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MPhil in Public Policy

Course Description

The MPhil in Public Policy provides an interdisciplinary grounding in public policy theory and practice, with courses ranging from philosophy and policy analysis through to media and politics.

The course is aimed at students who wish to have a leading role in government, companies or NGOs. The blend of theory and practice will help students to understand the mix of hard and soft skills they will need to be effective policy entrepreneurs and students will leave the course having broadended and strengthened their policy analysis and implementation skills.

See the website http://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/courses/directory/hspimppup

Course detail

The Master's in Public Policy (MPP) is a practice oriented programme that was launched by the department in October 2013. The course runs for 9 months from October to June.

The course aims to strengthen the interconnections between science, research and innovation in public policy. Integral to these aims, the MPP will promote better awareness within policy circles of scientific developments and emerging technologies, which in turn will encourage long-term thinking and better strategic planning.


The MPP programme will qualify its graduates to:

- Cope with different forms of information, qualitative and quantitative with varying degrees of precision, relevance and uncertainty
- Consider issues from a range of disciplinary perspectives
- Spot what is missing, and how to recognize when the picture is incomplete
- Critically appraise information from different kinds of experts
- Integrate different forms of thinking
- Consider the implications of complexity, risk and uncertainty in policy-making

The course seeks to attract students who want to build careers in public policy whether in government at national and international levels, or in the third sector or in the private sector. The MPP will provide students with a thorough intellectual grounding and practical experience in the processes of policy making, as well as an understanding of the range of knowledge and skills they need to be effective in the world of policy.

The course draws on teaching from across six schools of the University, from the Department of Computer Science to the Department of Philosophy as well as from policy professionals from the public, private and voluntary sectors.

Candidates for the MPhil in Public Policy take 7 modules and 3 case studies across the course of the year. In addition they must complete two independent essays on topics agreed with their supervisor and a report on their work placement.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of the course students will be expected to have:

- An appreciation of the political and legal context of policy-making.
- An understanding of the economic and evidence aspects of policy making
- A solid grounding in the theory, practical tools and skills required for the implementation of policy

How to apply: http://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/applying

Funding Opportunities

Some bursaries are available to students each year, although numbers vary annually. Those wishing to be considered for the limited funding opportunities available should take note of the early deadlines.

General Funding Opportunities http://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/finance/funding

Visit the MPhil in Public Policy page on the University of Cambridge website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Jesse Kancir

My graduate experience at Cambridge in the MPP comes in between a transition from medical school to residency training in Canada. I made the decision to study an MPP during my clinical experience when I realized that my most meaningful contribution to patients and populations would be through developing and implementing healthy public policy rather than through procedures or pharmaceuticals; I already had a background in health policy and economics but realized that becoming a competent physician meant not only having ideas but having advanced policy capacities, too.

The decision to come to Cambridge was an easy one given that I wanted to study somewhere with equal strengths in public health, medicine, and economics. Within the classroom, at POLIS, and on campus I’ve found the right mix of experiences to develop new thoughts and skills to bring back to my professional practice. The one-year duration of the program has also been important. For a professional like me, leaving your training for any amount of time is challenging. Being able to complete the degree in one-year has allowed me to adapt this training into my professional life.

An essential part of the Cambridge MPP is work experience with some involvement in the policy process. My work placement has been with the UK’s National Audit Office (NAO) in evaluating the evidence-base for the outcomes and best practices of integration of health and social care systems. Integration was a central pillar of health platforms in the 2015 General Election and, in this sense, my work experience was rooted in practicality from the onset. Applicability has also helped shape the richness of the academic experience: the UK General Election over the past few months has provided examples within our lectures, seminars, extracurriculars, and informal meetings for our class to analyze and better understand the dynamics of public policy.


Entry Requirements

Applicants for this course should have achieved a UK High II.i Honours Degree. Find University Minimum Academic Requirements here View Website

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