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International Public Policy - MSc

Course Description

The International Public Policy MSc 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.

Degree information

Students are equipped 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. They develop analytical skills for the study of world politics and the assessment of issues currently facing international policymakers.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of four core modules (75 credits), optional modules (45 credits) and a research dissertation (60 credits).

Core modules
-International Organisation (30)
-Public Policy Economics and Analysis (15)
-Introduction to Qualitative Methods or Advanced Qualitative Methods (15)
-Introduction to Quantitative Methods or Advanced Quantitative Methods (15)

Optional modules - choose one of the following 15-credit modules (the others remain available as options):
-Foreign Policy Analysis (15)
-Global Public Policy (15)
-International Political Economy (15)
-Theories of International Relations (15)

Choose further modules up to a value of 30 credits. The following are suggestions:
-Global Economic and Social Rights (15)
-Making Policy Work (15)
-Policy-Making and Regulation in Europe (15)
-The European Union in the World (15)
-The European Union, Globalisation and the State (15)

All MSc students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 10,000 words.

Teaching and learning
The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures and seminars, and includes a policy simulation and a series of talks with leading practitioners and policymakers. Assessment is through a variety of methods, including unseen examination, long essays and the dissertation.


Graduate destinations both nationally and internationally include:
-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).
-Public and private sector organisations such as: 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.

Top career destinations for this degree:
-Embassy Trainee, Royal Norwegian Embassy in Lusaka
-VSO ICS SW Bangladesh Team Leader, Voluntary Service Overseas
-Business Intelligence Analyst, Edinburgh International
-Civil Servant, Department for Education
-Compliance and Security Analyst, Return Path

Students are prepared for a number of potential careers ranging from additional academic work to employment in both the public and private sector. Previous students have secured employment in government agencies in the UK and abroad. A large number of students also find work in the financial sector, including investment banking and consulting. The success of previous students is attributable to the rigorous methods training provided, as well as the diversity of the modules offered.

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 international public policy.

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 extend their professional networks.

The research preparation and tailor-made interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary training students receive are of the highest standard available, at one of the world's top universities, as reflected in UCL's performance in a range of rankings and tables.

Visit the International Public Policy - MSc page on the University College London website for more details!

All Available Videos:

(Student Profile)

Niheer Dasandi

749.jpg 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.

(Student Profile)

Nadia Montoto

750.jpg 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.

(Student Profile)

Adam Landsman

751.jpg 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.


UCL Graduate Support Bursary - 20+ Awards

UCL is making 93 individual bursary awards available. Each bursary will cover the full tuition fee cost for the programme and provide £10,000 in maintenance funding per year.

Value of Scholarship(s)



The scheme is aimed at supporting traditionally under-represented groups to progress on to graduate study at UCL. All applicants will be required to demonstrate that their annual household income is currently under £42,611. This scheme is open to prospective students domiciled in the UK (that is, UK is your country of "ordinary residence”) who have "Home" tuition fee status.

Application Procedure

This initiative is funded through the HEFCE Postgraduate Support Scheme. The UCL Graduate Support Bursary scheme forms part of UCL’s wider initiative to support graduate Master’s students.

Further Information


Entry Requirements

As a minimum, a strong upper second-class (65%) Bachelor's degree from a UK university; a CPGA of 3.45; or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard. Relevant practical or work experience in a related field may also be taken into account.

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