Master of Public Policy

The Brandt School’s Master of Public Policy (MPP) is a two-year interdisciplinary degree program designed for young academics and professionals who wish to pursue a career in public service, including government agencies, international organizations, and the non-profit sector. The MPP program equips future decision-makers with the knowledge and practical skills they will need to advance the public interest and make sound policy decisions.

Drawn from political science, economics, sociology, public administration and law, the MPP curriculum builds the skills and knowledge base required of a professional policy analyst. It includes courses in political and economic analysis, statistics, public management, and ethics. Throughout the coursework, research and field experience, students develop their understanding of the policy process and the institutions and actors involved in that process.

A Guide to the MPP Curriculum

The MPP is a full time, two-year, 120 credit program consisting of a core curriculum (policy analysis, leadership, management modules), an internship and an intensive policy project (practical training module), elective courses taken from five potential areas of specialization (specialization modules), and soft skills and language training courses (basics and language module).

The mandatory modules make up the core curriculum, while the specialization modules, the practical training module, and the basics and language module can be chosen according to the personal interests and professional needs of each student.

During the first three semesters students complete both the core curriculum and the specialization modules. The fourth semester will be devoted to the master thesis. In each semester students should earn approximately 30 credit points.

The curriculum consists of the following modules:

  • Policy Analysis Module
  • Management Module
  • Leadership Module
  • Basics and Language Module
  • Specialization Modules
  • Practical Training Module
  • Graduation Module

Core Curriculum

The MPP's core curriculum consists of the Policy Analysis, Management, and Leadership Modules. Courses in the modules of the core curriculum are mandatory.

Policy Analysis Module (1st semester)

Building on the interdisciplinary approach of the Brandt School, this module includes an introduction to public policy as a discipline and at the same time methods and frameworks also from other disciplines, which are useful when analyzing public policy. The module comprises four courses and lays the foundation for the upcoming three semesters.

  • Introduction to Public Policy
  • Quantitative Analysis and Empirical Methods
  • Economic Analysis and Modelling
  • Comparative Public Policy or an elective course

Management Module (2nd semester)

As the pressure to offer public goods at a lower cost and higher quality is increasing, in the second semester the core module focuses on public sector management. In this module, students learn more about management within the public sector and should by the end of the semester be able to understand the key issues of managing public service provision and make sound policy decisions within the limits of financial budgets.

  • Strategic Management and Public Administration.
  • Financial Management.

Leadership Module (3rd semester)

The Master of Public Policy at the Willy Brandt School prepares future leaders who have major management responsibilities. Therefore, the students will learn more about political advocacy and ethical leadership during the third semester.

  • Political Advocacy and Leadership.
  • Ethical Questions in the Public Sector.

Specialization Modules

According to personal interests and professional aims, electives can be chosen in the specialization modules. Students must choose at least two of the four specialization modules, which are usually completed in the second and third semesters. Conflict Studies and Management is, however, an area of concentration, which means that students take Conflict Studies and Management I and II. Each specialization module includes a variety of courses and helps students develop and specialize their individual profiles.

  • European Public Policy.
  • International Affairs.
  • Public and Nonprofit Management.
  • International Political Economy.
  • Conflict Studies and Management.

The European Public Policy specialization module is designed to give students a better understanding of how the integration of European countries changed policy making – not only within the respective nation-states but also on the international level. Courses within this module will also cover policy-making processes from different areas of competences of the EU. After completing this specialization module students should have a deeper understanding of European governance.

The International Affairs specialization module introduces students to the theories of international relations, international organizations, how they function, and which of the policy problems affect countries and regions on a global level. Some courses included within this module are Policy-Making at the United Nations: The Growing Importance of Multilateralism and International Law.

As part of the Public and Non-profit Management module students learn more about the specific demands, characteristics, and capacities within the non-profit sector. Courses within this module focus on regulatory and management structures and the provision of public goods, especially taking into consideration the financial situation of the public sector in many countries.

The International Political Economy module links the political and economic power, both of which are ever-increasing. International political economy primarily focuses on the ways that political forces shape and interact with economic systems. Courses within this module analyze international relations in combination with political economy and include Cultural Political Economy, Impact Evaluation of Development Programs and Globalization and Development Policies.

Area of Concentration International Conflict Management

Students can study the MPP with a focus on conflict studies and management. This specialization track provides students with a sound theoretical basis for analyzing contemporary conflicts and developing responses to them. Furthermore, it conveys practical skills to critically analyze policy interventions, and develop approaches to conflict resolution.

Students specializing in conflict studies and management earn 18 credit points in this module. Different from all other specialization areas in the MPP, the CSM concentration consists of two modules (Conflict Management 1 and Conflict Management 2) and may not be combined with another area of specialization.

The module Conflict Management 1 comprises an overview of theories and concepts in international conflict studies, strategic affairs and conflict management as well as an introduction to practical skills in conflict management. The module is interdisciplinary in design and includes elements from history, political philosophy, international relations, psychology, and sociology.

The module Conflict Management 2 consists of courses on special topics in conflict studies and conflict management. It allows the students to deepen their knowledge in various areas of their particular interest and to enhance their respective regional expertise.

The aims of the modules are to:

  • provide a coherent overview of conflict studies and conflict management theory and practice,
  • provide different theoretical frameworks that may be used to organize historical knowledge and interpret contemporary policymaking,
  • examine theories and models of state-, institution-, and peace-building, and to evaluate attempts to manage, resolve, or transform conflicts and
  • provide an ambitious example of the manner in which the multi-disciplinary approach associated with Conflict Studies can overcome the limitations associated with studying conflict through any single disciplinary lens.

Practical Training-Module

Public policy is the intervention in and the design of the political reality. Therefore, having our students work with practical examples and solve real-world problems is an important part of our teaching philosophy.

