Master of Public Policy


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Program Description

Master of Public Policy

The Master of Public Policy degree is a study program jointly designed by the European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder) and the Humboldt University Berlin and administered by the HUMBOLDT-VIADRINA School of Governance gGmbH.

It addresses individuals having a higher degree of Education working in the field of politics, economics or civil society institutions, enabling them to develop, promote and implement adapted solution to different social challenges.

The fields of politics, economic and civil society can however no longer act alone in addressing the major challenges our societies are facing. In line with the overall approach of the HUMBOLDT-VIADRINA School of Governance, the goal of the Master in Public Policy is therefore to offer you the training you need to work as a socially and politically committed entrepreneur, able to make decision and orient change, but also able to mediate and interact with and within the three areas of economics, politics and civil society.

To do so the Master put at the core of each student course of study a real project – i.e. a program to answer a problem your organization is addressing or a development plan for an original idea you may have - which constitute the underlying idea of the entire course of study.

Through the study of nine different modules touching all the most relevant aspect of Public Policy and Governance, the multidisciplinary approach, the in-house seminars, the constant confrontation with colleagues, and the continuous referral to a concrete project, you will acquire and develop the necessary capacity and competencies - and develop the professional’s network – that you need to realize your own sustainable project idea.

But it will also lead you to develop your own approach to your own set of topics and tasks while gaining from the insight of others’ professionals’ perspective – be them the expert intervening in the course, or your course colleagues.

Apply now and make a change!

Program Structure

OverviewAlso in term of study structure, the objective of the HUMBOLDT-VIADRINA School of Governance is to strike a balance between:

  • Theoretical work and practical implementation;
  • Individual and Group work;
  • In-house training and distance learning;
  • Knowledge transfer and learning based on experience.

This approach is reflected in the grading system: to qualify to receive the Master, students must complete all the study program components, to reach a total of 90 credit point according to the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System

  • Introductory Week - 5 ECTS-credits
  • Modules (Tasks and assignments) - 45 ECTS-credits
  • Project Development & Report - 20 ECTS-credits
  • Master Thesis - 20 ECTS-credits

One ECTS credit point requires approximately 30 hours of coursework. The estimated workload includes both distance learning and in-house seminar preparation and study time. The total duration of the master is two years (four semesters), for a cost of 4.500 Euros per semester. The HVSoG offers flexible payment possibilities.

Both academics and practitioners will accompany the student in their education process. Each student will have the joint support of a project coach and of an individual tutor. The Administrative Team will be available for any organizational or administrative issues.

Distance Learning

Upon completion of the inscription process, students gain access to the HVSoG Master in Public Policy online platform. Here students will find learning materials (original courses – prepared by the School of Governance’s academics and practitioners; bibliography; assignments and tasks to be individually worked out by students etc.) but also an interactive platform to communicate with other students.

They will also find the “Learning Journal”, accessible only by each individual student and his evaluator. Although the Learning journal is not part of the final grading system (students receive only a pass/fail grade every six months) it is a fundamental instrument to facilitate students’ reflection on their own learning process.

Grades obtained for each module tasks and assignments are part of the final grade.

In-house Seminar

During the 2 years MPP course, students will spend a total of 40 days in In-house seminars, during which they will assist to lectures held by courses’ authors and contributors and interact with other students. Seminars will be divided into four sessions of ten days. The Introduction week (5 days at the beginning of the Master) is part of the first session.

The participation in all sessions is mandatory, and the introductory week is part of the final grade.

Hands-on Projects

Hands-on projects are the heart of the HUMBOLDT-VIADRINA School of Governance Master. They represent the link between theory and practice, and the underlying idea of the curriculum of the Master in Public Policy.

With their application, students must propose a project idea; this idea will be developed during the Master, allowing students to implement a project applying directly, and in their actual working environment, what they learn in the course. Through this process, students will acquire the concrete and practical skills needed to deal with complex decision-making processes. For the organization in which the student works, this problem-solving approach entails a real added value.

