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MA/PGDip Global Public Policy

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Course Type
Postgraduate, Taught

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MA Global Public Policy at University of Birmingham

Policy making is becoming an increasingly complex process in the 21st Century.  The context in which we make policy is radically changing, alongside the nature of the issues policymakers are required to address.

Traditional models of policy making are facing challenges from below, through the drive to devolution, and from above, as supra national forms of governance continue to evolve. Alongside, these developments, social issues, such as pollution, crime, and migration, increasingly transcend national boundaries, to present further challenges to policy makers. 

This exciting programme seeks to understand the ways that policy is formulated within this evolving and dynamic context, by drawing on the core concepts of policy analysis and theories of policy change.  It will offer insights into the policy actors, coalitions and forms of evidence, that shape the creation of both ‘good’ and ‘bad’ policy, as well as providing a detailed understanding of the policy making architecture that characterises local, regional and supranational institutions.  Moreover, the programme will explore the social, political, economic and historic contexts in which policy is formulated and the ways that power influences policy formulation.

As well as considering theories of the policy process, the programme offers the opportunity to study across a range of global policy issues and social problems, such as poverty, migration, crime, and homelessness, to understand these theories in action. 

Through a suite of module options students can tailor the curriculum to match their interests and career plans. For those students interested in gaining experience in the workplace, we have pathways that incorporate a placement module. 

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MA Global Public Policy (12 months)

Core Modules

  • Policy Futures: Theories and Concepts in International Policymaking (20 credits)
  • Global Public Policy Institutions and Networks (20 credits)
  • Dissertation (60 credits)

Optional Modules* (80 credits from the list below):

  • Globalisation, International Migration and Citizenship (20 credits)
  • Migration, Superdiversity, Policy and Practice(20 credits)
  • Third Sector in Social Policy(20 credits)
  • Crime and Social Harm(20 credits)
  • Poverty, Wealth and Inequality(20 credits)
  • Applied Qualitative and Quantitative Data Analysis(20 credits)
  • Sociology of Race and Racism(20 credits)
  • Gendering Migration and Diaspora (20 credits)
  • Migration and Development(20 credits)
  • Policy Evaluation (20 credits)
  • Philosophies of Welfare: creating new societies? (20 credits)
  • Changing Attitudes to Social Issues(20 credits)
  • Transforming Identities(20 credits)
  • Transforming Societies(20 credits)

* The optional modules listed for this programme may unfortunately occasionally be subject to change. Where the module is no longer available we will let you know as soon as we can and help you make other choices 

Placement Pathway

MA Global Public Policy (with Integrated Placement) (21 months)

This programme includes three elements. Six taught modules (from list above) are taken during the first year. In the second year, you will complete a 12,000-word dissertation on a social policy subject of your choice and undertake a 20-week work-based experience in a local public, private or third sector organisation.

Postgraduate Diploma Global Public Policy (with Integrated Placement) (9 months)

This programme combines four taught modules (from list above) with an opportunity for an eight-week workbased placement in a local public, private or third sector organisation. The modules are taken during the Autumn and Spring Terms with the work-based placement starting in March and continuing through to the end of the Summer Term in June.


Fees 2022/23


  • Code 979D MA Global Public Policy £9,810
  • Code 861D MA Global Public Policy with Integrated Placement £7,800 in year 1 and £3,900 in Year 2
  • Code 864D PGDip Global Public Policy with Integrated Placement £6,540


  • Code 979D MA Global Public Policy £22,140
  • Code 861D MA Global Public Policy with Integrated Placement £18,360 in year 1 and £9,180 in year 2.
  • Code 864D PGDip Global Public Policy with Integrated Placement £14,760

Postgraduate Loans for Masters students

A postgraduate loans system for Masters degrees in the UK will provide up to £11,836 for taught and research Masters courses in all subject areas starting after August 2022. 

Learn more about fees and funding

Scholarships and studentships

International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government. More information about international scholarships.

For further information contact the Student Funding Office

How To Apply

1 July 2022 is the application deadline for international students applying through the student route who wish to study in the United Kingdom. We are not able to consider applications for 2022 made after this date. The deadline for Home students is 31 August 2022.

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

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Our Standard Requirements

For entry onto this programme you will normally have an undergraduate degree of at least a 2:1. Applicants with a 2:2 degree classification will be considered on a case by case basis, if you have extensive related work experience. Speakers of English as a second language will be required to hold an IELTs 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in each band or equivalent qualification.

Learn more about entry requirements

International Requirements

The mission of the  Department of Social Policy, Sociology and Criminology in the  School of Social Policy is not just to ‘understand the world’, but to also ‘change it.’ Consequently we are at the forefront of cutting edge social science research that informs and influences public debate.

Our achievements

In turning this mission into practice, we are proud of our many achievements.  Our academics are recognised leaders in their field, working alongside UK government departments and supra national organisations, such as the European Commission and United Nations to bring about positive social change.  More than 2/3rds of our research is rated as ‘world leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ in terms of its rigour, significance and originality, and we have extensive international links with like-minded partners at Harvard, Melbourne, Peking, Vancouver, Seoul and beyond.

Why choose to study in the Department of Social Policy, Sociology and Criminology?

In the Department of Social Policy, Sociology and Criminology, we believe that our research should inform the delivery of our teaching.  This means that you will be taught by those who are involved in cutting edge research and who write the publications that you will study. We have over 50 academic experts, that are engaged in policy debates, and offer first hand insights into policymaking across a range of national and global policy domains.

Teaching and learning takes place across a variety of forms, including traditional lecture, interactive lectures, small group seminars, computer lab based sessions. We also believe that our teaching should be delivered not only through the classroom but through the social world itself. In particular, being located in the city of Birmingham one of the most diverse cities in the UK and the youngest city in Europe (largest percentage of the population under 24), this offers access to a ‘social laboratory’, that brings the issues that you study alive.   A number of our modules utilise field trips and we have extra-curricular activities that offer students trips to Birmingham City Council and the Houses of Parliament. 

Your degree will predominantly be assessed through a range of coursework, such as traditional essay, policy reports and dissertation - currently two of our modules utilise written examination as a mode of assessment. You will be offered the opportunity across core modules to complete formative assessments and to receive feedback which can be used to develop your writing style, structuring and critical reasoning, without the mark carrying into your degree classification. 

The programme is designed for those who intend to pursue a range of policy related careers, within local, regional or global policymaking institutions and will equip you to work across a number of policy domains.  It will equip you with the policy analysis skills necessary to examine and evaluate policy outcomes; alongside, a broader range of social research methods required to research substantive policy issues.  

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