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.
Modes and duration
Tuition fees (2018/19)
- £12,950 (FT) £6,415 (PT)
- £21,160 (FT) £10,740 (PT)
Note on fees: The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Current Students website.
As a minimum, an upper second-class Bachelor's degree from a UK university; a CGPA of 3.3; 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.
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:
About this degree
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).
- Theories and Actors of the Policy Process (30)
- Public Policy Economics and Analysis (PPEA) (15)
- Introduction to Qualitative Methods or Advanced Qualitative Methods (15)
- Introduction to Quantitative Methods or Advanced Quantitative Methods (15)
- Choose one of the following 15 credit modules (the other two remain available as options):
- 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 on the departmental website
- The following are suggestions:
- Health, Policy and Reform (15)
- Non-Profit and Voluntary Sector Policy and Management (15)
- Energy and Climate Policy (15)
- Making Policy Work (15)
- Policy-Making & Regulation in Europe (15)
- The European Union in the World (15)
- Public Ethics (15)
- British Government and Politics (15)
- International Political Economy (15)
- The Political Economy of Development (15)
- Democratic Political Institutions (15)
- Foreign Policy Analysis (15)
- Gendering the Study of Politics: Theory and Practice (15)
- Democracy and Accountability: Holding Power to Account (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.
For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.
Graduates go on to a range of destinations both nationally and internationally including:
- civil servants 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.
Top career destinations for this degree
- Assistant Economist, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
- Economics Officer, Ministry of Finance
- Implementation Manager, NSPCC
- Research Analyst, World Bank Group
- Strategy and Communication Officer, Labour
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.
Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2012–2014 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.
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.
Department: Political Science
Student / staff numbers
› 78 staff
including 2 postdocs
› 489 taught students
› 38 research students
Staff/student numbers information correct as of 1 August 2017.
Research Excellence Framework (REF)
The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.
The following REF score was awarded to the department: Political Science
89% rated 4* (world-leading) or 3* (internationally excellent)
Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.
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.
- All applicants
- 27 July 2018
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.