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MPA Comparative Applied Social and Public Policy, Evaluation and Research

Social and policy research coupled with comparative analysis that has an international dimension

2018/19 entry


21 months full-time

Start date

September 2018 (term dates)

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30, 31 January and 1 February

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This Masters programme is ideal for mid-career professionals. You'll find the course useful if you work, or intend to work, with policy; either as an adviser, researcher, analyst or consultant.

You'll study a strongly international curriculum that is based around a combination of comparative social and public policy management and advanced research skills training. This course builds directly on our applied policy research expertise, both in the taught modules which draw heavily on our own research and in the practice-relevant activity that provides an opportunity to participate in ongoing policy research projects.

The Department of Social Policy and Social Work has one of the largest concentrations of social policy research in the UK. It is home to two specialist research units: the Social Policy Research Unit and the Centre for Housing Policy.


Course content

This is a 21-month course that specialises in social and public policy analysis and social research. You'll focus on comparative cross-national and international policy. You'll also spend time analysing policy development and policy lessons from OECD member states.

The first half of this MPA will enable you to study and explore a combination of comparative social policy and public management. In the second half you'll get advanced research skills training. You'll undertake practice related activities including small group projects that will expose you to applied policy research in practice with the support of a learning mentor.


Year 1 modules

You'll study six modules in your first year that will introduce you to the concepts and techniques you'll use later in the course. You'll also build on your knowledge with a series of masterclasses and your own policy analysis.


You'll undertake a placement which is selected, where possible, to match your interests, expertise and career aspirations. You'll work alongside a mentor with expertise in policy-related activities.

Year 2 modules

In your second year you'll study five modules that build advanced research skills and allow you to deepen your understanding of applied social and public policy. You'll also write an experiential analysis of your placement experiences and undertake detailed independent study on a topic that links to your professional interests and experience.

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


You'll work on two independent projects that will be assessed as part of your course.

In your first year you'll work on the Applied Policy Transfer Project to produce a 8,000 word report under the supervision of your mentor. You'll be able to specialise on a specific policy issue in which you'll explore cross-national evidence to identify policy solutions that may be transferred from one country to another.

Towards the end of your second year you'll undertake a longer independent project in which you'll produce a structured scoping review of up to 10,000 words.

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees for 2018/19

Study modeUK/EUInternational
Full-time (1 year and 9 months)
Fee for the second year of this programme will be charged at 70% of the continuation fee.
year 1 fee
year 1 fee

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

Other funding

Living costs

You can use our living costs guide to help plan your budget. It covers accommodation costs and estimated social costs.

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. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.

Teaching format

You'll attend lectures, usually in groups no larger than 30 students, and often with much fewer. You'll also take part in group seminars and hands-on workshops. You will attend a series of masterclasses that explore issues such as research communication, organisational culture, behavioural insights for social and public policy, and systematic reviewing of evidence in detail​.

You'll have support from a personal supervisor throughout the course. You'll also have a mentor who will work with you on a one-to-one basis through the course of your placement

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

Teaching location

You'll be based in the Department of Social Policy and Social Work on Campus West. Most of your teaching will take place nearby.

Course location

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.

You'll complete a 8,000 word report: exploring a policy issue in a cross-national context. You'll also produce a longer scoping review of up to 10,000 words which will be linked to your policy interests and the research methods training you'll receive.

Careers and skills

This course is ideal for mid-career professionals that aim to work in, or already work in, social or public policy.

Career opportunities

Our graduates have gone on to enhance their careers in a diverse range of public, private and voluntary sector organisations in roles such as policy analysts and advisers, This course also provides a foundation for a career in social and policy research.

Transferable skills

  • Advanced research and analysis skills
  • Qualitative and quantitative research methods
  • Critical appraisal
  • Presentation and dissemination of research

Entry requirements

Qualification Grade

You'll need to have achieved at least a 2:1 or equivalent in your undergraduate degree. We may also consider your application if you have relevant work experience with good academic potential.

Guidance on international equivalents for entry qualifications.

You'll need at least three years professional experience in a public sector or NGO setting.

English language

If your native language is not English, you should meet an English language proficiency level of 6.5 in the IELTS test with at least 5.5 in each component. We accept other English Language Tests.


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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