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University of Tartu Master in Digital Administration
University of Tartu

Master in Digital Administration

1 Years


Full time

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Sep 2024

EUR 24,500



  • 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.

This involves:

  • 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

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