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Study information

Programme Specification for the 2023/4 academic year

MSc Public Policy

1. Programme Details

Programme nameMSc Public Policy Programme codePTS1HPSHPS07
Study mode(s)Full Time
Academic year2023/4
Campus(es)Streatham (Exeter)
NQF Level of the Final Award7 (Masters)

2. Description of the Programme

The MSc Public Policy programme is a postgraduate taught programme centred on Politics and drawing on related disciplines including sociology, law and education. The MSc offers a transformative educational experience and will educate a new generation of public policymakers and policy analysts, making them familiar with essential concepts, theories, methods and principles involved in the formulation, implementation and analysis of public policy.

 

The Programme offers rigorous analytic training for analysis, evaluation, decision-making in public policy at its core and allows specialisation in policy skills and/or policy subfields through a range of optional modules. The MSc gives students an understanding of policy engagement across public and private sectors and gives them skills and knowledge for further research in public policy, including Phd research at Exeter, or to pursue a range of careers related to policy through working in public or private organisations.

 

The MSc Public Policy will appeal to students from a range of backgrounds including STEMM, social science students and inter-disciplinary humanities students looking to develop skills and knowledge about public policy. In this way it is a bridge between undergraduate and postgraduate research and broader employment for undergraduates at Exeter and other institutions. The Programme is also attractive internationally through focusing on salient international policy problems including the environment, sustainable economic development and public service provision. Distinctive features and unique selling points include:

 

-Teaching is research-led, ensuring students learn cutting edge skills and knowledge at the heart of contemporary public debate. This approach is enabled especially by the faculty teaching the modules on the programme in Politics and related social science disciplines. The international contacts of the team leverage the potential for collaboration on a global scale (for example in bringing in external speakers). Faculty teaching on the programme are active in a range of organisations to enable this including the UK Political Studies Association, Public Management Research Association, International Public Policy Association and European Consortium for Political Research. The MSc draws on initiatives including Policy@Exeter which is focused on linking research with policy making and the prioritisation of solving policy challenges drawing on different disciplines. The strengths the research related to the MSc are reflected in REF2014 results and the REF2021 submission, and 11th ranking worldwide in the 2020 Shanghai/ARWU Ranking of Academic Subject for Public Administration (which is the unit covering much public policy activity for this ranking), as well as a ranking of 51-75 in the 2020 Shanghai/ARWU Ranking of Academic Subject for Politics (with Politics ranked 51-100 in the 2020 QS rankings).

 

-Teaching methods draw on the latest learning and support from Global Enhance, and will be agile and resilient to any future potential public health restrictions on universities. This includes blended learning opportunities and the use of digital learning methods. More generally, some seminars include insights from practitioners, meaning students are introduced to the ‘lived experience’ of workers in public policy. This can be done face to face or by digital participation which has expanded the possibilities for this aspect of provision on the Programme. Student learning is innovative in drawing on methods for preparation for the seminar discussions and seminar based group work, class debate and discussions, small-group and individual presentations and simulations.

 

-Teaching applies learning to real-world challenges and operating in a complex problem space. Students have opportunity to practice how their 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.

 

-The range of topics and challenges (including fairness in policy systems and inequalities in access to public services) is consistent with the University’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion policies and will increase the attractiveness of the Programme to under-represented students (including BAME, disabled, LGBQT+ and women).

 

-Assessments extend beyond well-established essays to include the creation of policy briefings, preparation and delivery of policy plans and reflective learning logs –opportunity will be given for creative use of qualitative and quantitative data content in reflective blogs as appropriate to the issues addressed.

 

-Opportunities in the dissertation allow students to focus on specific interests from their research or employment oriented interests. The programme will have additional engagement opportunities with external partners (public and private organisations) when working on their dissertations if appropriate to the topic, drawing on our existing extensive contacts with organisations in the UK and internationally (for example, Exeter City Council, Devon County Council, the Met Office, UK central government departments, World Bank, European Commission).

 

 

3. Educational Aims of the Programme

  • The programme delivers skills, knowledge and a student experience to enable participants critically to engage with complex public policy problems in their future research or other employment. Students will be challenged to work beyond their previous disciplinary perspectives and experience and so to move beyond their comfort zones.

 

  • Students experience working with students, staff, and external partners from a range of disciplines, backgrounds, and sectors. The dissertation, if appropriate to topic, enables contact with public or non-governmental organisations. This helps develop skills relevant to working with organisations of the kind that could offer career opportunities for students graduating from the programme. Over time, an alumni network will further help consolidate these links, and faculty involved in supervising dissertations already have contacts with a broad range of relevant organisations. 

 

  • at the conclusion of the programme, students will be able to demonstrate a range of attributes across the following sets:
  • Knowledge:
  • A coherent and solid knowledge and understanding of public policy theories, methods and critiques of these approaches
  • A coherent and solid knowledge and understanding of public policy at local, regional, national and international levels, and understanding of how social, political and economic contexts affect public policies
  • Intellectual, thinking and analytical skills:
  • The ability to devise and sustain arguments related to public policy, including discussing and critically engaging with theories and ideas from a variety of disciplines
  • The ability to analyse academic materials to identify their key arguments and underlying assumptions and to construct arguments drawing on appropriate theories and ideas, as well as on empirical evidence
  • The ability to exercise independence of thought, including a willingness to challenge their own previous assumptions
  • The ability to formulate research questions, design a research strategy and work independently to address those questions.
  • Practical skills:
  • An ability to critically engage with ideas, theories, methods and evidence
  • An ability to examine data and theories using a multi-disciplinary social science approach grounded in public policy
  • Research techniques in using specialised libraries and resources (including data available on the web) related to public policy
  • An ability to read and engage with a variety of types of literature – reports, papers, articles, books – incorporating different types of data and methodology and disciplinary perspectives
  • An ability to use and critique a range of tools, techniques and approaches used in public policy practice
  • Transferable skills:
  • The ability to present ideas, oral and written, in a clear, well-structured manner
  • Understanding of how to use a variety of sources, and interpret the data contained in those sources
  • The ability to work to deadlines and within time constraints
  • The ability critically to engage with complex ideas and arguments
  • The ability to engage in meetings through presenting, discussing and constructively offering critiques
  • The ability to work productively in, and contribute to groups
  • The ability to work independently across a range of tasks including a dissertation project focused on the student’s own definition of the question to be addressed by it

