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Home>Study at York>Postgraduate taught>Courses 2019/20>Public Administration and Public Policy (MA)

MA Public Administration and Public Policy

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

Year of entry: 2019


1 year full-time,
2 years part-time

Start date

September 2019 (term 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 considered and 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. It will support and deliver the knowledge most desired by professionals 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

Leading research

We're ranked eighth in the Times Higher Education’s ranking of the 2014 Research Excellence Framework results

Spanning the discipline

From early modern political thought to contemporary international security, from post-conflict development to global financial governance, from the politics of gender to the politics of the environment, you can benefit from expertise on a huge range of topics

Course content

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

  • four core modules (20 credits each)
  • two option modules (20 credits each)
  • dissertation (60 credits)


Core modules

Option modules

Our choice of modules lets you develop expertise in the areas that you feel most passionate about.

Please note, modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.


During the summer term and vacation you'll complete a 12,000 word dissertation (60 credits) 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 extend 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 amidst 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 amongst 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

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees for 2019/20

Study modeUK/EUInternational
Full-time (1 year) £7,810£17,370
Part-time (2 years)
Fees for subsequent years are subject to confirmation.
year 1 fee
year 1 fee

Students on a Tier 4 Visa are not currently permitted to study part-time at York.

Additional costs

You may incur some additional expenses for books. These costs are optional - our university library is well stocked. If the resources you need aren't available, you can borrow via inter-library loans and order new books to our library for free.

Fees information

UK/EU or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK/EU or international student.

Funding information

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

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

Home/EU students

International students

Departmental scholarships

We have a number of scholarships and funding opportunities available. Find out about postgraduate funding.

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.

You'll be taught by academics at the forefront of research across a number of political areas such as conflict, security and development, political economy, international politics, political theory and public policy. As international experts in their field, our staff advise governments and organisations globally and regularly contribute to news and current affairs programmes. Our expertise and experience feed directly into our teaching. 

Teaching location

You will be based in the Department of Politics 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 policy report of between 10,000 - 12,000 words is submitted at the beginning of September.

We offer the opportunity to present your Policy Report 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

Recent graduates work in the legal profession and as senior policy analysts for a variety of government and non-governmental agencies. It is also an excellent pathway to further study, in public administration and political science. Other popular employers include:

  • Local councils
  • Civil Service / Home Office/ House of Commons
  • UN
  • Foreign and Commonwealth Office
  • NHS
  • Professional services / Accountancy firms - notably PwC, EY, KPMG
  • Joseph Rowntree Foundation
  • Oxfam
  • Barclays
  • Universities
  • IBM
  • Development charities including the International Committee of the Red Cross.

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

Qualification Typical offer

We typically ask for a degree at 2:1 or above. You must also include a written work sample with your application.

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.

If you are unsure about your eligibility, or want to enquire informally about whether this course would be suitable for you, please contact us.

If you earned your Bachelors degree outside of the UK, you should check that it is equivalent to a 2:1. Our country-specific pages can help you to find out.

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:

  • IELTS: 6.5, with no less than 6.0 in each component
  • PTE Academic: 61, with no less than 55 in each component
  • CAE and CPE (from January 2015): 176, with no less than 169 in each component
  • TOEFL: 87, with a minimum of 21 in each component
  • Trinity ISE: level 3 with Merit in all requirements

For more information see our postgraduate English language requirements.

If you've not 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 IELTS 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 electronically through our online system. 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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