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    School of Social and Political Science Logo
  • Study Type

    Full time & Part time available

  • Subject Areas

    Politics & Government

  • Start Date

    September

  • Course Duration

    1 year full-time or 2 years part-time

  • Course Type

    MSc

  • Course Fees

    Tuition fees vary between degree programmes. Find the specific fees for your chosen programme on our website.

  • Last Updated

    22 November 2018

Programme description

The MSc Public Policy covers both the theories and approaches to understanding and engaging with policy work, as well as applying these theories and approaches to policy making in a practice-oriented way through case study learning.

What are the factors that shape the policy decisions taken by governments at supranational, national and local levels? How do these decisions interact and impact on society and on the economy? Answering such questions effectively requires an inter-disciplinary understanding of the field of public policy, drawing insights especially from politics, sociology, and economics. With a particular focus on the social and economic policy fields that are at the heart of modern welfare states, the MSc Public Policy offers an advanced understanding of the political, social and economic context of policy-making and government activity in modern societies.

The degree, based in the School of Social and Political Science, draws on the School's multi-disciplinary expertise across different fields of public policy, with a focus that ranges from the local to the global.

Programme structure

  • Political Issues in Public Policy (Semester 1)
  • Policy in Action (Semester 2)

After successfully completing the taught modules you will work towards an independently researched dissertation.

You can undertake a standard dissertation or potentially a placement-based dissertation, which can be undertaken in the UK or abroad.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the programme, you will have:

  • a firm grounding in a broad set of literatures on policy making and public policy
  • knowledge and understanding of core explanatory theories, concepts, and issues in policy analysis
  • an awareness of different models of the policy process
  • an understanding of the use of concepts and measures in analysing policy
  • skills to analyse and evaluate policy decisions and outcomes in a wide range of policy areas,
  • the ability to draw on a variety of disciplinary paradigms in the understanding policy and policy making.
  • You will also develop a range of highly transferable skills, such as communication and project management, which can be applied to roles in any field.

Career opportunities

The MSc Public Policy opens up a wide variety of career opportunities and scope for further study. Recent graduates have gone on to employment within government at European, national and sub-national local levels, as parliamentary assistants/researchers, in the health and education administrations, with a range of think tanks and policy consultancies and in the charity/voluntary sector. Others have progressed to doctoral study at the University of Edinburgh and other world-leading research Universities in a number of countries.


Visit the Public Policy (MSc) page on the University of Edinburgh website for more details!

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