Master in Digital Administration
University of Tartu
15 Mar 2024
Earliest start date
- The programme is based on Estonia's experience in building Europe's number one digital public services governance system and its related technology business ecosystem.
- The programme offers the possibility to complete a full executive degree in a 90% online format.
- The University of Tartu is ranked in the top 200 universities in the world in politics (Rankings and Surveys).
- Estonia, known as e-Estonia, is one of the world's most advanced digital societies. It has the most startups and the most unicorns per capita in Europe. As of 2022, Estonia has been the birthplace of 10 unicorns.
- Toomas Hendrik Ilves, the former president of Estonia and a promoter of Estonia's digital development leap, is the programme's main patron and guest professor.
The innovative one-year master's programme in Digital Administration (MDA) aims to train top public servants, professionals and IT specialists in leading a comprehensive digitalisation of the public sector based on Estonia's experience in building a digital state and related technology business ecosystem.
- acquiring knowledge on the foundations of digital governance, guiding principles behind it and necessary technological conditions;
- being able to recognise specific practical use cases that a highly digitalised public sector provides effective and efficient governance and increases the quality of life through developing various digital services that cross domain boundaries, capture unique data and use it in novel ways.
This programme will answer questions like:
- How to develop a digital government that people use and trust?
- How to build and govern new human-centric digital services?
- How to optimise work culture with digital technology?
- How to educate society to harness the full potential of a digital nation?
The MDA differs from other similar programmes in four important ways:
- It is an online one-year master's programme, which includes two physical sessions with top Estonian experts (one week at the beginning and a second week at the end of the programme).
- It includes a specialisation module that focuses on four separate domains in depth.
- It has general courses that are designed around actual use cases.
- Its graduates are trained not only as general managers of e-governance but practitioners who recognise e-governance use cases across disciplines.
MDA: Incorporating Entrepreneurial Practice
The MDA curriculum is unique in that it combines four elements: (1) global reach and executive focus; (2) practical orientation; (3) multidisciplinarity with its "future skills" toolbox aimed at digital leaders; (4) entrepreneurial focus; and (5) online format of study.
- The programme's focus and scope are global, and it is one of only a few specifically designed for the target group of senior public servants, professionals, and IT specialists. MDA students will benefit from networking opportunities with top experts in the field of e-governance throughout the program and after it is completed.
- Compared to other programmes, the curriculum takes a more practical and hands-on approach, as it applies the principles and specific examples and applications of Estonia's e-governance ecosystem, which has already been launched and is based on real-time solutions for machine learning and artificial intelligence.
- The programme not only capitalises on the strength of multidisciplinarity by bridging IT and non-IT related disciplines in its curriculum, but it also brings together two cohorts of students who are typically not included in the same study programmes when it comes to the subject of e-governance and digitalisation: experts with extensive governance and public administration experience and civil servants with extensive governance and public administration experience.
- No other curriculum is so strongly related to entrepreneurship as the role of founding the Estonian digital state. The preconditions for its successful development have been closely linked to the private sector. Lecturers are leaders and specialists of Estonian unicorns who participate in the curriculum and actively facilitate and incentivise cross-sector interaction.
- The programme is one of the few that allows students to complete a full executive degree online. Students will have access to high-quality video lectures, practice labs, guided projects, and assignments, as well as prompt technical support and personalised guidance to ensure a positive learning experience.
Estonia: the world's number-one digital leader
Based on Estonia's experience in developing Europe's number one digital public services governance system, as well as its related technology business ecosystem, the goal of this world-class and innovative one-year master programme is to train senior public servants, professionals, and IT specialists to be leaders in the comprehensive digitalisation of the public sector.
According to the DESI digital public services scoreboards for 2022, Estonia is the world leader in digitalising public services. Estonia is also a great place to develop a start-up and be an entrepreneur, and it leads Europe in start-ups per capita. Ten unicorns were founded or are based in Estonia, a small country with a little over one million population. Estonia is well-known for e-residency and e-voting and is also a leader in digital governance. Taking everything into account, Estonia is the best and most digitally developed country to learn about the digitalisation of the public sector and its services.
