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MSc International Public Policy

The study of International Relations with analysis of public policy formulation

MSc International Public Policy

This programme at a glance

Programme title
MSc in International Public Policy
Provides students with a detailed and systematic understanding of how political institutions, processes and public policies operate in world affairs.
12 months (full-time) or 24 months (part-time)

Please see fees tab.

Application deadline

28 July 2017

Programme Director
Dr M. Rodwan Abouharb

Programme introduction

The MSc in International Public Policy at UCL provides students with a detailed and systematic understanding of how political institutions, processes and public policies operate in world affairs. The programme brings together the academic study of International Relations with analysis of public policy formulation and governance beyond the nation-state. The programme equips students with the theoretical tools and empirical evidence necessary for an in-depth understanding of policy-making within the general theories of International Relations, political science, public policy and comparative politics. Most students use the MSc as the foundation for, or a year out from, a career in international politics or policy-making.

The MSc in International Public Policy was the first masters of its type in the UK and continues to grow based on its success. The MSc remains one of the very few programmes of its type. The programme is not an MPA – the emphasis is on intellectually rigorous and academic analysis of global politics and policy. It introduces students to skills essential for the analytical study of world politics and for the development of a normative assessment of the main issues currently facing international policy-makers.

Students from previous years now work in a range of different international and non-governmental organisations, the foreign ministries of national governments, charities, as well as the private and corporate sector. For example, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, UNDP, UNAIDS, UNIFEM, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation Development, The Economist Intelligence Unit, the Clinton Foundation, the Asian Development Bank, the European Commission, Amnesty International, and some of the City of London’s top investment banks. In addition, a number of students also use the MSc as a basis to study for a PhD at UCL or elsewhere – the MSc includes an ESRC-recognised research training component which provides an excellent base from which to begin further research. See the destinations tab to read descriptions from former IPP students .

In addition to the strong core training in international relations and research skills, the programme offers a wide-range of elective courses which students can choose from; these cover international political economy and development, international security and terrorism, foreign policy, international law, comparative politics, as well as human rights, political and normative theory.

Over the year, students on the programme get to know each other and their lecturers well. We are committed to high-quality and innovative teaching. For example, the programme contains a policy simulation and a series of talks with leading practitioners and policy-makers. Plus, London features an enormous range of seminars, conferences, and other events on issues related to the programme. These provide a means for students to expand their knowledge and to extend their professional networks.

In short, the programme offers a chance to study with leading experts in their fields, at a university which is ranked second in Europe and fourth in the world (THES World University Rankings 2009) , in one of the world’s great cities, London.

The programme is made up of the following elements, to total 180 credits:

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

2.   Choose at least one of the following modules (the others remain options to choose in step 3):

3.   Choose any two further modules worth 30 credits in total (the following is a list of all courses available within the department):

at the School of Public Policy

Students from the MSc public policy programmes go on to a range of destinations both nationally and internationally including:

  • Civil servants in departments in central or local government in the UK and overseas;
  • Policy officers and researchers for UK members of parliament and Members of the European Parliament;
  • The European Commission (for example through internships)
  • 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.
  • Further research study at UCL or other universities in the UK or overseas.

The School runs a series of careers events for students throughout their period of study and the UCL Careers Service is available to students to provide assistance

Past students

Adam Landsman
Adam Landsman

MSc International Public Policy (2005-06)
Senior Consultant, Booz Allen Hamilton, Washington, DC

For the past three years I’ve had the opportunity to advise US Federal Government clients including the Department of Defense, Environmental Protection Agency, and the General Services Administration.  I’ve supported projects and programs focused on issues ranging from environmental policy, to sustainability, to portfolio management.  After completing my MSc and prior to joining Booz Allen, I was a research intern at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, supporting a program aimed at identifying and analyzing the most important trends shaping the world out to the year 2025.

My coursework and dissertation at UCL gave me the theoretical framework needed to understand the events driving our world at a macro-level, and the practical understanding of research methods and policy analysis needed to analyze and manage those events.  Aside from the excellent courses and professors, I also had the privilege to study along side classmates from all over the world and to benefit from their knowledge and perspectives.

Jorge Alday
Jorge Alday

MSc International Public Policy (2005-06)
Manager, Public Relations and Technical Advisor, Communications

Jorge Alday oversees public relations and is a technical advisor at World Lung Foundation, a global organization that provides financial and technical assistance to governments and NGOs seeking to reduce the impact of lung disease.

