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MA Global Public Policy and International Business

Understand social policy in a regional and global context with this unique Masters degree

Year of entry: 2024 (September)


1 year full-time,
2 years part-time

Start date

September 2024 (semester dates)

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The MA in Global Public Policy and International Business is an innovative and outward looking programme that engages with the role of economic, political, and social factors in shaping the complex international environment facing businesses and governmental organisations today. 

Interdisciplinary and research-informed, your studies will draw on theories, concepts and evidence from the disciplines of social and public policy and business and management that are housed in the School for Business and Society.

The programme connects to real world agendas in global public policy and international business and explores the growing role of supranational and regional governmental organisations in tackling global societal problems. You will study how corporations respond to the challenges of the global environment and how social and ethical responsibility plays a significant part in that response.

Through engaging with a broad range of theories and case studies, and conducting your own research, you will develop advanced analytical skills. You will also develop transferable skills including the effective communication and presentation of complex ideas, information retrieval, analysis and reporting of social scientific evidence using computer and IT skills.

From your studies you will acquire the criticality and competencies needed to help globally engaged businesses, governmental and non-governmental organisations succeed. As a graduate of this programme you will be well prepared to progress to senior positions in multinationals, development agencies, policy-making bodies, and non-profit organisations.

Global reputation

York is ranked 7th in the UK and =28th in the world for Social Policy and Administration

QS World Rankings by Subject 2023

Global outlook

You'll gain transferable skills in global social policy analysis and research, these will be relevant to a future career with international organisations.

Course content

The MA in Global Public Policy and International Business offers a range of interdisciplinary modules that draws on theories, concepts and evidence from global social and public policy and international business and management. Core modules provide a broad introduction to relevant social and public policy theories, analysis and methods, and an introduction to either International Political Economy and Business or International Business in the Global Context. 

After this you will then choose three option modules, which examine different aspects of social and public policy and international business in more detail. At the end of your studies you will have the opportunity to apply the skills that you have learned into practice through a dissertation, under the guidance of an individual supervisor.

Most people study full-time for 12 months, but part-time study over 24 months is also available. 


Core modules

Option modules

You will also study three option modules in Semester 2, including one module from Option List A and one module from Option List B. Examples include:

Option List A
Option List B

The options available to you will be confirmed later in the year. For further information, please get in touch.

Our modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff, and in line with Department/School academic planning.


You will complete an individual research-based dissertation on a topic of your choice under the supervision of a specific member of staff.

The course has a strong research focus. Half your time will be spent on taught modules and half on your own specialist research project. This reflects the advanced nature of our social policy masters courses which are designed to act as a pathway to careers in policy analysis or PhD level study.

Given the individual nature of dissertations, the topics studied by previous students are extremely varied. Recent projects include:

  • The influence of global business on global social policy
  • Business and human rights
  • The impact of World Bank Poverty Reduction Strategies on developing economies
  • The emerging Latin American consensus as a challenge to the Washington Consensus
  • Why is housing policy neglected in global social policy?

The York approach

Every course at York is built on a distinctive set of learning outcomes. These will give you a clear understanding of what you will be able to accomplish at the end of the course and help you explain what you can offer employers. Our academics identify the knowledge, skills, and experiences you'll need upon graduation and then design the course to get you there.

Students who complete this course will be able to:

  • Critically evaluate the ways in which politics and economics operate in different contexts to shape businesses, economies and public policy using in-depth knowledge of the complexity of global social and economic problems.
  • Apply an advanced understanding of economic, political, and social factors that shape the international business and policy environments.
  • Devise socially and ethically responsible solutions to real-life global problems facing public, private and not-for-profit organisations.
  • Communicate information and ideas clearly and authoritatively to specialist, informed audiences with diverse interests and agendas in ways that balance academic rigour and accessible presentation of complex information.
  • Collaborate with peers, fostering sensitivity to alternative perspectives, organisational positions and awareness of the power and institutional dynamics that operate in group working environments.
  • Define, design, execute, and present extended pieces of independent research in the field of international business and/or public policy deploying appropriate research methods.

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees for 2024/25

Study modeUK (home)International and EU
Full-time (1 year) £10,590£23,900
Part-time (2 years) £5,295£11,950

Students on a Student Visa are not currently permitted to study part-time at York.

For courses which are longer than one year, the tuition fees quoted are for the first year of study.

  • UK (home) fees may increase in subsequent years (up to a maximum of 2%).
  • International fees may increase in subsequent years in line with the prevailing Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation rate (up to a maximum of 10%).

Fees information

UK (home) or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK (home) or international student. Check your fee status.

Find out more information about tuition fees and how to pay them.

Additional costs

There are no mandatory additional fees but we do recommend that you set aside some money for photocopying. Course books will be available to you from the Library either in print or online format but you may wish to buy your own copies (book prices vary, with new books usually costing between £20 and £60). All other teaching resources will be available online.

