MSc in Public Policy and Human Development

Maastricht University, Maastricht Graduate School of Governance

Program Description

MSc in Public Policy and Human Development

Maastricht University, Maastricht Graduate School of Governance

Master of Science in Public Policy and Human Development

What to expect?

• Intensive one-year programme

• Short, focused courses for professionals and researchers

• Valuable skills and relevant knowledge

• Classes in small groups

• Interesting guest lecturers

• Skills trainings, workshops, seminars, presentations and debates

All in all, this should be an intensive, inspirational year.

• Analyzing the impact of immigration policies

• Building resilient social systems that are capable of dealing with crises

• Creating a social protection net and growing governance capacity alongside economic development

• Promoting sustainability while respecting the rights of present and future generations

• Structuring international trade and collaboration

• Coordinating policy with international partners

• Fostering innovation and stimulating growth

These issues are typical public policy concerns. More than ever there is a clear need for specialists in policy analysis, given the growing complexity of the issues at hand, the peculiarities of ‘government within a context of governance’ and the interconnections between international and local levels of decision and implementation processes. The domain of public policy is becoming increasingly complex, demanding a combination of theoretical background, technical skills and specific area knowledge. Today successful public policy demands a high level of knowledge and skills to analyze policy options and their impact in, for example, innovation, development, social safety nets or healthcare organizations.

The one-year MPP programme consists of two semesters of studies and a thesis. The academic programme during the fall semester is identical for all students. This semester the focus is on fundamental knowledge in areas of public policy, and economics, as well as vital skills in policy analysis and research methods.

In the spring semester, the students choose one of seven areas of specialization:

• Social Policy Design and Financing (in co-operation with the ILO)

• Trade and Development Law

• Migration Studies

• Risk & Vulnerability (in co-operation with UNU-EHS)

• Regional Integration & Multi-level Governance (in co-operation with UNU-CRIS)

• Innovation, Institutions & Development


1 September – 31 August (12 months full-time study)

Dual degree

After successful completion of the programme, students will receive a dual Master of Science (MSc) degree in “Public Policy and Human Development”. The MPP is offered by Maastricht University and United Nations University, and is accredited with Dutch authorities. To express this partnership, MPP graduates receive a diploma from Maastricht University and a corresponding certificate from United Nations University.

Programme objectives

The MPP programme trains students to analyze, monitor and evaluate policies in order to be able to give recommendations for improving or replacing existing policies and for proposing new policies. Students are equipped with a variety of skills, tools and knowledge, which enable them to work resourcefully as policy designers and policy analysts in public and private institutions.

Student profile

MPP students come from diverse backgrounds. Some join the MPP immediately after completing a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree; others are mid-career professionals with various cultural and disciplinary backgrounds. The MGSoG aims to recruit highly
motivated students with strong academic records, a demonstrated commitment to public (international) affairs and/or an outstanding potential for career growth and leadership.

Fall semester: Introduction and overview

The fall semester consists of seven courses and a study month. The objective for this semester is to cover general aspects of governance, drawing on several academic disciplines such as political science, sociology, public finance and microeconomics, international relations, public management and public policy. This semester specifically aims to attain three goals:

1. to bring all our students up to speed on the basis in public policy, and public economics;

2. to equip all participants with quantitative and qualitative research methods needed for academic research and professional careers; and

3. to practice the core skills of policy analysis.

The fall semester prepares students for the detailed analysis of issues studied in the consecutive specialization.

Spring semester: Specializations

During the fall semester, students choose an area of specialization from the seven tracks offered in the MPP. Each track offers four courses covering one particular theme of public policy. The education director and instructors of the specializations are available to assist students with the selection of their specialization.

• Social Policy Design and Financing (in co-operation with the ILO)

• Trade and Development Law

• Migration Studies

• Risk and Vulnerability (in co-operation with UNU-EHS)

• Regional Integration & Multi-level Governance (in co-operation with UNU-CRIS)

• Innovation, Institutions & Development

Career prospects

In the first five years of operation, over 250 students have successfully graduated from the MPP. Many of them have gone on to work in public policy actors from the local to the international level. Our alumni are academically trained policy designers and analysts, working in the area of public policy, consultancy, NGO’s and academia. With the skills acquired in the programme, alumni are able to identify and review the different options and implement the best financial aspects, while ensuring the economic viability and sustainability of their policies. Policy monitoring, evaluation, innovative thinking, strong quantitative skills and critical analysis are logical elements in our alumni toolbox. Alumni will be able to work throughout the world in public and private institutions of both developed and developing countries, including national, regional and local governments, ministries, pension funds, market authorities, NGOs, as well as in international organizations and consultancies.

