MSc Public Policy
What is public policy? Who is it shaped by? Which institutions are involved? What impact does it have on an economic, social and cultural environment that is increasingly globalised?
This programme engages with contemporary policy concerns and the increasing complexity of the policy environment. It explores the contested dynamics of policymaking and policy implementation and provides students with the skills to understand, critically evaluate and develop policy alternatives in a local, national and international context. The programme seeks to prepare the next generation of policymakers to address a range of policy issues and understand the role and impact of different stakeholders, including business and the voluntary sector as well as international and regional organisations.
It is intended for those who aspire to pursue professional career options, including policy planning, policy consultancy and policy officer positions for local and national government, international organisations, and non-governmental organisations.
As well as considering general policy concerns, the programme gives you an opportunity to choose from a range of substantive policy issues, which might include the international analysis of poverty and social exclusion; public management and organisations; migration, asylum and human rights; the economics of public policy; or corruption and public policy. Every unit considers policy in an international and comparative context.
Students on this programme will benefit from being taught by academics who are leaders in their areas of research. The University of Bristol has been ranked 14th in the world for Social Policy and Administration according to the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2023.
To find out more, take a look at these videos exploring scholarships, international studies and the student perspective.
There are three core units and a choice of optional units. You must also complete a dissertation of between 10,000 and 15,000 words, which normally begins in late February and is submitted by the end of the summer.
Visit our programme catalogue for full details of the structure and unit content of our MSc in Public Policy.
An upper second-class honours degree or international equivalent in a Social Science discipline: Sociology, Social Policy, Social Welfare, Public Administration, Business Administration, Management, Social Administration, Demography/Population Studies, Accounting & Finance, Economics, Political Science, History, Philosophy, Law.
For applicants who are currently completing a degree, we understand that their final grade may be higher than the interim grades or module/unit grades they achieve during their studies.
We will consider applicants whose interim grades are currently slightly lower than the programme's entry requirements. We may make these applicants an aspirational offer. This offer would be at the standard level, so the applicant would need to achieve the standard entry requirements by the end of their degree. Specific module requirements may still apply.
We will consider applicants whose grades are slightly lower than the programme's entry requirements, if they have at least one of the following:
- evidence of significant, relevant work experience (minimum 18 months) in the following sectors/areas: mid- to high-level policy work for local or national government or third sector/voluntary/community-based organisation (Manager, Director, Policy Officer, Researcher, Analyst, Policy Maker, Political/Civil Office);
- a relevant postgraduate qualification (merit or above).
If this is the case, applicants should include their CV (curriculum vitae / résumé) when they apply, showing details of their relevant work experience and/or qualifications.
See international equivalent qualifications on the International Office website.
Read the programme admissions statement for important information on entry requirements, the application process and supporting documents required.Go to admissions statement
Fees and funding
- UK: full-time
- £14,000 per year
- UK: part-time (two years)
- £7,000 per year
- Overseas: full-time
- £28,600 per year
Fees are subject to an annual review. For programmes that last longer than one year, please budget for up to an 8% increase in fees each year.
More about tuition fees, living costs and financial support.
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 International Monetary Fund and the United Nations.