Public Policy (MSc)

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.

To find out more, take a look at these videos exploring scholarships, international studies and the student perspective.

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
  • 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.

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.

Full-time fees


Part-time fees


Fees quoted are per annum and subject to annual increase.

Alumni scholarship

University of Bristol students and graduates can benefit from a ten per cent reduction in tuition fees for postgraduate study. Check your eligibility for an alumni scholarship.

Funding for 2017/18

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

Receive Updates

No spam guarantee.