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.
Covid-19 programme updates
Due to COVID-19, there may have been updates to this programme for the 2020 academic year. Where there has been an update, these are indicated with a red alert and a link which will provide further information.
Modes and duration
Tuition fees (2020/21)
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 Students website.
Fee deposit: 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.
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.
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).
Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded a MSc in Public Policy.
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.
- Theories and Actors of the Policy Process (30)
- Public Policy Economics and Analysis (PPEA) (15)
- Qualitative Methods: Interviews, Observations and Mixed Methods (15)
- or Qualitative Methods: Texts and Images (15)
- or Qualitative Methods: Case Studies and Comparative Analysis (15)
- Introduction to Quantitative Methods or Advanced Quantitative Methods (15)
Choose one of the following 15 credit modules (the other modules remain available as options). Please note that the precise list may vary year by year:
- Law and Regulation (15)
- Public Management: Theories and Innovations (15)
- Agenda Setting and Public Policy (15)
- Making Policy Work (15)
- Impact Evaluations (15)
Further modules can be chosen up to a value of 30 credits in total from a list available on our website. The full list of modules offered by the Department is subject to change year-to-year.
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.
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.
Department: Political Science
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.
There is an application processing fee for this programme of £80 for online applications and £105 for paper applications. Further information can be found at: www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/taught/application.
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
- 11 August 2020
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.
When it is necessary to calculate a final average marks, the department will calculate all years of undergraduate study.
UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.