Funding information

Discover your funding options to help with tuition fees and living costs.

We'll confirm more funding opportunities for students joining us in 2024/25 throughout the year.

If you've successfully completed an undergraduate degree at York you could be eligible for a 10% Masters fee discount.

Funding opportunities

Living costs

You can use our living costs guide to help plan your budget. It covers additional costs that are not included in your tuition fee such as expenses for accommodation and study materials.

I had a really positive experience, and in my opinion, the MA completely delivered. It engaged in an in-depth way with the many different elements of Global Social Policy. Before this course I thought my knowledge of social policy around the world was good, but it demonstrated just how complicated it can be, and how many different factors affect the social policy of nations.
Lily, MA Global Social Policy, 2016

Teaching and assessment

You’ll work with world‐leading academics who’ll challenge you to think independently and excel in all that you do. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities, and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace.

Teaching format

The modules for this MA have been specifically developed for postgraduate study. You will be taught through a combination of hands-on workshops, lectures and seminars based on real cases and data. You'll find that small group working and establishing your own perspective on social issues will become a core part of your studying process.

  • One-to-one supervision while undertaking an extended social policy research project on a topic of your choosing
  • A friendly, supportive and intellectually stimulating environment in which to study
  • Small group teaching with the majority of lectures typically no larger than 30 people and often less than 15.

You'll also be able to attend the School's lectures and University lectures from visiting speakers from across the world.


The School has one of the largest concentrations of social policy research in the UK.  You'll have access to staff, projects and research across a wide range of social policy areas and the School is home to many internationally renowned research centres, including:

Teaching location

You'll be based in the School of Business & Society in the Church Lane Building on Campus West. Most of your teaching will take place in Alcuin College or other nearby locations on Campus West.

About our campus

Our beautiful green campus offers a student-friendly setting in which to live and study, within easy reach of the action in the city centre. It's easy to get around campus - everything is within walking or pedalling distance, or you can always use the fast and frequent bus service.

Assessment and feedback

Your assessment will be continuous and based mainly on essays and reports. You will receive written feedback on all assessed work. There are no exams.

You'll complete a 12,000-15,000 word dissertation as part of your own specialist research project.

Careers and skills

The MA in Global Public Policy and International Business develops skills that employers need in a number of areas, especially policy analysis and research. You'll also find you develop transferable skills that will allow you to progress to different career areas or to continue your studies at PhD level.

Career opportunities

  • Social policy researcher
  • Policy analyst
  • Diplomat
  • International development worker
  • Civil service fast stream
  • Advocacy and policy advisor

Transferable skills

  • Communicate effectively, drawing on a range of skills and presentation techniques for different settings and audiences
  • Manage time effectively to work independently to deadlines
  • Work effectively in a group and as a member of a team in a variety of roles, including taking on leadership responsibilities
  • Work effectively in a variety of workplace settings by understanding the internal dynamics of institutions
  • Self-awareness and evaluation
  • Evaluate, analyse and design effective policy delivery and outcomes
  • Retrieve and interpret data from a variety of sources, including electronic databases
  • Use computer skills to present and analyse data.
I was surprised at how varied the modules were and as a result, I have gained skills in different areas. These vary from conducting research and presenting, to writing policy reports and briefs, all skills that can be transferred into employment.
Lily, MA Global Social Policy, 2016

Entry requirements

Typical offer
Undergraduate degree 2:1 or equivalent
Other qualifications and experience You will also be considered if you have relevant work experience and academic potential
Other international qualifications Equivalent qualifications from your country

English language

If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. We accept the following qualifications:

Minimum requirement
IELTS (Academic and Indicator) 6.5, minimum 6.0 in each component
Cambridge CEFR B2 First: 176, with 169 in each component
Oxford ELLT 7, minimum of 6 in each component
Duolingo 120, minimum 105 in all other components
LanguageCert SELT B2 with 33/50 in each component
LanguageCert Academic 70 with a minimum of 65 in each component
KITE 459-494, with 426-458 in all other components
Skills for English B2: Merit overall, with Pass with Merit in each component
PTE Academic 61, minimum 55 in each component
TOEFL 87, minimum of 21 in each component
Trinity ISE III Merit in all components

For more information see our postgraduate English language requirements.

If you haven't met our English language requirements

You may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English language courses. These courses will provide you with the level of English needed to meet the conditions of your offer.

The length of course you need to take depends on your current English language test scores and how much you need to improve to reach our English language requirements.

After you've accepted your offer to study at York, we'll confirm which pre-sessional course you should apply to via You@York.


You can apply and send all your documentation online. You don’t need to complete your application all at once: you can start it, save it and finish it later.

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School for Business and Society

Related courses

The MA in Global Social Policy is part of a group of social policy Masters degrees that draw on the research excellence of the Department to enable you to study social policy at an advanced level. These courses each offer a unique blend of modules to allow you to specialise in a particular area.

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