In his communications role, he manages the foundation’s press relations and helps develop its advocacy strategy for reducing lung disease in low and middle-income countries. In his technical role, he advises health ministries and NGOs on mass media campaigns and public relations activities that support policies to reduce tobacco use.  He manages such programs in Mexico, Brazil and the Philippines and travels extensively to provide technical assistance and monitor grants.  

His supervisor frequently cites the UCL MSc. as one of the reasons he was considered for the position.  Understanding policy development, international political economy and development issues have all been useful in advocacy, helping governments frame policy messages and helping persuade governments to invest more in public health communications. He is also brushing up on his research methods as he prepares to publish research showing the impact of mass media campaigns to support tobacco control policy efforts, such as smoke-free legislation.

You can follow the foundation’s activities on Facebook and on Twitter.

Chiara Vallini
Chiara Vallini

MSc International Public Policy (2005-06)
Project Manager, Institution Building Unit, Directorate General Enlargement, European Commission

My role is to program and implement technical assistance aimed at preparing applicant countries for EU membership. The overall purpose of the assistance is to support the candidate countries in implementing the necessary public sector reforms to meet European Union standards and so-called Copenhagen “political criteria”. I am in charge of institution building projects in the fields of reform of the judiciary, respect of fundamental rights and police training in the area of fight against organized crime.

The MSc program resulted to be a good training for my current work, with particular reference to the ability to quickly read a massive amount of documents, making short presentations at seminars and engaging in group discussions, writing concise pieces of written work at short notice.

The most enjoyable memories of the time spent at UCL are the Friday night drinks with teachers and fellow students, the £3 pizza for lunch with Julian, the World Cup matches at ULU’s (notably the final) and the stunning red roses in Queen Mary’s Gardens on the way back home from the library in summertime. A piece of advice for prospects students? Learn from failure.

Nadia Montoto
Nadia Montoto

MSc International Public Policy (2007-08)
Research Analyst

I finished my masters in International Public Policy with specialisation in International Political Economy in September 2008. Now I work as a research analyst at an environmental research company that maintains the largest database of disclosed environmental information in the world. My work involves analysing the environmental impact of companies and government agencies in the UK and worldwide. I have assessed the environmental impact of some of the biggest companies in the world, worked on projects with the UK Environment Agency, and now I am analysing the footprint of the 32 London Boroughs and the city of London. 

I really enjoy my job - and I use everyday the knowledge that I learned in my classes at the School of Public Policy - from political economy, to development and research methods! 

Job hunting was quite a scary prospect after studying. I really appreciated the support from UCL careers service to tighten up my CV, and the chats organised by the School of Public Policy which provided me with ideas on where to start looking.

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Mette Østergaard

MSc International Public Policy (2005-06)
Head of section, National board of Health, Denmark

Since fall 2007 I have worked at the National Board of Health (NBH) under the Danish Ministry of Health and Prevention. My position involves strengthening the cancer care services in Denmark. During the influenza pandemic (swine flu) I coordinated with international organisations and authorities abroad in order to collect knowledge and experiences from other countries so that the executive board could make informed choices of decision making. Furthermore I work at the NBH’s international secretariat. The work involves prioritising between international efforts of the NBH as well as representing Denmark to, e.g. the World Health Organisation. We collaborate with offices in the Brussels (EU), Copenhagen (WHO-EURO) and the Nordic Council in order to strengthen the networking between the Danish authorities and international organisations.

My MSc from London (as a supplement to my Danish degrees in development studies and sociology) helped me attain my job at the NBH and to pursue a political position as a civil servant in Denmark’s central administration. My international work with the NBH is a position I helped shape while working at the NBH, as the executive board decided to strengthen the international work of the NBH. My involvement could not have come into place if I did not have my degree in IPP.

I would highly recommend anyone interested in international policy making and who appreciates how your country can benefit from using international experience, to pursue a degree in International Public Policy. The combination of public policy and international relations has been very beneficial to me in the aspiration of my work. An MSc in IPP will not only give you insight into the theoretical world of IPP which will strengthen the solution of your future work tasks but you will also get a global network of friends and colleagues for the rest of your life.

