School of Politics and International Relations

Public Policy

MSc ( 1 year Full-time / 2 years Part-time )


  • What is the appropriate relationship between the public and private sectors?
  • How are policy decisions made and implemented?
  • How can public policy deal with issues of cultural diversity and value conflict?

Public Policy is the study of how problems are addressed within political institutions. Through studying public policy, you will gain theoretical and practical insights into policy formation and implementation. Students take taught courses which allow them to explore the development, implementation and evaluation of a wide range of policies. By the end of the programme you will have a strong grasp of the theoretical tools and empirical evidence necessary for an in-depth understanding of the policymaking process. Recent developments in the UK, including the Big Society plan to deliver public services through the Third Sector, make this course especially timely and relevant.

If you want to help shape the future policy agenda, then this programme is for you. The programme will:

  • Focus on Political theory and British Politics whilst also having a strong international and comparative element
  • Investigate development issues, with a strong interest in the comparative analysis of policy for the developing world
  • Encourage a bespoke approach, where you design the content around your own research agenda, and apply what you learn to the policy fields in which you have an interest.

Why study your MSc in Public Policy at QMUL?

The School of Politics and International Relations is committed to developing, maintaining and supporting excellent and innovative teaching and research amongst its faculty, and to fostering independent learning and critical thinking among our students. We are placed 14th in the country for the percentage of our 3* and 4* research outputs (the best published research). The programme is taught by research active faculty members who are expert in cutting-edge areas such as migration, health, poverty, and European integration.

  • Flexible programme with a large number of optional modules
  • An internationally diverse staff and student body
  • Close to the heart of UK politics, the School enjoys close links to practitioners in London.

There are many opportunities to enhance your studies by attending lectures, seminars and groups including those focusing on:

  • European Politics
  • International Relations
  • Political Theory
  • Global Security and Development

There is also the Mile End Institute, a major policy centre at Queen Mary University of London. Drawing on its unique location within a Russell Group University situated in London’s East End, it brings together policymakers, academics and diverse local communities to address the major political challenges in the UK. They hold a number of exciting and engaging events throughout the year that are open to students.


You will have access to QMUL's comprehensive libraries, which include extensive online resources. You will also be able to use the main University of London Library at Senate House. The British Library can also be easily accessed as a research resource.

The School of Politics and International Relations runs a lively range of extra-curricular seminars and groups at that you can attend to complement your studies, including events run by our various research centres.

QMUL has recently unveiled a new £39 million Graduate Centre, which provides teaching and learning space for all postgraduate students, including a 200 seat lecture theatre, study spaced, seminar rooms and a café.



The MSc in Public Policy is currently available for one year full-time study, or two years part-time study. It is also available as a Distance Learning option.
Students must undertake four taught modules as well as a 12,000 word dissertation.

MSc Public Policy

Compulsory Modules:

  • Dissertation 
  • Theories and Concepts in Public Policy 
  • Evaluation and Delivery in Public Policy

Optional Modules (choose two):

Please note the availability of option modules may change.


Entry requirements

A minimum of an upper-second class honours degree in Politics or a related discipline. Students should also have IELTS 7 (including 6.5 in the writing component), if your first language is not English.

International applicants

Students from outside of the UK help form a global community here at Queen Mary. For detailed country specific entry requirements please visit the International section of our website. If your first language is not English, you must provide evidence of your English language proficiency. You can find details on our English language entry requirements here:

If you do not meet language or scholarly requirements it might be possible for you to undertake foundation or pre-sessional programmes that will prepare you for the masters programme. For more information, please contact the Admissions Office.

The Admissions Office can be contacted here:

Learning and teaching

Learning and teaching:

As a student at QMUL, you will play an active part in your acquisition of skills and knowledge. Teaching is by a mixture of formal lectures and small group seminars. The seminars are designed to generate informed discussion around set topics, and may involve student presentations, group exercise and role-play as well as open discussion. We take pride in the close and friendly working relationship we have with our students. You are assigned an Academic Adviser who will guide you in both academic and pastoral matters throughout your time at QMUL.

Independent Study:
For every hour spent in formal classes you will be expected to complete further hours of independent study. Your individual study time could be spent preparing for, or following up on formal study sessions; reading; producing written work; completing projects; and revising for examinations.

The direction of your individual study will be guided by the formal online study sessions you attend, along with your reading lists and assignments. However, we expect you to demonstrate an active role in your own learning by reading widely and expanding your own knowledge, understanding and critical ability.

Independent study will foster in you the ability to identify your own learning needs and determine which areas you need to focus on to become proficient in your subject area. This is an important transferable skill and will help to prepare you for the transition to working life.

Assessment is by coursework only and this is usually in the form of research essays. The course convener offers guidance and support on research and writing of assessments.

You will also be assessed on a supervised 12,000-word dissertation. Students are currently researching a range of topics for their dissertations including:

  • The Smoking Ban: implementation and evaluation in a local area of London
  • The “Presidentialization” of British politics and its impact upon policy making
  • How is new social media changing policy making circles?
  • Are integration policies failing Somali communities in Britain?

The school annually awards the Marc Lane-Martine prize for best masters dissertation in Public Policy.



Tuition fees for Home and EU students

2020/21 Academic Year

Full time £9,950
Part time £5,000

Tuition fees for International students

2020/21 Academic Year

Full time £18,000
Part time £9,000

Part time fees are charged per annum over two years for a two year programme and per annum over three years for a three year programme. A percentage increase may be applied to the fees in years two and three.

This increase is defined each year and published on the intranet and in the Tuition Fee Regulations. A 3% increase was applied to the unregulated university fees in 2019/20. Further information can be viewed on our University Fees webpage, including details about annual increases.


There are a number of sources of funding available for Masters students.

These include a significant package of competitive Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) bursaries and scholarships in a range of subject areas, as well as external sources of funding.

Queen Mary bursaries and scholarships

We offer a range of bursaries and scholarships for Masters students including competitive scholarships, bursaries and awards, some of which are for applicants studying specific subjects.

Find out more about QMUL bursaries and scholarships.

Alternative sources of funding

Home/EU students can apply for a range of other funding, such as Professional and Career Development Loans, and Employer Sponsorship, depending on their circumstances and the specific programme of study.

Overseas students may be eligible to apply for a range of external scholarships and we also provide information about relevant funding providers in your home country on our country web pages.

Download our Postgraduate Funding Guide for detailed information about postgraduate funding options for Home/EU students.

Read more about alternative sources of funding for Home/EU students and for Overseas students.

Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 5079

Other financial help on offer at Queen Mary

We offer one to one specialist support on all financial and welfare issues through our Advice and Counselling Service, which you can access as soon as you have applied for a place at Queen Mary.

Our Advice and Counselling Service also has lots of Student Advice Guides on all aspects of finance including:

Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 8717