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Home>Study at York>Postgraduate>Courses>Public Administration and Public Policy (MA)

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


1 year full-time,
2 years part-time

From the practical to the controversial, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the factors and contexts that determine a diverse range of domestic and international policies – and how those policies deliver the services we rely on.

This dynamic course provides you 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.

Our expertise spans 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.
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 I 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

Course content What you’ll study


You’ll 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 operations, state-restructuring and consequences, it will give you a detailed insight into the decision-making processes that govern our lives.


You'll study four core modules: 

Plus, two optional modules from a range of subjects:

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




During the summer term and vacation you will consolidate your interests in 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 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

Teaching and assessment How you’ll be taught and assessed

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. 


You submit six essays; three are submitted at the end of the Autumn term and three at the end of the Spring 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 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.

We are ranked eighth in the UK in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, confirming York’s standing as a centre of world-leading and internationally excellent research, with major global and national impact.

Careers Where you’ll go from here

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

You might find yourself working for:

  • Central or local government
  • Non-governmental organisations
  • Community and voluntary organisations
  • A Social enterprise
  • A university
  • Accountancy and banking orgs
  • Law firms
  • Media companies
  • International and global development bodies / organisations.

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 How to get here

Course entry

Eligible applicants have, or are soon to complete, a Bachelors degree at 2:1 or above.

We are willing to consider applicants from students with lower qualifications, particularly when the student has high marks in relevant modules and/or appropriate professional experience. If you are applying with a lower qualification, you must include a written work sample with your application. 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.


You can apply and send all your documentation electronically with our online system, which allows you to save progress and return later to finish.

Applying for postgraduate study

Start your online application

International options

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

Applicants whose first language is not English may need to satisfy language requirements.

The Department of Politics has a higher minimum level than the University more generally because of the more difficult nature of the literature that Politics students must engage with. The departmental requirements are:

IELTS: 6.5 (with a minimum of 6.0 in each component)

The University accepts other evidence of English language attainment; please see the Postgraduate Admissions web pages.

Enquire Contact our admissions tutor if you have any questions

Next steps

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