While a multitude of projects may be feasible, an accepted project must be:

  • Sustainable: sets institutional standards for implementation into place and provides the basis for future innovations.
  • Comprehensive: projects must imply the creative use of existing resources, as well as the individuation of new ones;
  • Practical: projects must have a practical relevance, and be feasible during master timeframe (2 years);
  • Goal Oriented: projects must deal with a problem from within the student’s own organization and have the potential to successfully implement a long-lasting change;
  • Cooperative: projects implement both national and international collaboration
  • Responsible: projects must be socially relevant, and support the concept of Good Governance
  • Understandable: project goals and objectives must be relevant and clear;
  • Challenging: projects must deal with issues which have not already been successfully addressed.

The completion of an approx. 2000 words Project Report is a prerequisite to the admission to the final exam, and a part of the final grade. The work on the project may be the subject of the Master Thesis.

Master Thesis

Before accessing the final exam student must write an original Master Thesis upon a subject of their choice, approved by the School. The Master Thesis, approximately 20.000 words long, must clearly prove the understanding of the multidisciplinary approach of the School. The Master Thesis will be defended in front of two supervisors, one proposed by the student outside the School and one to be chosen by HVSG.The discussion of the Thesis is the first component of the Final Exam.

Completion of the thesis is a prerequisite to the admission to the Final Exam, and grade obtained is part of the final grade.

Final Exam

To be admitted to the final exam, students should have:

a) Completed all Courses Modules

b) Completed the Project report

c) Completed the Master Thesis

The Final Exam consists in the discussion of the Master thesis, and in a Group Work consisting in:

a) A short presentation of each group member upon the learning process in their own Hand-on Project

b) The development of a task assigned by the Jury at group level

c) A report on the workgroup discussion

The grades obtained in the discussion of the Master Thesis and the Group works are part of the Final Grade. The Group Work grade is also assigned to an individual base.

Pre-requirements for the admission to the Master are:

  • Excellent Higher Education Degree
  • At least two years of working experience (project/voluntary works included)
  • Proven English proficiency; additional languages a plus; please notice that ALL the courses will be held in English.
  • a test result of at least 20 points in the TOEFL computer-based test, at least grade B in the Cambridge Advanced Certificate or an IELTS grade of at least 6; or
  • school education in English of at least four years’ duration; or
  • equivalent proof, e.g. residence in an English-speaking foreign country for a sufficient period; or
  • clear evidence of being a native speaker of English
  • Excellent Computer Skills
  • A project concept to be developed / implemented in a specific organization or institution.

Application Deadline


Fees and Financing

The costs of the Master in Public Policy is of 4,500 Euro per semester, for a total of 18.000 Euro (4 Semesters) for the two years Master Program. The HUMBOLDT-VIADRINA School of Governance offers flexible options for financing those fees, in addition to various scholarship possibilities.

In addition, students may apply for a different scholarship.

Last updated Jan 2018

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About the School

What is the idea behind the HUMBOLDT-VIADRINA School of Governance? What is it that defines this School, and in what ways is it unique? When we started this project several years ago, what was it we h ... Read More

What is the idea behind the HUMBOLDT-VIADRINA School of Governance? What is it that defines this School, and in what ways is it unique? When we started this project several years ago, what was it we hoped to achieve? These are the questions that we continue to ask, and the questions that put this enterprise to the test. We want to analyze and design. With the foundation of the HUMBOLDT-VIADRINA School of Governance, we have broadened Alexander von Humboldt’s notion of unity in research and teaching to also include the idea of a ‘forum.’ It is within this forum that the development and transfer of theoretical knowledge provide the basis for action. The School’s new threefold approach to study is what will inspire students to act on those problems that exist in the spaces between politics, business, and civil society. We want to be a catalyst for reform. The goal of the praxis-oriented Master of Public Policy degree program offered by the European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder) and the Humboldt University Berlin’s HUMBOLDT-VIADRINA School of Governance is the conception and successful implementation of concrete projects. The goal of study at the School is to provide students with the means to theoretically base and reflect upon the possibility to effect real and lasting societal changes: A fundraising concept that remains on the drawing board is of little use, but in application one is able to test its potential to bring about necessary reforms. In this way, the HUMBOLDT-VIADRINA School of Governance is an institution built upon diverse foundations: we conduct applied research and offer a practically oriented Master of Public Policy degree, while, in acting as a forum, we bring people together who collectively address the challenges posed by society today. We are an independent and critical actor, who contributes, becomes involved and, ultimately, effects change. We will measure actions against actual outcomes, not only rely on abstract, theoretical standards. Read less
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