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MA Public Administration and Public Policy

Examine how governments create and deliver the policies that structure societies across the globe.

Year of entry: 2024 (September)


1 year full-time,
2 years part-time

Start date

September 2024 (semester dates)

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Explore the key themes that drive the creation of public policies – how they are made, framed, brought to life and managed.

What makes the cogs of international organisations turn? What are the motivations, ambitions and factors that are acted upon to shape the world as we know it?

From patterns of global trade and finance to state restructuring and its consequences, this dynamic course will give you a detailed insight into the decision-making processes that govern our lives.

You'll graduate with the specialist expertise to conduct high quality research in public policy and administration. You'll be well supported as you develop the knowledge desired for a career in policy advising, lobbying, political research, journalism and academia.

I can't stand injustice and I'm committed to the protection of human rights. Criminal justice and security policies are areas I'm especially interested in, so after previously studying politics and law, the MA in Public Administration and Public Policy has completed my understanding of the subject.
Rachel, MA Public Administration and Public Policy

Outstanding research

Department of Politics and International Relations is ranked in the UK top ten for the quality of our research outputs and our research environment in the Times Higher Education's ranking of the latest REF results (2021)

Spanning the discipline

From early modern political thought to contemporary international security, from the politics of gender to the politics of the environment, you can benefit from expertise on a huge range of topics

Experts on the global stage

Our staff advise governments and international organisations on a wide range of issues, and contribute to news media and current affairs programmes around the world

Course content

You'll study 180 credits in total. The course consists of:

  • core modules
  • option modules 
  • dissertation 


Core modules

Option modules

You will also study two option modules.

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.


During the summer term and vacation you'll complete a 12,000-word dissertation on a topic of your choice.

Previous dissertation titles include:

  • Azerbaijan's search for sustainable energy development: Lesson learning from Norway
  • Maintaining the Market: Policy Advocacy in UK Housing
  • The New Public Management reform: to what extent did the Health and Social Care Act 2012 contribute to the privatisation of the National Health Service in England
  • Human trafficking, the Modern Slavery Bill, and cross-border policing: Are the United Kingdom’s tools sufficient to tackle human trafficking on its territory?
  • The Great Welfare Reform: An Analysis of the Formation and Enactment of the Universal Credit Policy
  • Understanding New Labour's Foundation Trust Policy: the Depoliticisation Approach
  • Why do certain EU Member-states approve so few Asylum Applications? The case of Ireland and the UK
  • The Social Capital approach and Anti-corruption Strategy in the Context of Community-driven Development Project: A Case Study of Kecamatan Development programme/ PNPM Rural in Indonesia by the World Bank
  • Danes on the wane - in the main? A comparative case study of active labour market policies in Denmark and the UK amid the global financial crisis
  • The road to Chinese civil society: A study on Chinese environmental NGOs
  • Legislating against want: Understanding the politics behind British governments changing their anti-poverty strategies
  • Cross-national policy transfer of the New Public Management Reform idea: The case of Japan's agencification
  • Political leadership matters: Exploring the role of community leadership in e-transportation in Buckinghamshire, UK
  • A study of the social learning and multiple streams frameworks of policy analysis in relation to the current UK coalition government's social and welfare policy reforms, with particular insight into Universal Credit2012-13
  • The feminist way forward: gender quota policy in Poland
  • Decision-making among deeply divided publics: assessing the potential contributions of deliberative democracy in Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Introducing new public management into Chinese public management reform: is it an illusion or a meaningful suggestion?
  • Chinese health care reform and drawing lessons from US and Australian health care system reforms
  • How Japanese nuclear power policy has remained stable over 50 years? Policy community and its impact on the policy process
  • To what extent is public participation effective in the design and execution of nutrition policy? The context of Afghanistan

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:

  • Identify and understand the key determinants of policy processes in different countries and levels of government by applying an advanced understanding of current theories, paradigms, concepts and principles of policy studies.
  • Critically apply different theoretical perspectives, methods and concepts to policy-making processes in order explain policy dynamics, variation, and outcomes, and to provide expert advice to decision-makers.
  • Use intellectual reasoning and systematic empirical testing to evaluate the respective strengths and weaknesses of different policy options and theories of the policy process as a means to advocate particular policies and policy-making perspectives.
  • Construct and clearly present persuasive, analytical and critical written reflections that effectively communicate sustained policy analysis to academic and professional audiences.
  • Independently design a research project about the creation, design, implementation, success or failure of policies by conceiving of and operationalising research questions, by selecting and justifying the use of appropriate theories and concepts, gathering and interpreting data, and arriving at appropriate and justified conclusions.
  • Understand and engage with the need for public integrity and ethical conduct of policy analysts in academia, the public and the private sector through the development of a holistic perspective of the complexities of policy-making.

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)
This is the year 1 fee. Fees for future years are subject to confirmation.

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

You may incur some additional expenses for books, but these costs are optional as most of the texts you'll need are available in the University library. If the resources you need aren't available, you can borrow via inter-library loans and order new books to our library for free.

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.

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

You'll learn through a combination of lectures, seminars and one-to-one supervision. We offer a personal approach to learning with much of our teaching conducted in small groups.

Teaching location

You will be based in the Department of Politics and International Relations in Derwent College on Campus West. Around half of your teaching will take place in Derwent College; the rest of your contact hours will take place nearby. 

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

You submit six essays; three are submitted at the beginning of Spring Term and three at the beginning of Summer Term. Essays are usually around 4,000 words long. Your final dissertation of between 10,000-12,000 words is submitted at the beginning of September.

We offer the opportunity to present your dissertation at our research seminar presentation workshops. These are not formally assessed (not credit bearing), but they give you the chance to hone your presentation skills and to get verbal feedback from your tutors and peers.

Careers and skills

From political research to journalism, marketing and HR, a masters degree in Public Administration and Public Policy leads to a broad range of career opportunities.

Our students have found work in central or local government, non-governmental organisations, community and voluntary organisations, social enterprise, higher education, accountancy and banking organisations, law firms, media companies and international and global development bodies.

Career opportunities

  • Civil Servant
  • Democratic services officer
  • Local councillor
  • National management trainee
  • Senior business consultant
  • Policy and engagement manager for a government body

Transferable skills

  • The ability to research, source and examine information thoroughly
  • The capacity to critically analyse evidence and construct coherent arguments
  • Excellent written and oratory skills
  • Intellectual independence and autonomy
  • Teamworking skills
  • A flexible and open-minded approach to work

Entry requirements

Typical offer
Undergraduate degree 2:1 or equivalent. We are willing to consider applicants with lower qualifications, particularly if you have high marks in relevant modules and/or appropriate professional experience. Additional information may be requested.
International pre-masters programme Pre-masters from our International Pathway College
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 21 in each component
Trinity ISE III Merit in all requirements

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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Next steps

Contact us

Get in touch if you have any questions

Dr. Matt Lesch

Learn more

Department of Politics and International Relations

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