MPP Public Policy University of Stirling
Our Masters in Public Policy allows you to develop the conceptual, analytical and practical skills you’ll need to flourish in the world of policymaking. We prepare you for a career in vocations that make a contribution to the development or delivery of public policy.
Top reasons to study with us
#1 For overall student satisfaction, we're 3rd in Scotland and top 10 in the UK for Politics (National Student Survey 2022)
#2 State of the art knowledge from world-leading experts
#3 The course is flexible, and you can tailor it to your own interests
This course is extremely flexible, and you can tailor it to fit your particular interests. Core modules on Policy Theory and Practice are combined with optional modules in Social Research and policy-relevant disciplines. If you want to pursue an interest in other policy-relevant disciplines, you can also combine a focus on policy and research with options in areas such as:
- Economics and Behavioural Science
- Strategic Communications
- International Politics
You can also use this degree as a pathway to pursue research to PhD level by taking three modules in Applied Social Research.
As part of the Masters course, you must complete a dissertation. You’ll also have the potential to gain practical experience by pursuing a placement with a relevant organisation (with our help) – allowing you to tailor your research to a policymaker or policy-influencer audience.
Our staff have a wide range of connections with organisations in the public, private and third sectors. These can be used not only to pursue your placement-based coursework, but also build your own personal networks.
To gain your Masters degree, you must produce a dissertation of around 12,000 words that applies intellectual rigour to a real-world policy problem. You’ll have the option to pursue a placement with a relevant organisation, enabling you to tailor your research to a policymaker or policy-influencer audience.
The core modules of this course focus on policy analysis in the context of multi-level policymaking, identifying the responsibilities and policies of local, devolved, national and international decision-makers, and tailoring recommendations to those audiences. We identify the concepts, models and theories used to study policy and policymaking – comparing theories in political science with a range of policy-relevant disciplines. Those disciplines include everything from economics to communication, psychology, management and social marketing.
We also combine theory and practice by inviting policy actors to provide guest seminars as part of the core modules. The coursework fosters a range of skills, from blog posts to attract a wide audience to a research-intensive dissertation to answer a pressing policy question.
Each of the core modules on this course are delivered through weekly seminars on campus (with the option of online/hybrid attendance).
The first semester core module ‘The Politics of Policy Analysis’ includes a two-hour seminar each week. The second semester core module ‘Policymaking: Theories and Approaches’ includes a four-hour seminar each week – which combines weekly political science theory discussions with weekly guest seminars from practitioners and other policy-relevant disciplines.
Most Applied Social Research modules are delivered through a series of half-day, one-day or three-day blocks. The majority of policy-relevant options follow the same format as your core modules - weekly seminars and one piece of coursework.
The Applied Social Research component of your course is provided by the Faculty of Social Sciences, which is an ESRC-recognised postgraduate research training centre.
You’ll be assessed through a wide range of various coursework as part of your taught modules. That coursework includes blog posts, policy analysis, essays on practical lessons from policy theory, and the research dissertation.
There are no exams.
Professor Paul Cairney