Public Policy MSc

This MSc aims to educate a new generation of public policymakers and policy analysts, familiarising them with the necessary concepts, theories, methods and principles involved in the formulation and analysis of public policy. The programme draws on many disciplines, including political science, economics, law, public management and public health.

Key Information

Modes and duration

  • Full-time: 1 year
  • Part-time: 2 years

Programme start date

September 2016

Tuition Fees (2016/17)

£11,190 (FT) £5,195 (PT)
£18,670 (FT) £9,285 (PT)

Application dates

All applicants
Open: 5 October 2015
Close: 29 July 2016

Entry Requirements

As a minimum, a strong upper second-class (65%) Bachelor's degree from a UK university; a CGPA of 3.45; or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard. Relevant practical or work experience in a related field may also be taken into account.

English Language Requirements

If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.

The English language level for this programme is: Advanced

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

International students

Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.

International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below.

Select your country:

Degree Information

Students develop a working knowledge of many aspects of political science theory relevant to understanding how public policies are formulated, implemented and evaluated. They gain a basic understanding of economic approaches to public policy analysis and of the concepts of economic efficiency and equity as societal objectives. Students also learn extensively about research methods which gives them the tools necessary to understand political processes and to analyse important policy issues.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of four core modules (75 credits), three optional modules (45 credits) and a research dissertation (60 credits).

Core Modules

  • Theories and Actors of the Policy Process (30)
  • Public Policy Economics and Analysis (15)
  • Introduction to Qualitative Methods or Advanced Qualitative Methods (15)
  • Introduction to Quantitative Methods or Advanced Quantitative Methods (15)


  • Choose one of the following:
  • Law and Regulation (15)
  • Public Management: Theories and Innovations (15)

  • Agenda Setting and Public Policy (15)
  • Choose further modules up to a value of 30 credits in total from a list available at:
  • The following are suggestions:
  • Health, Policy and Reform (15)
  • Non-Profit and Voluntary Sector Policy and Management (15)
  • Policy-Making and Regulation in Europe (15)
  • The European Union in the World (15)
  • Making Policy Work (15)
  • Democracy and Accountability: Holding Power to Account (15)
  • British Government and Politics (15)
  • International Political Economy (15)
  • The Political Economy of Development (15)
  • Democratic Political Institutions (15)


All MSc students undertake an individual research project, which culminates in a dissertation of 10,000 words.

Teaching and Learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars and case studies, and is taught by scholars who have carried out theoretical and empirical research in the field. Students will be assessed by a variety of methods: unseen examinations, long essays, course work and the dissertation.

Further information on modules and degree structure available on the department web site Public Policy MSc


Scholarships relevant to this department are displayed below. For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.

Pentland Scholarship

UK, EU, Overseas students

More scholarships are listed on the Scholarships and Funding website


Graduates go on to a range of destinations both nationally and internationally including:

  • Civil servants in departments in central or local government in the UK and overseas, think tanks, NGOs and consultancies
  • Policy officers and researchers for UK members of parliament and members of the European Parliament
  • The European Commission
  • Other public and private sector organisations in a range of sectors, for example, Universities UK, Transport for London, The Legal Services Commission, Accenture, Japan International Cooperation Agency, Overseas Development Institute, United Nations Development Programme, Deloitte and Touche, Serco, KPMG, Confederation of British Industry, Civil Service Faststream, the Institute of Government, the Legatum Institute
  • Further research study at UCL or elsewhere


The training that students receive in policy analysis, research methods, political science, economics and other disciplines equips them to work in a range of different organisations engaged in policy-making and policy analysis. Additionally, the emphasis on independent research, through the dissertation, enables students to think critically about policy problems and devise innovative solutions to such problems.

Why study this degree at UCL?

UCL Political Science is recognised as a centre of excellence in the field and offers a uniquely stimulating environment for the study of public policy.

The interdisciplinary aspect of this programme provides participants with the opportunity to address some of the key issues of contemporary governance and public sector reform.

UCL is uniquely well placed to draw together theory and practice in the field of public policy in health, where perhaps the most far-reaching of all public sector reforms has taken place.

Student / staff ratios › 32 staff › 525 taught students › 40 research students

Department: Political Science

Degree reviews

Alumni review

"I was able to develop my research interests into a more focussed package, which then helped me enormously when drafting my PhD research proposals."

John-Paul Salter

Public Policy MSc (2011)
PhD Candidate, UCL School of Public Policy

Application and next steps


Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.

Who can apply?

The programme is suitable for graduates who wish to develop the skills necessary for a career in public policy, or for further academic research in the field. Applicants should ideally have a background in economics, European issues, international relations, law, philosophy, politics, political science or sociology.

Application deadlines

All applicants
29 July 2016

For more information see our Applications page.

Apply now

What are we looking for?

When we assess your application we would like to learn:
  • why you want to study Public Policy at graduate level
  • why you want to study Public Policy at UCL
  • what particularly attracts you to this programme
  • how your personal, academic and professional background meets the demands of a challenging and truly international academic environment
  • where you would like to go professionally with your degree
Together with essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to illustrate whether your reasons for applying to this programme match what the programme will deliver.


  • Register interest in your chosen subjects
  • Receive notice of graduate open days, events and more
Register now

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