Digital Technologies and Policy MPA

London, Bloomsbury

The Master's of Public Administration (MPA) in Digital Technologies and Policy at UCL offers an applied, interdisciplinary approach to contemporary challenges arising from emerging digital technologies. The MPA programme’s unique socio-technical approach prepares future decision-makers in the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors to tackle complex digital technology policy issues like cybersecurity, data protection, algorithmic integrity and data quality, and consolidation in digital markets.   

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2023/24)
£24,200
£12,100
Overseas tuition fees (2023/24)
£32,100
£16,050
Duration
1 calendar year
2 calendar years
Programme starts
September 2023
Applications accepted
All applicants: 17 Oct 2022 – 31 Mar 2023

Applications open

Entry requirements

A minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor's degree from a UK university in a relevant discipline or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard. Students are encouraged (but are not required) to have work experience prior to enrolling on this programme.

The English language level for this programme is: Level 4

UCL Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English courses are for international students who are aiming to study for a postgraduate degree at UCL. The courses will develop your academic English and academic skills required to succeed at postgraduate level. International Preparation Courses

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

Equivalent qualifications

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. Please note that the equivalency will correspond to the broad UK degree classification stated on this page (e.g. upper second-class). Where a specific overall percentage is required in the UK qualification, the international equivalency will be higher than that stated below. Please contact Graduate Admissions should you require further advice.

About this degree

Leaders and decision-makers working at the interface of digital technologies and policy require a rigorous, multi-disciplinary understanding of how emerging digital technologies impact the global economy, national security, organisational resilience, individual freedoms and fundamental rights, employment, and critical sectors such as healthcare. 

As a student in the MPA in Digital Technologies and Policy, you will develop a unique mix of technical and policy knowledge necessary to effectively assess these critical challenges. With guidance from academics and leading practitioners, you will gain a deep understanding of the political economy of Internet operations and platforms, from the physical infrastructure to the application layer, and how these dynamics continue to shape critical issues in digital technology policy such as encryption or the spread of misinformation online. Building on these foundations, you will explore the effectiveness of current regulatory frameworks and initiatives designed to address the risks and uncertainties arising from the increasingly widespread use of digital technologies such as Artificial Intelligence or the Internet of Things. Throughout the programme, you will evaluate diverse viewpoints, using the latest research from across disciplines such as public policy, law, economics, psychology, and information security. You will also engage with leaders in digital technology and policy through guest lectures, symposia, and networking events. 

Students in the MPA in Digital Technologies and Policy will have the opportunity to work with key organisational partners for their dissertation, as part of a group or individual project. Previous project partners include government departments, standards-making organisations, digital rights advocacy groups, and industry. Over the course of the MPA, students also gain a deep understanding of conceptual frameworks and practical tools to assess, evaluate, and implement policies, through a series of core modules in public policy, evidence for decision-making, and analytical methods. 

Who this course is for

The programme is suitable for graduates and professionals currently working in, or who aspire to work in, decision-making or policy-making roles for a wide range of organisations including governments, regulators, technology companies, think tanks, consultancies, civil society groups, and international organisations. Although no technical background is required, students will be expected to engage with ideas from science, engineering and technology.

What this course will give you

As a distinctly socio-technical programme, students in the MPA in Digital Technologies and Policy will learn to evaluate the technical, social, and rule-making processes (policy, regulation, norms) that shape how we engage with, govern, and manage digital technologies. This approach bridges the gaps between social and technical dynamics by evaluating how these elements interact and affect overall behaviours and outcomes of digital technology policy. Core modules in the MPA provide insights into how to gather evidence and evaluate knowledge to support decision-making, and how to deploy a variety of analytical methods to identify and develop interventions that keep pace with user demand and emerging threats in complex socio-technical systems. 

The programme is designed to strengthen real-world analysis and develop professional skills for those who wish to pursue a career in the growing field of digital technologies and policy. Most in-class activities and assignments are practical and applied to contemporary issues and the dissertation is based on a nine-month project structured around a critical policy challenge put forward by an established organisational partner in the field.  

Complementing the academic programme, students have the opportunity to establish a valuable network of contacts and collaborators from across UCL STEaPP’s broad range of international partners, professionals, practitioners, alumni, and academics. 

The foundation of your career

Alumni from this programme have found and pursued successful careers in the growing digital technologies and policy market. Some have joined graduate schemes in government or in top-tier technology companies. Others have gone on to work in international organisations, public agencies, NGOs, standards-making bodies, or technology trade associations. Some alumni have also established their own successful businesses.

Employability

The programme is designed to enhance the prospects of graduates and early career professionals to step into key decision-making and leadership roles across a variety of organisations in the field of digital technologies and policy. The MPA is a professional degree that will allow you to build not only competencies and knowledge but also a network of like-minded colleagues that will be of value throughout your career.  

The programme provides a balanced mix of theory and practice, focusing on skills development to enhance your analytical, research, and communication abilities through the development of policy memos, systematic literature reviews, verbal briefings, and an applied dissertation project working closely with a real-world organisational partner.  

At the end of the programme, you will have developed considerable policy and technical knowledge to be able to engage with rigour in the formulation or implementation of digital technology policy, whether in the public, private, or not-for-profit sector. The programme is flexible enough to help students build this strong foundation while allowing them to explore and develop areas of their own interest in the digital technologies and policy space.   

Teaching and learning

Students are primarily assessed through a series of problem-oriented papers, projects, and presentations, complemented by short written assignments such as blogs, scenarios, and simulations. Your final dissertation will include a longer written report, often for a professional partner organisation.  

In Terms 1 and 2 students have on average 12 -13 contact hours a week with staff. Modules (four are studied each term) have either two hours of lectures and one hour of tutorials or three hours of lectures. In addition, there will be independent study and group work. In Term 3 the timetable will be lighter although there will be set times for MPA Group Project and MPA Individual Project supervision and support.

Modules

The programme consists of eight 15 credit modules (four of which are common across the MPA suite of programmes, two are route specific and two are elective choices from other STEaPP modules). Students may choose either an MPA Group Project or the MPA Individual Project as their final 60 credit module.

You will study four modules in Term 1 and four in Term 2. Term 3 and Summer are designated for the MPA Group Project and the MPA Individual Project.

If you successfully complete the required credits you will be awarded a Masters of Public Administration (MPA) Digital Technologies and Policy in your programme discipline.

The part-time version of the MPA follows the same structure as the full-time but with credits of study in each year.

Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability are subject to change. Modules that are in use for the current academic year are linked for further information. Where no link is present, further information is not yet available.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded an MPA in Digital Technologies and Policy.

Accessibility

Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble accessable.co.uk. Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support & Wellbeing team.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time Part-time
Tuition fees (2023/24) £24,200 £12,100
Tuition fees (2023/24) £32,100 £16,050

The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Where the programme is offered on a flexible/modular basis, fees are charged pro-rata to the appropriate full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees.

Additional costs

There are no additional costs associated with the programme.

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.

Funding your studies

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

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.

There is an application processing fee for this programme of £90 for online applications and £115 for paper applications. Further information can be found at Application fees.

When assessing your application, the MPA Admissions Panel are particularly looking to understand:

  • why you want to study Digital Technologies and Policy at graduate level
  • what particularly attracts you to the programme at UCL
  • how your academic and professional background and interests meet the demands of this challenging programme
  • where you would like to go professionally with your degree and how the MPA fits with your career goals

Please note that you may submit applications for a maximum of two graduate programmes (or one application for the Law LLM) in any application cycle.

Choose your programme

Please read the Application Guidance before proceeding with your application.

Year of entry: 2023-2024

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.