What is public policy? Who is it shaped by? Which institutions are involved? What impact does it have on an economic, social and cultural environment that is increasingly globalised?

In September 2022, the School for Policy Studies launched this distance learning version of the popular MSc Public Policy (MPP) programme. Seven core units from MPP have been tailored to online teaching modes, providing an opportunity to study topics such as those above without relocating to Bristol. The online learning environment will include bespoke lecture videos, live online seminars with dedicated preparation tasks, individual personal tutoring, online social events, and individual dissertation supervision.

This programme engages with contemporary policy concerns and the increasing complexity of the policy environment. It explores the contested dynamics of policy making and policy implementation and provides students with the skills to understand, critically evaluate and develop policy alternatives in a local, national and international context. The programme seeks to prepare the next generation of policy makers to address a range of policy issues and understand the role and impact of different stakeholders including business and the voluntary sector as well as international and regional organisations.

It is intended for those who aspire to pursue professional career options, including policy planning, policy consultancy and policy officer positions for local and national government, international organisations, non-governmental organisations, and policy consultancy.

As well as considering generic policy concerns and theoretical literature in units such as Power, Politics and the Policy Process; Governance, Institutions and the Global Political Economy; and The Economics of Public Policy, the programme develops empirical research skills in Informing and Evaluating Public Policy and the Dissertation. The programme also gives students an opportunity to explore a range of substantive policy issues, including Corruption and Public Policy; and Public Management and Organisations. Every set unit considers policy in an international and comparative context.

Programme structure

There are six core units for this distance learning programme, which will run from late September to early May. You must also complete a dissertation of between 10,000 and 15,000 words, which normally begins in late February and is submitted in September.

The set core are:

  • Governance, Institutions and the Global Political Economy
  • Power, Politics and the Policy Process
  • Informing and Evaluating Policy
  • The Economics of Public Policy
  • Public Management and Organisations
  • Corruption and Public Policy

Visit our programme catalogue for full details of the structure and unit content of our MSc in Public Policy Analysis (distance learning).

Entry requirements

An upper second-class honours degree (or international equivalent) in a relevant social science discipline, such as sociology, social policy, social welfare, public administration, social administration, demography/population studies, accounting and finance, economics, political science, management, history, philosophy and law. Other academic backgrounds will also be considered.

See international equivalent qualifications on the International Office website.

Read the programme admissions statement for important information on entry requirements, the application process and supporting documents required.

Go to admissions statement

If English is not your first language, you will need to reach the requirements outlined in our profile level E.

Further information about English language requirements and profile levels.

Fees and funding

UK: full-time
£11,600 per year
Overseas: full-time
£26,500 per year

Fees are subject to an annual review. For programmes that last longer than one year, please budget for up to an 8% increase in fees each year.

More about tuition fees, living costs and financial support.

Alumni discount

University of Bristol students and graduates can benefit from a 25% reduction in tuition fees for postgraduate study. Check your eligibility for an alumni discount.

Funding for 2023/24

Further information on funding for prospective UK and international postgraduate students.

Career prospects

Graduates from our MSc in Public Policy Analysis will seek roles that focus on strategy, policy development and implementation, or policy research. Potential employers include local or central government departments; national or international non-governmental organisations; and international institutions, such as the International Monetary Fund and the United Nations.