MPP in Public Policy

University of Stirling

Program Description

MPP in Public Policy

University of Stirling

MPP in Public Policy

The Master’s in Public Policy (MPP) provides an advanced qualification in research and policy analysis. It allows you to develop the conceptual, analytical and practical skills required to flourish in the policymaking world, preparing you for a career in the public sector and vocations that make a contribution to the development or delivery of public policy.

The course can also be used as a springboard for further postgraduate research and combines core modules in policy and policy-making with optional modules in social research and policy-relevant disciplines.

If you want to use the degree to pursue research, to PhD level for example, you can take five courses in Applied Social Research. If you want to pursue an interest in other policy-relevant disciplines, you can combine a focus on policy and research with options in areas such as:

  • law
  • economics
  • behavioural science
  • social marketing
  • energy
  • environmental and international politics

The course is designed to meet your specific, individual requirements and the course is delivered by small weekly group seminars, with dedicated contact with the course leader.

You complete the course by producing a dissertation which applies intellectual rigour to a real world policy problem to equip the policymakers of the future.

Additionally, there is some scope to take modules from the new MSc in Gender Studies.

Structure and content

The course (of 180 credits) combines core modules on Policy Theory and Practice with optional modules in Social Research and policy-relevant disciplines. Its core modules (45 credits) focus on multi-level policymaking, identifying the responsibilities and policies of local, devolved, national and international decision-makers. We then identify the concepts, models and theories used to study policy and policymaking, comparing theories in political science with a range of policy-relevant disciplines (including economics, communication, psychology, management and social marketing). We also combine theory and practice by inviting a range of policy actors to give guest seminars as part of the core modules. You can choose up to five 15-credit modules in Applied Social Research (ASR), including Qualitative and Quantitative Analysis, Research Design and the Philosophy of Science. You can choose two 15-credit modules in law, economics, behavioural science, social marketing, gender studies, energy, environmental and international politics. If appropriate, you can also choose to replace some ASR modules with research methods modules in your chosen subject (such as the Gender Studies course ‘Feminist Research’ which is a prerequisite for its Research Placement module). The norm is to maintain a generally high level of contact between students engaged in the MPP and a small cohort of staff (teaching core and common ASR courses), but with the flexibility to take your own path. You complete the course by producing a 60-credit dissertation (around 12,000 words) which applies intellectual rigour to a real world policy problem. You will have the option to pursue a placement with a relevant organisation to allow you to tailor your research to a policymaker or policy influencer audience.

Delivery and assessment

The core modules are delivered in weekly seminars and the assessment is one piece of coursework. The 15-credit module titled ‘How Does the Policy Process Work’ includes a two-hour seminar per week and 3,000 word report. The 30-credit ‘Policymaking: Theories and Approaches’ has two two-hour seminars per week (combining weekly political science theory discussions with weekly guest seminars from practitioners and other policy-relevant disciplines) and a 5,000-word report. Most ASR modules are delivered in a series of half-day, one-day or three-day blocks and involve coursework from 3,000-4,000 words. Most policy-relevant options follow the core module format of the core modules – weekly seminars and one piece of coursework.

Career opportunities

The course combines subject-specific knowledge of the policy process with transferable skills in research and analysis. These are the skills required to flourish in a range of organisations in the public, private and third sectors. It prepares students for a career in the public sector and vocations that make a contribution to the development or delivery of public policy. It is also flexible enough to allow students to continue their postgraduate studies. Although the MPP is new, it builds on successful courses taught by the School of Applied Social Science. Over the past five years, over half of the graduates from the MSc Applied Social Research course have entered social research-related careers in the public, voluntary and private sectors, including a manager commissioning research for a local authority, a research fellow at a university and a senior research executive for a European-wide commercial research organisation. Over one third of its graduates continues with academic study and undertake a PhD.


  • 2016/17 Overseas £12,450
  • 2016/17 Home/EU £6,100
  • 2015/16 Overseas £11,900
  • 2015/16 Home/EU £6,000

Academic requirements

A minimum of a second class honours degree (2.1 preferred) or equivalent. Applicants without these formal qualifications but with significant appropriate/relevant work/life experience are encouraged to apply.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your English language skills:

  • IELTS: 6.5 with 6.0 minimum in each skill
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): Grade C
  • Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE): Grade B
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic): 60 with 56 in each component
  • IBT TOEFL: 90 with no subtest less than 20

If you don’t meet the required score you may be able to register for one of our pre-sessional English courses. To register you must hold a conditional offer for your course and have an IELTS score 0.5 or 1.0 below the required standard.

This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated October 26, 2016
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Aug. 2017
Part time
Full time
Start date Aug. 2017
United Kingdom Stirling, Scotland
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