Taking into account Estonia's success and extensive experience as a leading "digitiser" in Europe and the world, as well as the growing interest of foreign governments in adapting Estonia's digital solutions, the Digital Administration master's programme addresses the need for modernising the public sector and equipping civil servants and IT professionals worldwide with the necessary skill set to integrate and implement digitalisation strategies in their respective home countries.
You should have at least five years of professional experience as an industry specialist or senior manager in the field of digitalisation.
Scholarships and Funding
There are no tuition waivers available.
The Digital Administration master's programme comprises three main modules:
- Foundation of a digital nation (digital state philosophy, digital leadership and entrepreneurship skills);
- Toolbox for digitalisation (digital process governance, cyber security, internet voting);
- Domain knowledge in digitalisation (digital future of healthcare and education, digital labour market and natural environment protection).
The programme ends with a capstone project, and there is no requirement for a master's thesis. The goal of the capstone project is to apply the knowledge acquired during the study to the sample solution of a selected problem, together with the necessary team creation and management.
The study programme consists of ten specially designed courses. Every course is four weeks long, with the fifth week for evaluation. Live meetings will take place once a week, on Thursdays, for six hours. Each session will be divided into two courses and the capstone project preparation.
The MDA programme courses are the following:
- Looking forward: digital future of government (28 August – 24 September)
- Digitisation of human capital (28 August – 24 September)
- Integration of digital services with life-events (2 October – 29 October)
- Digitalising government business processes (6 November – 3 December)
- Data privacy, security, and ethics (13 November – 10 December)
- Digitalising democracy (2 January – 28 January)
- Healthcare's digital future and personalised medicine (5 February – 3 March)
- Digital education beyond the classroom (11 March – 7 April)
- Digital environments to protect the natural environment (15 April – 12 May)
- Digital labour market and service management (20 May – 16 June)
Students will have access to high-quality video lectures, practice labs, guided projects and assignments, and prompt technical support and personalised guidance to ensure a smooth learning experience.
The master's programme in Digital Administration is among very few that offers the possibility to complete a full executive degree in a 90% online format. The programme begins with a week-long meeting in Estonia at the end of August but is otherwise entirely online. Students are invited to return to Estonia at the end of the programme to present their capstone projects to an international evaluation committee and network with potential partners.
The University of Tartu belongs to the top 1% of the world's universities.
Program Tuition Fee
The master's programme in Digital Administration provides a unique opportunity to learn from the top experts and to draw inspiration from the digitalisation experience of the world's leading digital nation!
It goes without saying that not all aspects of Estonia's digital solutions can be directly implemented, as each country has certain peculiarities that must be considered. Our MDA programme, however, addresses that issue. Upon graduating from the master's programme in Digital Administration, students will acquire a comprehensive digitalisation toolbox, which can be customised according to their countries' specifics, needs, and requirements and used to implement the strategies respectively. The owner of such a priceless toolset has the potential to be a great change-maker in this era of rapid digitalisation.
The increasing need to modernise the public sector and to equip civil servants with up-to-date skills should not be feared by those with a lack of knowledge in the field of IT – our master's degree programme is designed for both IT and non-IT professionals as the tangible digital transformation is only possible through collaboration between these two groups.
In today's world, the ability to adapt and acclimate to new changes and challenges is critical; it is exactly from these changes and challenges that development and evolution emerge. However, it is a personal decision for all of us whether to fear or seize all possible opportunities to overcome them while also growing and thriving.
Upon graduating from the MDA programme, students will also have a network of expert colleagues to help them pursue a career in the field. Another benefit of the master's programme is the opportunity to meet like-minded people who are not afraid to admit to themselves that they do not know everything and are eager to learn and grow, which are rare and most definitely valuable traits.