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Comparative Applied Social and Public Policy, Evaluation and Research - MPA

This Masters programme is ideal for mid-career professionals. You'll find the course useful if you work, or intend to work, with policy; either as an adviser, researcher, analyst or consultant.

You'll study a strongly international curriculum that is based around a combination of comparative social and public policy management and advanced research skills training. This course builds directly on our applied policy research expertise, both in the taught modules which draw heavily on our own research and in the practice-relevant activity that provides an opportunity to participate in ongoing policy research projects.

The Department of Social Policy and Social Work has one of the largest concentrations of social policy research in the UK. It is home to two specialist research units: the Social Policy Research Unit and the Centre for Housing Policy.

Course content

This is a 21-month course that specialises in social and public policy analysis and social research. You'll focus on comparative cross-national and international policy. You'll also spend time analysing policy development and policy lessons from Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) member states.

The first half of this Masters of Public Administration (MPA) will enable you to study and explore a combination of comparative social policy and public management. In the second half you'll get advanced research skills training. You'll undertake practice related activities including small group projects that will expose you to applied policy research in practice with the support of a learning mentor.

Teaching and assessment

You’ll work with world‐leading academics who’ll challenge you to think independently and excel in all that you do. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities, and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace.

Teaching format

You'll attend lectures, usually in groups no larger than 30 students, and often with much fewer. You'll also take part in group seminars and hands-on workshops. You will attend a series of masterclasses that explore issues such as research communication, organisational culture, behavioural insights for social and public policy, and systematic reviewing of evidence in detail​.

You'll have support from a personal supervisor throughout the course. You'll also have a mentor who will work with you on a one-to-one basis through the course of your placement

You'll also be able to attend the Department's lectures and University lectures featuring visiting speakers from across the world.

Teaching location

You'll be based in the Department of Social Policy and Social Work on Campus West. Most of your teaching will take place nearby.

About our campus

Our beautiful green campus offers a student-friendly setting in which to live and study, within easy reach of the action in the city centre. It's easy to get around campus - everything is within walking or pedalling distance, or you can always use the fast and frequent bus service.

Assessment and feedback

Your assessment will be continuous and based mainly on essays and reports. You will receive written feedback on all assessed work.

You'll complete a 8,000 word report: exploring a policy issue in a cross-national context. You'll also produce a longer scoping review of up to 10,000 words which will be linked to your policy interests and the research methods training you'll receive.

Careers and skills

This course is ideal for mid-career professionals that aim to work in, or already work in, social or public policy.

Career opportunities

Our graduates have gone on to enhance their careers in a diverse range of public, private and voluntary sector organisations in roles such as policy analysts and advisers, This course also provides a foundation for a career in social and policy research.

Transferable skills

  • Advanced research and analysis skills
  • Qualitative and quantitative research methods
  • Critical appraisal
  • Presentation and dissemination of research

Visit the Comparative Applied Social and Public Policy, Evaluation and Research - MPA page on the University of York website for more details!

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