Niheer Dasandi
Niheer Dasandi

MSc International Public Policy (2005-06)
Current position/job: United Nations Development Programme consultant/PhD student.

I am currently doing a PhD at the School of Public Policy analysing how political and economic inequalities interact to perpetuate poverty, specifically focusing on unequal global relations. In addition to the PhD, I also work as an international development consultant for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). After completing the Masters programme at SPP, I did an internship with UNDP in Bosnia and Herzegovina in their human security department, working on the landmine clearance project. Following the internship, I was hired as a consultant by UNDP on various poverty monitoring and poverty reduction projects, which I have done for the past three years. In September 2008, I decided to start the PhD, and so I’m combining UNDP work with working with David Hudson and Alex Braithwaite (my supervisors) on the PhD. I also work as a teaching assistant on the Masters programme.

The Masters at SPP was hugely influential in me having the opportunity to work with the UNDP and in my decision to do the PhD. Prior to starting the Masters, I had done a degree in Mathematics with Economics, and was not really sure of what exactly I wanted to do, but doing the Masters at UCL really provided me with an insight into the world of international development. Furthermore, I got the internship with UNDP on the basis of my Master’s dissertation being on the landmine clearance project in Bosnia, which I chose to do after a conversation with a Bosnian friend (Alida Vracic) who was doing the Masters with me at SPP. As it happens, I now also do some work with a Bosnian think tank set up by Alida! I would say that learning about a subject that I’m really passionate about and becoming friends with lots of people that shared similar interests were the highlights of the Masters for me.

Andrew Briscoe
Andrew Briscoe

MSc International Public Policy (2007-07)
Analyst in Equity Capital Markets, Deutsche Bank

My job entails both originating new business and execution transactions in the equity capital markets sphere. This is involves any major equity issue, either by a selling shareholder or a company (issuer). Either way, it involves the bank taking on risk. During the financial crisis, this mainly entailed rights issues and overnight risk trades which were executed by companies in order to repair balance sheets/recapitalise. Now, as markets are improving, this is mainly in the form of new listings on the various stock exchanges in Europe (IPOs), whilst listed entities are tapping the equity markets to raise capital for acquisitions, and shareholders with sizeable stakes are selling stakes in order to profit take. This involves a lot of travel, sometimes as often as a couple times a week and as far as Hong Kong, Johannesburg and New York.

My day to day job involves analysis of the equity markets; determining if/how much/when and the terms at which a company should raise capital (via the issue of shares - primary capital) or existing shareholders should sell stakes (secondary capital). Or, in the case of execution of a transaction, my job involves speaking to investors, gathering market feedback, obtaining orders from hedge funds and long only accounts, building books of demand and managing allocation upon completion of a transaction.

IPP provided me with insight in the international political economy and international relations, thus providing a very useful macro view of how the world works. Being a top 10 international university, IPP also provided me with the credibility and "cv" to match/better other applicants for the position. My time at UCL really was the most informative year of my life, whilst being very enjoyable at the same time. The incredible mix of minds, political views, cultures and nationalities was something i never had and probably never will experience again.

Victoria Wieninger
Victoria Wieninger

MSc International Public Policy (2006-07)
Research Fellow and Consultant for Public Relations at the Bundeswehr Institute of Social Sciences

I am a research fellow in the Bundeswehr Institute of Social Sciences, which carries out empirical military-related social research for the German Ministry of Defence. As part of my work I assign nationwide opinion polls to research facilities in order to gather findings on topics such as the political security and defence attitudes of the German population or the processes of vocational choice and young Germans awareness of the Bundeswehr as a potential employer.

My work includes the design of new studies, the development of questionnaires, the evaluation of survey results as well as the publication of research reports. Since the beginning of my job, I had the opportunity to present my findings and participate in international conferences and workshops, such as the Ergomas Conference in Stockholm, the IUSAFS Conference in Chicago and the European Defence Agency in Brussels.

I really enjoy what I do, because I have the opportunity to engage in both press relations as well as social research. The Masters in International Public Policy helped me attain my current position, not only due to my international educational background but especially due to my know-how in qualitative and quantitative research methods. The course provided me with a solid grounding in research methods and political science theory and furthered my understanding of public policy and the international political economy. A piece of advice for prospective students: benefit from the knowledge and perspectives of your international fellow students – what better way to get an insight and understanding of international public policy.

