Public Policy MSc

London, Bloomsbury

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.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2023/24)
£18,000
£9,000
Overseas tuition fees (2023/24)
£29,000
£14,500
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

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

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: Level 5

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


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, sociology, psychology, public management and public health. You will learn how to conduct research, acquiring a number of policy analysis skills, in addition to substantive knowledge about the policymaking process. You will have a chance to demonstrate your combination of skills in the independently researched and written dissertation or policy proposal project.

Who this course is for

The programme is suitable for students 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.

What this course will give you

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.

The foundation of your career

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.

Employability

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 or policy project, enables students to think critically about policy problems and devise innovative solutions to such problems. Finally, public workshops and seminars, as well as careers events enable students to network with alumni and meet policy practitioners.

Teaching and learning

You will be assessed in a number of different ways. In some modules, there are unseen examinations; across modules, there are a number of different types of writing assignments, including essays, research design papers, policy memoranda assignments. Students will complete either a dissertation or policy proposal project. You will also be assessed by written presentations, given verbally in class.

150 hours is allocated to each 15 credit module. This includes 20 contact hours and 130 study hours.

Modules


Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits comprising core modules covering key substantive and methodological concepts and skills (90 credits) as well as a dissertation or policy proposal project (60 credits).

1. You are required to take the following five compulsory modules: 

  • PUBL0040: Theories and Actors of the Policy Process (30)
  •  PUBL0011: Public Policy Economics and Analysis (15)*
  • Dissertation or Policy Proposal Project (60)

one qualitative methods module from:

  • PUBL0010: Qualitative Methods: Interviews, Observations and Mixed Methods (15) OR 
  • PUBL0085: Qualitative Methods: Texts and Images (15) OR 
  • PUBL0086: Qualitative Methods: Case Studies and Comparative Analysis (15)

one quantitative methods module from:

  • PUBL0055: Introduction to Quantitative Methods (15) OR 
  • PUBL0050: Causal Inference (15)

* students with pre-requisite backgrounds including majors in economics or pure economics degrees may with the permission of the module tutors select a different module of their choice
 
2.  Choose one of the following 15 credit modules (if you wish, you may select additional modules from this list as part of your elective modules - see step 3 below). Please note that the list of modules may vary year on year:

  • PUBL0031: Law and Regulation (15)
  • PUBL0008: Public Management: Theories and Innovations (15)
  • PUBL0027: Agenda Setting and Public Policy (15)
  • PUBL0017: Making Policy Work (15)
  • PUBL0064: Impact Evaluation Methods (15)
  • PUBL0028: Policy Implementation (15)

3.  Choose optional modules up to a value of 30 credits in total.

The programme structure for part-time students follows the same structure as our full-time students. We do encourage our part-time students to distribute their study evenly between the two years of study. The majority of part-time students opt for one of the following patterns:

  • 75 credits in year one and 105 credits in year two;

Or

  • 90 credits in year one and 90 credits in year two.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits comprising core modules covering key substantive and methodological concepts and skills (90 credits) as well as a dissertation or policy proposal project (60 credits).

1. You are required to take the following five compulsory modules: 

  • PUBL0040: Theories and Actors of the Policy Process (30)
  •  PUBL0011: Public Policy Economics and Analysis (15)*
  • Dissertation or Policy Proposal Project (60)

one qualitative methods module from:

  • PUBL0010: Qualitative Methods: Interviews, Observations and Mixed Methods (15) OR 
  • PUBL0085: Qualitative Methods: Texts and Images (15) OR 
  • PUBL0086: Qualitative Methods: Case Studies and Comparative Analysis (15)

one quantitative methods module from:

  • PUBL0055: Introduction to Quantitative Methods (15) OR 
  • PUBL0050: Causal Inference (15)

* students with pre-requisite backgrounds including majors in economics or pure economics degrees may with the permission of the module tutors select a different module of their choice
 
2.  Choose one of the following 15 credit modules (if you wish, you may select additional modules from this list as part of your elective modules - see step 3 below). Please note that the list of modules may vary year on year:

  • PUBL0031: Law and Regulation (15)
  • PUBL0008: Public Management: Theories and Innovations (15)
  • PUBL0027: Agenda Setting and Public Policy (15)
  • PUBL0017: Making Policy Work (15)
  • PUBL0064: Impact Evaluation Methods (15)
  • PUBL0028: Policy Implementation (15)

3.  Choose optional modules up to a value of 30 credits in total.

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 is 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 MSc in Public Policy.

Accessibility

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Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time Part-time
Tuition fees (2023/24) £18,000 £9,000
Tuition fees (2023/24) £29,000 £14,500

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

All full-time students are required to pay a fee deposit of £1,000 for this programme. All part-time students are required to pay a fee deposit of £500.

There are no additional costs for this 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 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.

When it is necessary to calculate a final average mark, the department will calculate all years of undergraduate study.

As we typically receive a large number of applications for this programme it is necessary to consider applications in two discrete rounds. After the department has looked at your application, we will contact you by email to tell you which round you are in, if applicable. The email will detail when you can expect to receive a decision or update from us.

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.