MSc Public Policy

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Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law
Awards available MSc
Programme length One year full-time
Two years part-time
Location of programme Clifton campus
Part-time study available Yes
Open to international students Yes
Number of places Not fixed
Start date September 2017

Programme overview

What is public policy? Who are the key actors and which institutions are involved? Who is it shaped by and how does it have an impact on an economic, social and cultural environment that is increasingly globalised?

This programme investigates the international public policy environment in terms of global political economy and the impact of business, voluntary sector and public policy agents in the field of multi-level governance. The programme encompasses both a theoretical understanding of the policy process and models of appraisal with a practical orientation to evaluating research evidence.

As well as considering generic policy concerns, the programme gives you an opportunity to choose from a range of substantive policy issues. These include: the economics of public policy; poverty and social exclusion; penal policy; cities, housing and public policy; health and public policy; migration, asylum; and sustainability. All the programme units consider policy in an international and comparative context.

Fees for 2017/18

Full-time fees


Part-time fees


Fees quoted are per annum and subject to annual increase.

Funding for 2017/18

Further information on funding for prospective UK, EU and international postgraduate students.

Programme structure

Core units

  • Governance, Institutions and the Global Political Economy
  • Informing and Evaluating Policy: Research Methods and Analysis
  • Power Politics and the Policy Process
  • Public Management and Organisations.

Optional units

Optional units can vary, but may include:

  • The Economics of Public Policy
  • Gender and Violence: International and Global Perspectives
  • An International Analysis of Poverty and Social Exclusion
  • Social Policy and Social Change in East Asia
  • Critical Policy Studies and the Internationalisation of Public Policy
  • The State of Labour
  • International Analysis of crime, harm and justice
  • Environmental policy and social justice
  • Migration, asylum and human rights
  • EU and global perspectives
  • Social Policy and Social Change in East Asia
  • Public Policy for a complex and uncertain world


You must complete a dissertation of 15,000 words. The dissertation accounts for 60 credit points. You begin work in late April and must submit by September.

Entry requirements

An upper-second class honours degree or international equivalent.

See international equivalent qualifications on the International Office website.

Application method Online application form
English language requirements Profile E
Further information about English language requirements
Admissions statement Read the programme admissions statement for important information on entry requirements, the application process and supporting documents required.


Graduates from our MSc in Public Policy frequently work in roles that focus on strategy, policy development and implementation or policy research. Potential employers include local or central government departments; national or international non-governmental organisations; and international institutions, such as the European Union and the United Nations.

How to apply
Application deadline:

31 August 2017

International students

Find out more about becoming a student at Bristol, and the support we offer to international students.

I chose Bristol because of its outstanding academic reputation. It's reassuring to be taught by people who truly love their subject - their passion becomes contagious.


REF 2014 results

  • 38% of research is world-leading (4 star)
  • 42% of research is internationally excellent (3 star)
  • 18% of research is recognised internationally (2 star)
  • 2% of research is recognised nationally (1 star)

Results are from the most recent UK-wide assessment of research quality, conducted by HEFCE. More about REF 2014 results.

Get in touch

Postgraduate Senior Admissions Administrator Phone: +44 (0) 117 954 6785 Email:

School for Policy Studies
University of Bristol
8 Priory Road
Bristol BS8 1TZ


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