MA/PGDip Global Public Policy

Start date
Course Type
Postgraduate, Taught

View the Fees and funding section.

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 supranational 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. As well as offering insights into the policy actors, coalitions and forms of evidence that shape the creation of both ‘good’ and ‘bad’ policy, it will also provide understanding of the policy making architecture that characterises local, regional and supranational institutions.  The programme will also 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 Global Public Policy 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, you will be able to tailor the curriculum to match your own interests and career plans. For those students interested in gaining experience in the workplace, we have pathways that incorporate a placement module.  


Unless indicated otherwise the modules listed for this programme are for students starting in 2024.

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)
  • Policy Evaluation (20 credits)
  • Philosophies of Welfare: creating new societies? (20 credits)
  • Transforming Identities (20 credits)
  • Transforming Societies (20 credits)
  • Climate Justice and Social Policy (20 credits)
  • Crime and Justice in a Globalised World (20 credits)

Placement Pathway

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

This programme includes three elements. Six taught modules (from the 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 the list above) with an opportunity for an eight-week work-based 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.

Please note: The modules listed on the website for this programme are regularly reviewed to ensure they are up-to-date and informed by the latest research and teaching methods. On rare occasions, we may need to make unexpected changes to compulsory modules; in this event we will contact offer holders as soon as possible to inform or consult them as appropriate.


Fees 2024 - 2025


  • Code 979D MA Global Public Policy £10,530
  • Code 861D MA Global Public Policy with Integrated Placement £8,400 in year 1 and £4,200 in Year 2
  • Code 864D PGDip Global Public Policy with Integrated Placement £7,020


  • Code 979D MA Global Public Policy £25,290
  • Code 861D MA Global Public Policy with Integrated Placement £20,940 in year 1 and £10,470 in year 2.
  • Code 864D PGDip Global Public Policy with Integrated Placement £16,860

Learn more about fees

Postgraduate Loans for Masters students

A postgraduate loans system for Masters degrees in the UK will provide up to £12,167 (for 2023 entry) for UK and EU students (with settled or pre-settled status) for taught and research Masters courses in all subject areas starting after August 2023. 

Scholarships and studentships

We know that postgraduate study is a big commitment. We offer a variety of scholarships and funding options to support you in your postgraduate studies. Explore our database to find a scholarship or funding opportunity that's right for you.

How To Apply

30 June 2024 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 2024 made after this date. The deadline for Home students is 30 August 2024.

Personal Statement

Entry to this programme is highly competitive and as a result your application and personal statement will be closely scrutinised by our Admissions Tutors. Please ensure that you spend some time familiarising yourself with the programme modules and outcomes. Personal Statements should be relevant to the programme and how you believe it will enable you to achieve your career goals.

How to apply

To apply for a postgraduate taught programme, you will need to submit your application and supporting documents online. We have put together some helpful information on the taught programme application process and supporting documents on our how to apply page. Please read this information carefully before completing your application.

Apply now

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. International applicants 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 Department of Social Policy, Sociology and Criminology is based in the School of Social Policy. Our mission is not just to ‘understand the world’, but to also ‘change it.’

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.  Research in the School of Social Policy was ranked in the top 10 in terms of its rigour, significance and originality in REF 2021, and we have extensive international links with like-minded partners at Harvard, Melbourne, Peking University, Vancouver, Seoul and beyond.

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

  • Our postgraduate degrees are delivered by experts in each field and offer students a wide range of optional modules, so that you can personalise your degree to your needs and interests.
  • The Department of Social Policy, Sociology and Criminology at the University of Birmingham is an internationally leading centre of research drawing together academic expertise in theory, empirical research and policy.

The Department has over 50 academic staff who contribute to a vibrant research culture. We have experts across 6 departmental research themes:

  • Civil Society and Volunteering
  • Crime & Social Harm
  • Poverty, Wealth & Inequality
  • Health and Wellbeing
  • Social Theory and Transformation
  • Migration, Diversity and Religion

The Department also hosts three leading research centres: 

You will be part of a dynamic academic department that hosts a range of external speakers and lunchtime seminars and will have access to a dedicated study space located in the department working alongside the academics who teach you.

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 who 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 and computer lab based sessions. We believe that our teaching should be delivered not only through the classroom but through the social world itself. 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. We offer extra-curricular field 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. The course aims to 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.  

Find out more about what career support is available to you.