- Explore the benefits of policy, how to assess costs, ethical issues and gain an understanding of how policy is made along with its consequences and effective evaluation methods
- Opportunity to specialise in policy topics according to your academic or career interests
- Benefit from real-world teaching with input from practitioners in public policy and practical assessments such as the creation of policy briefings and the preparation and delivery of policy plans
- Learn qualitative and quantitative research methods gaining the tools necessary to understand processes, to analyse important policy issues and assess policy outcomes
- Gain the skills necessary for a range of national and international careers in local and national government, think tanks, NGOs and the private sector
Top 20 for Public Administration in the Shanghai Rankings of Academic Subjects 2022
Top 10 in the UK for Politics
Top 100 for Politics in world subject rankings
Flexibility to follow your interests with a world-leading cluster of researchers
We are looking for graduates with a 2:1 or above in their first degree in a related discipline (social sciences or humanities). While we normally only accept applicants who meet this criteria, if you have a high 2:2 or equivalent, are coming from a different academic background which is equivalent to degree level, or have relevant work experience, we would welcome your application.
Entry requirements for international students
English language requirements
International students need to show they have the required level of English language to study this course. The required test scores for this course fall under Profile B. Please visit our English language requirements page to view the required test scores and equivalencies from your country.
You will explore a range of disciplines, including political science, sociology, economics, law, public management, criminology, development and conflict and security studies. Topics include the ‘public’ aspect of the policy process (focusing on public ownership, funding and regulation) and the policy cycle approach (development, formulation, implementation and analysis/evaluation).
We will introduce you to a range of key concepts such as the theory of markets, failures, externalities and public goods. To support you in this, you will learn qualitative and quantitative research methods providing you with the tools necessary to understand processes, to analyse important policy issues and assess policy outcomes.
The dissertation provides an opportunity to develop your academic skills and complete extended research in your chosen policy area. You’ll also choose from an array of optional modules from across the social sciences enabling you to tailor your programme according to your academic and career interests.
The modules we outline here provide examples of what you can expect to learn on this degree course based on recent academic teaching. The precise modules available to you in future years may vary depending on staff availability and research interests, new topics of study, timetabling and student demand.
UK fees per year:
£12,000 full-time; £6,000 part-time
International fees per year:
£24,300 full-time; £12,150 part-time
We invest heavily in scholarships for talented prospective Masters students and have Global Excellence Scholarships available for international fee paying students applying for January 2024 entry and September 2024 entry.* For more information on scholarships, please visit our scholarships and bursaries page.
*Please see the Terms and Conditions for each scheme for further details of eligible programmes and candidates. Awards may vary from year to year.
Teaching and research
Teaching is research-led, ensuring that what you learn will be cutting edge and at the heart of contemporary public policy methods and debate. Teaching methods typically include:
- Academic seminars
- Presentations, simulations and class discussions
- Small group work
- Guided reading and teacher supported analysis and reflection
- Digitally enhanced learning support including electronic resources and interactive learning tools
Teaching applies learning to real-world challenges and operating in a complex problem space. You will have the opportunity to practice how your learning is engaged within wider social, economic, and policy debates. Its strengths include Politics expertise in both environmental policy and behavioural public policy and administration research, and citizens, the state and technology.
Assessments will extend beyond well-established essays to include the creation of policy briefings, preparation and delivery of policy plans and reflective learning logs – opportunities will be given for the creative use of qualitative and quantitative data content in reflective blogs as appropriate to the issues addressed. The dissertation will allow you to focus on specific interests from your research or employment-oriented interests.
Research informed teaching
You will benefit from the latest research conducted by world-leading scholars through our research-led teaching. Relevant activities and events include those run by the Exeter Public Policy Group, the Policy@Exeter initiative, Centre for Elections, Media and Parties, Centre for Political Thought, Centre for Advanced International Studies, Centre for European Governance, the Security and Strategy Institute and the Exeter Q-Step Centre.
Students can take advantage of our seminar series and its long-running and highly successful annual postgraduate conference which brings together researchers from across all humanities and social sciences disciplines.
Our research is funded by leading research councils and is used by governments and networks around the world.
Professor Oliver James
Professor Duncan Russel
Professor in Environmental Policy
Professor Oliver James
Oliver works on the politics of public services, citizen-provider relationships, public sector organisation and reform, executive politics (particularly politician-administrator relations) and regulation of publicly owned and/or funded bodies and services. He uses a range of methods including survey and field experiments.
As well as his primary interest in academic research and teaching, he works with public sector organisations in the UK and elsewhere, and has acted as a consultant to bodies including the World Bank, OECD, UK Treasury, UK National Audit Office and UK Audit Commission.
Professor Duncan Russel
Professor in Environmental Policy
Duncan Russel is a Professor in Environmental Policy. His research and teaching interests include UK and European climate, climate and public policy, policy appraisal and coordination, evidence and policy interactions and budgetary politics.
Employer valued skills
- Solid knowledge and understanding of public policy at national and international levels, and understanding of how social, political and economic contexts affect public policies
- Argument development and debate
- Empirical research and analysis
- Ability to examine data and theories using a multi-disciplinary social science approach grounded in public policy
- Effective communication and presentation
- Time management and working to deadlines
The career paths for MSc Public Policy graduates are well established with good employability prospects including in the UK and internationally, for example:
- Civil servants in central government or local government professionals, workers in think tanks, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and consultancies
- Policy officers and researchers for Members of Parliament and Members of the European Parliament, the European Commission
- Other public and private sector organisations in a range of sectors, for example, Universities UK, Transport for London, the Legal Services Commission, Accenture, Overseas Development Institute, United Nations Development Programme, Deloitte and Touche, Serco, KPMG, Confederation of British Industry, the Institute of Government, the Legatum Institute
- Further research study at Exeter or other research-intensive universities
Employment and professional development
Our excellent Career Zone provides invaluable support, advice and access to graduate employers. Visit the website for more information, including podcasts and profiles, about the range of support available.