Internship (between 2nd and 3rd semesters)

An internship between the second and third semester is a requirement for the completion of the degree. Designed to be an integral part of our student‘s education, the internship's primary purposes are:

  • to offer students the opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills they have learned from the classroom in a work setting.
  • give students a practical perspective on policy analysis and public management.
  • to help them compare their abilities and interests with requirements in particular fields of public policy.

The Brandt School provides assistance in securing an internship position in government agencies, international organizations, NGOs, other non-profit or for-profit organizations. In addition, the Brandt School has a partnership with the SWP (German Institue for International and Security Affairs) and offers up to two internship spots a year for highly qualified Brandt School students.

Project group (3rd semester)

In the third semester, all students are required to participate in a project group. Students work in smaller teams, which are led by either a professor or an external partner, on public policy problems. The objective of project groups is that students can put the acquired knowledge into practice and work on specific project tasks. At the same time, students learn how to successfully work in teams.

Basics and Language Module

In this module, students primarily work on their language skills. Another option is to deepen the knowledge of the basics of policy analysis or soft skills. Being part of the University of Erfurt, MPP students can choose from a great variety of language courses offered by the language center. In addition, the Brandt School offers special German classes for foreign MPP students. Other courses that fall under this module are International Negotiation, Formal and Informal Communication in a Professional Environment, Introduction to International Mediation.

  • International students will usually enrol in German classes.
  • German students learn another foreign language.
  • Students can deepen their fundamental knowledge of public policy in additional courses and self-study units.


Students complete the MPP program by writing a master’s thesis. They will research and deal with a specific problem in public policy in depth. Aided by a colloquium and assisted by a supervisor, students conduct a study on a particular policy issue with a distinct practical orientation.

The usual length of the thesis is 25,000 words. The time frame for completion is five months.


We seek to attract talented and motivated applicants with a passion for and commitment to public policy.

Successful candidates for our program possess strong analytical skills, curiosity and a probing mind, and a commitment to understanding and solving problems. Students with a wide range of backgrounds can fulfill these criteria. Some enter the program directly after their undergraduate degree, while others have several years of professional experience. Although most public policy students have graduated from the social sciences, we do not expect you to have a specific academic education.

It’s mainly about the kind of person you are: If you have an analytical mind and an entrepreneurial mindset, are a strategic thinker, and a go-getter, then we look forward to receiving your application.

Admission Requirements

The prerequisites for applying to the Master of Public Policy program are:

  • higher education entrance qualification (i.e. high school diploma, Abitur).
  • college or university degree (Bachelor, Master, Diploma, state exam, etc.) equivalent to a German Bachelor's degree with a minimum duration of 6 semesters.
  • above-average grades or professional performance.
  • analytical talent and a pronounced interest in political problems.
  • very good English language proficiency ( TOEFL: Internet-based test (iBT): 90 or above, Paper test: 577 or above. Please note: the ITP test cannot be accepted; IELTS: 6.5 or above (for all categories - Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking); Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English: A or B).
  • Candidates who received their degree from an English-language college or university are not required to submit proof of their English language proficiency in the form of a test score report. Instead, they must submit an official letter from their university stating that English was the language of instruction, all coursework, and all examinations.

Your Application

Application checklist

We are pleased that you are considering our Master of Public Policy program for your graduate studies. The following documents are required for an application:

  • Curriculum Vitae.
  • Statement of Purpose.
  • Certified Copies of Diplomas, Degree Certificates, and Transcripts.
  • Two Letters of Recommendation.
  • Proof of English Proficiency.
  • Copy of your Passport.

After receiving your application, we may ask you for further documents depending on your personal and educational background.

Application process

Please submit your application for the MPP online and make sure to read through the instructions provided on the application process carefully before submitting your application. The Admissions Committee can only consider complete applications. Please note that we do not accept applications via email.

If your application is successful, you will be given conditional admission. Final admission will be only granted after we have received certified hard copies of your documents by mail.

We look forward to receiving your application!

Dates and Deadlines

The next application period begins on January 1st, 2018.

The admissions committee reviews the applications to the program on a rolling basis during that period. If you are from a country that requires you to have a student visa to enter Germany, we recommend that you apply as early as possible, so you have adequate time to obtain your visa.

The MPP program officially begins each year on October 1st (whereas the lecture period starts in mid-October).

Tuition Fee and Living Expenses

Tuition Fee

The MPP tuition fee is €1,500 per semester or €6,000 for the entire program (four semesters). The tuition fee can be paid either as a whole prior to the start of the program or it can be split up and be paid before each semester starts (€1,500 per semester).

Semester Service Fee ("Semesterbeitrag")

A student semester fee, which currently totals EUR 208, must be paid to the university each semester. The student semester fee includes entitlement to free public transportation within and around the city of Erfurt and general administration services provided by the university.

Living expenses

With an estimated average cost of living of €735 per month, studying in Erfurt is affordable. It is one of the most inexpensive university towns in all of Germany.

Further expenses

Please consult our FAQ section for estimates of additional costs such as health insurance, the cost of study materials, and travel to and from Erfurt.

Financing your Studies

There are several ways for prospective students to obtain financial support in order to help them finance both the tuition fees and the cost of living in Germany.

Since expenses at the Willy Brandt School of Public Policy require a substantial financial commitment from both the student and the Brandt School, MPP candidates are encouraged to start their financial planning several months in advance of applying to the program. This includes realistically assessing your costs and identifying sources of financial assistance.

International students who need to apply for a student visa must prove that they have sufficient funds before coming to Germany.

Program taught in:
  • English
Last updated May 9, 2019
This course is Campus based
Start Date
2 years
6,000 EUR
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