Given the diverse set of actors working in the field of governance, it is not surprising that many MPP alumni now work for private businesses — particularly consultancies such as KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers — and NGOs like the Global Reporting Initiative, African Parliamentarians’ Network Against Corruption or Civil Servants and Allied Workers Union of Zambia. On our website you can find a more detailed overview of our alumni employers.

Finally, a substantial share of our alumni has decided to continue doing academic research and has joined universities such as the London School of Economics and Political Science, Sciences-Po in Paris or Erasmus University, Rotterdam.

Application and Admissions

Each application will be reviewed by the Board of Admission. The tuition, admission requirements and application procedures are the same for all specializations of the MPP.

Admission requirements

• A Bachelor’s or Master’s degree from a relevant academic field such as economics, international relations, political science, law, social sciences, business administration, health sciences or public health.

• Adequate knowledge of pre-calculus mathematics and ideally descriptive statistics. This is judged by reviewing the content and grades of previous studies and/or the content and level of work experience.

• Basic knowledge of economics, social sciences, political science and/or law; this is measured by reviewing the content and grades of previous studies and/or the content and level of work experience.

• Proficiency in English; the minimum level accepted is 600 PBT, 100 IBT, 240 CBT (TOEFL) or 7.0 (IELTS).


The following documents must be included in the application:

• A letter of motivation (400-500 words) explaining the reason(s) why you chose the programme, what your plans for the future are, and in which you convince the Board of Admission that you have the intellectual capacities and personal skills to successfully complete the programme.

• An essay of 400 words related to one of the specialization topics that displays a basic knowledge of the subject matter, a sufficient level of English and an appropriate academic writing style. Please use references (in Word or PDF format).

• A certified copy of your Bachelor’s and/or Master’s degree

• A certified list of grades from your Bachelor’s and/or Master’s degree

• Two letters of recommendation by current or former professors or employers (original hard copies need to be sent directly to the Student Affairs Office)

• Proof of proficiency in English. The minimum level accepted is 600 PBT, 100 IBT, 240 CBT (TOEFL) or 7.0 (IELTS). Native speakers and students who have received their Bachelor’s or Master’s education in English are exempted

• Curriculum vitae

• Copy of valid passport

• Passport size picture

Tuition fees

Maastricht University has a lower and a higher tuition fee. Which tuition rate you pay depends on several factors, such as nationality, residence and whether this is your first or second study programme.

To give you an idea, the tuition rates for the academic year 2012/13 are*:

Lower tuition fee

Full-time Bachelor’s and Master’s students: € 1,713

Higher tuition fee

Full-time Master’s students: € 12,000

* No rights may be derived from the fees published in this brochure.


There are various scholarship opportunities for the Master’s programmes, e.g. Maastricht University High Potential Scholarship Programme, Nuffic, World Bank, Alβan etc. H

Application deadlines

The following deadlines apply for starting in September:

• students requiring a visa: 15 June, each year

• students requiring no visa: 15 July, each year

Student clubs and organizations

There are several student clubs in Maastricht, and many are internationally oriented, with a view to helping both Dutch and foreign students to integrate.

Our student organization DEMOS was set up by a group of enthusiastic students to combine social and academic activities between the students and researchers at MGSoG.

The United Nations Student Association (UNSA) is a student organization run by students from various faculties for all students at Maastricht University.

Open Days

Saturday 02 March 2013

Student for a day: Would you like a taste of our Master’s programme first-hand? We invite you for at day at MGSoG, to attend a lecture, a tutorial or simply meet current students or the course coordinator.

This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated August 17, 2016
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Sept. 2017
12 months
Full time
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students requiring a visa
Start date Sept. 2017
Netherlands Maastricht
Application deadline Request Info
students requiring a visa
End date Request Info
Duration 12 months
Price Request Info