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 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 (2024/25)
£25,900
£12,950
Overseas tuition fees (2024/25)
£34,400
£17,200
Duration
1 calendar year
2 calendar years
Programme starts
September 2024
Applications accepted
Applicants who require a visa: 16 Oct 2023 – 05 Apr 2024
Applications close at 5pm UK time

Applications open

Applicants who do not require a visa: 16 Oct 2023 – 30 Aug 2024
Applications close at 5pm UK time

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.

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 on 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 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 on 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, international not-for-profit 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

Students studying 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. Our MPA 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. The dissertation is based on a nine-month project structured around a critical digital technologies policy and governance 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.   

Networking

Students pursuing the MPA in Digital Technologies and Policy will have the chance to access several networking opportunities via expert guest lecturers, symposia, national competitions, and domain specific conferences. They will also have the opportunity to develop connections through the applied MPA project, working closely with the partner organisation and its network for their dissertation project.

Teaching and learning

The MPA in Digital Technologies and Policy is highly interdisciplinary and brings together students from a range of backgrounds and career pathways. You will not only learn from academic staff and practitioners, but also through engagement with peers and their diverse experiences and backgrounds. This pedagogical approach intentionally and explicitly integrates theory and applied, experiential learning, focusing on developing the skills, knowledge, and capabilities needed to navigate complex problems in digital technology policy that rarely have a single “optimal” solution. The research-based curriculum exposes students to the latest findings across disciplines (such as public policy, law, economics, international relations, psychology, or information security), contributing to a deep understanding of digital technology policy and the underlying complex systems that make these challenges genuinely “wicked problems”.

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 one and two 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 three the timetable will be lighter as students prepare their dissertations (the MPA group project or MPA individual project), although there will be set times for dissertation supervision and support.

Modules

The programme consists of eight 15 credit modules (three of which are common across the MPA suite of programmes, two are route specific and three 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 one and four in term two. Term three 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 and Wellbeing team.

Online - Open day

Graduate Open Events: STEaPP MPA

Do you want to lead change, and help to change the world for the better? Join us at our MPA Virtual Open Event to learn about our MPA programmes, which will provide you with the skills needed to work at the interface between science, technology, engineering and public policy.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time Part-time
Tuition fees (2024/25) £25,900 £12,950
Tuition fees (2024/25) £34,400 £17,200

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: 2024-2025

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.