Public Service Commissioning MSc/PGDip/GDip/PGCert/GCert

Course details: Details | Modules | Fees and funding | Entry requirements | How to apply.

We are currently revising our programme portfolio for September 2018 entry and will relaunch with our new and improved offer soon. This may mean that some of the current programmes offered on our website will be revised or removed. Please check back later in the Autumn to see what will be offered from 2018 onwards.

This programme develops your understanding of the politics, principles, evidence and skills associated with public service commissioning and how these interact across organisational boundaries. It is designed for senior managers and policy-makers working in or with public commissioning organisations or with an interest in developing their careers in this direction.

We offer a flexible programmes and a wide range of optional modules (part-time students also welcome).

In the School of Government and Society we offer much more than a degree. As a student here you have the opportunity to take part in a wide range of events, with some or all of the costs paid for by the School.

Course details: Modules | Fees and funding | Entry requirements | How to apply.

Whether articulated as 'World Class Commissioning' in the NHS, 'Place-Shaping' in Local Government or 'End-to-End Offender Management' within the Criminal Justice system, it is clear that strategic commissioning is a core task of many public bodies today.

The first course of its kind in the UK, this programme is aimed at developing participants' understanding of the politics, principles, evidence and skills associated with public service commissioning and how these interact across organisational boundaries. It is designed for senior managers and policy-makers working in or with public commissioning organisations or with an interest in developing their careers in this direction.

This programme is jointly offered by the Institute of Local Government Studies and the Health Services Management Centre.

Who is the programme for?

This forward-thinking programme is designed to help the leaders of such organisations navigate the complex political, strategic and operational terrain that their roles present. It is designed for managers and policy makers working in or with public commissioning organisations and others wishing to develop their understanding of the commissioning role.

The programme can be studied part-time over two / three years or full-time in one year.


MSc participants study four core modules, plus any two specialist option modules and a dissertation. Diploma participants follow the same module/sector stream choices as their MSc colleagues but are exempt from the dissertation element. Certificate participants choose one of the four core modules, plus any two other modules of their choice.

Compulsory core modules:

* Compulsory for PGCert participants
** MSc participants only

Optional modules from the following:

Two compulsory modules must be taken from the Health Services Management Centre (HSMC), in addition to one optional module

The optional modules listed on the website for this programme may unfortunately occasionally be subject to change. As you will appreciate key members of staff may leave the University and this necessitates a review of the modules that are offered. Where the module is no longer available we will let you know as soon as we can and help you make other choices.

Fees and funding

INLOGOV MSc fees 2019-20
  Full time Part time
Home/EU students £10,530 £5,265
Overseas students £16,995 -

*This is the first-year fee; second-year fees are liable to rise slightly with inflation/increases in University fees generally.

Please check with the Department for the latest fees information.
Learn more about fees and funding.

Postgraduate Loans for Masters students

The Postgraduate Student Loan has increased its maximum loan amount to £10,609. For more detailed information view our Postgraduate funding page.

Scholarships and studentships
Scholarships may be available. International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government.

For further information contact the School directly or visit 

For EU students applying for the 2020/21 academic year

The UK Government has confirmed that EU students will continue to be eligible for 'home fee status' for entry in September 2020, and will continue to have access to financial support available via student loans for the duration of their course. For more information take a look at the website.

Entry requirements

The normal admission requirement for our other taught postgraduate programmes is a good first degree or an equivalent professional qualification. Subject to interview (and sometimes to a special test) candidates without a first degree may be admitted. Candidates without such qualifications who wish to complete an MSc may initially be registered for a Graduate Certificate/Diploma, and then, subject to satisfactory performance, their registration will be upgraded to Postgraduate level (Certificate/Diploma or MSc).

Learn more about entry requirements.

International students:

Academic requirements

We accept a range of qualifications, our country pages show you what qualifications we accept from your country.

English language requirements

You can satisfy our English language requirements in two ways:

How to apply

Monday 1 July 2019 is the application deadline for international students (Tier 4) who wish to study in the United Kingdom. We are not able to consider applications for 2019 made after this date. The deadline for Home/EU (non-Tier 4) students is Monday 12 September 2019. Applications will reopen for 2020 entry in early October 2019.

When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online. Further information regarding how to apply online can be found on the How to apply pages

Apply now

Our approach to teaching and learning is participant-centred in two ways. First, the programme explores and makes links between the ideas, models and skills for public service and participants' own work experiences and organisational contexts. As a result, participants' contributions, in the form of discussion and exploration of case studies, are particularly important, and assist in the creation of an educational environment in which a significant component of the learning derives through interactions between programme participants.

Second, we recognise that different individuals learn best in different ways. Some will prefer lecture inputs for the frameworks, theoretical perspectives and challenge to thinking that these can provide. Others will tend to favour the more practical sessions and/or the time spent in syndicates with colleagues exchanging experiences and perspectives on issues under consideration or in addressing specific tasks, case studies and problem-solving.

Typically modules are assessed through a variety of essay-type and project-based assignments. From the outset, we provide participants with clear guidance on assessment work and individualised tutorial support is available throughout the programme to help each participant make the most of their studies with us. Participants studying at Masters level will be expected to write a dissertation – this may be linked to activities at their workplace.


Departments from across the School of Government and Society are all based within the recently refurbished Muirhead Tower. Following a £50million refurbishment, Muirhead Tower offers state-of-the-art teaching and research study facilities including free wifi throughout the building and dedicated study areas for postgraduate research students.

Muirhead Tower comprises 12,000sq.m of floor space between two towers. The tower includes a number of sustainable features including solar shading (known in the trade as brise soliel) to control temperatures, as well as low energy fans; timed lighting to reduce energy waste; natural ventilation systems and a heat source taken from the University’s combined heat and power generator.

The space has been designed to create modern, attractive spaces for teaching and research accommodating 150 academic offices, 230 "hubs" for post graduate research students, teaching rooms for up to 100 people and a 200 seat lecture theatre.


Typical paths include career progression within the public sector, with the participant’s aspirations being more saleable with a supporting qualification. Transferability of skills also supports participants to change organisations or pathways within public and related sectors.

The qualifications will also support postgraduates seeking an entirely new career within the public sector, such as management.