking careers at senior level within the public sector as well as those from other sectors who hope to become better consumers of public administration.

The GDPA and GCPA encompass a range of fields of study relevant to public administration including:

  • public policy - formulation and analysis
  • policy implementation and public value
  • leadership
  • strategic thinking
  • the art of implementation
  • planning
  • resource management
  • communication
  • decision-making and problem-solving
  • ethics
  • risk management
  • managing, leading and responding to change
  • international trends in public sector management
  • government-business relations
  • marketing
  • survey design and analysis
  • media management
  • managing public expenditure
  • managing capital works and asset procurement
  • case study exercises
  • work-based projects

Important themes of study and learning relevant to contemporary public administration include:

  • cross agency or whole of government policy development and program implementation
  • Commonwealth/State and inter-State co-operation to achieve public value
    politics in practice - public servants and politicians, and their relationships within the political process
  • case studies and concepts in the "art of implementation"
  • designing, negotiating and managing complex public/private commercial contracts
  • demand management and pricing of public services
  • workforce planning and human resource investments
  • planning, making and managing geographic "places" of social, economic and
    political significance

A key resource for these subjects is the opportunity to utilise and build upon a wide range of subjects, at postgraduate level, already offered by the University across a range of Schools and Disciplines but in particular within the Faculty of Economics and Business. These rich traditions of intellectual endeavour and outstanding contemporary reputations for excellence in teaching, learning and research, provide a sound basis for the GSG.

GSG offers courses with a practical view of Government and a real world approach with significant emphasis on case study methodology. Consequently, an important component of the content of the GDPA is the use of case studies involving practitioners as well as academics as teachers and sources of theory and practice. Similarly, appropriately assessed and designed work based projects are undertaken by participants as part of the formal academic content of the course. Many of these will offer an immediate practical application in the workplace.

The GDPA and GCPA are supplemented by two value-added management-development products:

  • A joint GSG/NSW Government agency professionally based management and leadership assessment of each individual (two occasions: before and after the course), and
  • A GSG mentoring program of up to two year's duration, which enlists credible, experienced practitioners with administrative and political backgrounds, working under the direction of the GSG.

Course Structure

The Graduate Diploma in Public Administration consists of six units of study (five core units including a work-based project, plus one elective), and the Graduate Certificate in Public Administration four units (four core units excluding the work-based project.)

The five core units of study are:

Semester OneSemester TwoSemester Three
GSOG6001GSOG6003GSOG6005
GSOG6002GSOG6004Elective

Delivery Mode

The GDPA is delivered in an "intensive teaching" mode. This is outlined below, using the Graduate Diploma in Public Administration as an example:

First semester of enrolment
  • Issue of detailed course outline and reading lists to students for the first two core units of study
  • Review of substantive issues within the curriculum and literature by students, who will have the opportunity to provide feedback - through a Web-based discussion board - to teachers of their nominated course.
  • Four weeks of face-to-face teaching of the two units of study, based on two consecutive days per week (Thursday and Friday).
  • Advice to students of assignments to be completed within the face-to-face teaching period (minor assignments) as well as in the subsequent assessment-stuvac period (major assignments).
  • Two-to-three week assessment-stuvac period, with lodgement of assignments at the end.
  • Three weeks of face-to-face teaching (two consecutive days per week) to cover the balance of the content of the two units of study.
  • Concurrent assessment and advice to students of major assignment results.
  • Study vacation and final exams and assessments for the first two core units of study.

The total number of contact hours for each unit of study will be 42 (seven days at six hours per day).

This is higher than units in comparable qualifications.

The third semester of enrolment is the work-based project, plus an elective from a wide range of choices.

Skills Upgrading

  • The GSG Mentoring Program - Mentors are credible, experienced practitioners usually from the ranks of the public service, ex-ministers and the judiciary.
  • The GSG Leadership Development Assessment - The assessment program allows CEOs (and/or their nominees) to work cooperatively with their employee to enhance career opportunities, establish and progress ongoing development opportunities and better match key employees and their skills to priority agency tasks.
  • Developing Networks - Students at the GSG have the opportunity to form relationships and networks with their fellow students from a range of metropolitan and regional agencies and authorities.

Online Application Process

Intending students must complete an online application and attach the following documentation:

  • official transcripts from the registrar of your previous institution (with an English-language translation if in another language)
  • evidence of completion or your previous degree
  • a brief employment history outlining the duties and responsibilities of your current and previous positions
  • a personal statement of motivation for taking the course and what skills and areas of development you wish to pursue.
  • proof of English-language competency if your previous degree was in taught in a language other than English, and
  • proof of Australian or New Zealand citizenship or Australian permanent residency.

An online application is made through Sydney Student.

Students seeking sponsorship from their government employer will also be required to submit written advice from their employer and attach to their online application.