Ebele Ndukwe
Ebele Ndukwe

MSc International Public Policy 2007-2008
Managing Consultant at CAPPS Consult

I am currently a Managing Consultant at CAPPS Consult (Centre for African Policy and Peace Strategy). CAPPS is an international development, and public policy consultancy firm providing technical expertise and advisory services to governments, international, private and civil society organisations across Africa.

Shortly after graduating from UCL, I had worked as a Senior Technical Officer in two UK-DFID programmes one after the other. The Federal Public Sector Reforms Programme (FPSRP) and the State Programme for Accountability, Responsiveness and Capability (SPARC) both in Abuja, Nigeria. The programmes were a joint effort between the United Kingdom and the Nigerian government. The FPSRP was set up to help the Federal Government recreate a public service that is affordable, properly resourced, efficient and effective through the support of the development of a federal public service reform programme. The SPARC programme supports governance in Nigeria in three main areas: management of financial resources, service delivery and the preparation for development strategies. SPARC helps the government in the monitoring and evaluation of their work. I helped governments of five Nigerian states – Lagos, Enugu, Jigawa, Kano and Kaduna as well as the Federal Government, execute governance reforms already under way in the country.

After a most exciting and challenging one year at UCL I returned to my country Nigeria and I along with two other principals, set up a consulting company, Vivendi Consult – a public sector consulting firm providing strategic management, privatisation and commercialisation of public enterprises advisory services to federal and state governments. No sooner than I had done, I invited by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) to work in one of the ongoing nationwide programmes and then another! My MSc at UCL and courses studied set me apart from others in competition. As a lawyer with a competitive spirit, this was exactly what I needed! I am now the Managing Consultant at CAPPS.

After much research into the best schools for a course like this, I had settled on an application to UCL and was quite excited when I was given admission as I am not unaware that it is a highly competitive and sought after course. I undertook an MSc in International Public Policy and specialised in International Political Economy. It was a most stimulating time not forgetting the hard work and discipline of study which in itself prepares you for the challenges of the work environment especially in the fields of public policy and international development. Hand in hand with the educational excellence, you are also cushioned by an ever efficient and effective department. My personal tutor in particular was an excellent guide. Since graduation, it’s been a most challenging but rewarding career path so far!

UK/EU students (Full-time) Overseas students (Full-time) UK/EU students (Part-time) Overseas students (Part-time)
MSc Public Policy £12,570 £20,540 £6,225 £10,430
MSc European Public Policy £12,570 £20,540 £6,225 £10,430
MSc International Public Policy £12,570 £20,540 £6,225 £10,430
MSc Democracy and Comparative Politics
£12,570 £20,540 £6,225 £10,430
MA Human Rights £12,570 £20,540 £6,225 £10,430
MA Legal and Political Theory £12,570 £20,540 £6,225 £10,430
MSc Global Governance and Ethics £12,570 £20,540 £6,225 £10,430
MSc Security Studies £12,570 £20,540 £6,225 £10,430
MPA Public Administration and Management
£17,190 £24,140 £8,470 £12,020

Please note: Part-time fees are per year. Subsequent years’ fees may be subject to increase. Any annual increase in fees will not exceed 5% per year.

For the Executive MPA in Global Public Policy and Management fees, please visit the EMPA page. The fees for this programme are quoted in US dollars and are set by and payable to NYU Wagner. 

MSc International Public Policy

Entry to all of our programmes is competitive so please apply early to increase your chances of success. This is particularly the case on our larger Masters programmes in Public Policy, International Public Policy, Security Studies and Human Rights. Candidates applying for these programmes are strongly advised to submit applications as early as possible to avoid disappointment.

Please note that all closing dates are final. We are unable to accept any further applications after these dates.

Applications for Masters 2017/18

We are now accepting applications.

Closing date: 28 July 2017

For further details and to apply online:

Applications for the Executive MPA

Applications for the Executive MPA in Global Public Policy and Management are managed by NYU Wagner. The deadline is TBC. For more information on the programme and entry requirements, please click here.

Applications for the Doctoral programme

Closing Date: June 2017

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School of Public Policy,
The Rubin Building,
29/31 Tavistock Square,
London, WC1H 9QU.
Tel: +44 (0)20 7679 4999,
Fax: +44 (0)20 7679 4978,

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Tel: +44 (0)20 7679 4982/4950

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