 

  • The educational aims enable career paths for MSc Public Policy graduates are well established and evidence from similar programmes shows 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 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

4. Programme Structure

The MSc Public Policy is a one-year full-time programme of study at National Qualification Framework (NQF) level 7 (as confirmed against the FHEQ). If the programme is taken part-time, 60 credits are taken in year 1 and 60 credits plus a further 60 credits (dissertation) are taken in year 2

5. Programme Modules

The following tables describe the programme and constituent modules. Constituent modules may be updated, deleted or replaced as a consequence of the annual programme review of this programme.

The following tables describe the programme and its constituent modules. Constituent modules may be updated, deleted or replaced as a consequence of the annual programme review. Details of the modules currently offered may be obtained from the University of Exeter website.

Stage 1


Compulsory Modules

CodeModule Credits Non-condonable?
POLM887 Public Policy Process 30Yes
POLM886 Dissertation 60Yes

Optional Modules

The optional modules account for 90 credits 

 

CodeModule Credits Non-condonable?
MSc Public Policy option modules 2023-4
POLM016 Food Systems, Alternative Food Networks, and Ethical Consumption 15 No
POLM148 Brexit: Causes, Interpretation and Implications 30 No
POLM220M Management and Governance: Comparing Public Administration around the World 30 No
POLM222M The Politics, Policy and Practice of Sustainable Development 30 No
POLM158 Digital Politics and Policy 30 No
POLM651 State and Society in the Middle East 30 No
ARAM235 Contemporary History and Politics of the Gulf and the Arabian Peninsula 30 No
ARAM225 Gender and Politics in the Middle East 30 No
POLM063 Qualitative Methods in Social Research 15 No
POLM086 Quantitative Data Analysis 30 No
POLM809 Applied Quantitative Data Analysis 15 No
SOCM950 Science Technology and Society 30 No
LAWM689 The Family, Law and Social Change 15 No

6. Programme Outcomes Linked to Teaching, Learning and Assessment Methods

Intended Learning Outcomes
A: Specialised Subject Skills and Knowledge

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)
On successfully completing this programme you will be able to:
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) will be...
...accommodated and facilitated by the following learning and teaching activities (in/out of class):...and evidenced by the following assessment methods:

1. Understand the relationships between, and the rationale for public policy theories and methods and be able to select appropriate strategies for policy development, implementation and evaluation and analysis at relevant stages of the policy process;
2. be competent at implementing a range of policy analysis techniques using a variety of appropriate methods
3. be proficient in understanding evidence including data from large scale surveys, administrate data and open data sources;
4. be able to understand the construction of evidence including data sets;
5. be competent in descriptive and basic inferential statistics and be able to;
6. be able to critically evaluate and interpret their own research findings using advanced quantitative methods and refine research in light of findings.
7. Understand the stages of the policy-making process.

All 7 ILOs are achieved through a variety of activities from traditional lectures and tutorials to group work, computer lab work, simulations and technical trainings.

 

1 and 7 are developed across the programme, the core module introduces all the specialist subject skills, 2-6 are further developed and ensured through the dissertation. 

These ILOs 1-7 are assessed through a combination of term-time essays, policy briefings, assignments and learning logs. The combination varies from one module to the next according to credit value in conformity with College Assessment Norms. The core module Polm887 uses a policy report and learning log to assess 1-7.

Intended Learning Outcomes
B: Academic Discipline Core Skills and Knowledge

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)
On successfully completing this programme you will be able to:
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) will be...
...accommodated and facilitated by the following learning and teaching activities (in/out of class):...and evidenced by the following assessment methods:

1. Gather, organise and deploy evidence and information about public policy from a variety of primary and secondary sources.
2. define researchable policy problems and formulate questions and hypotheses;
3. Construct reasoned argument, synthesize relevant information, and critically analyse subject material.
4. Manage own learning self-critically.
5. be able to carry out high quality and informed research independently;
6. be competent in critically evaluating the collection, analysis and interpretation of evidence about policy and the operation of policy systems using a variety of techniques

ILOs developed throughout the programme, with progression to independent control of the process by the dissertation module.
1, 2, 3,4 are developed through self assessment of assignments, staff feedback on formative work, and student self-appraisal in core modules.

5 is developed from in-class training and lectures  

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, developed through independent supported research (the dissertation)

1,2,3,4, 5, 6 are assessed through a combination of term-time essays, policy briefings, assignments and learning logs. The combination varies from one module to the next according to credit value in conformity with College Assessment Norms. The core module Polm887 uses a policy report and learning log to assess 1-6.

Intended Learning Outcomes
C: Personal/Transferable/Employment Skills and Knowledge

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)
On successfully completing this programme you will be able to:
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) will be...
...accommodated and facilitated by the following learning and teaching activities (in/out of class):...and evidenced by the following assessment methods:

1. Communicate effectively and fluently in speech and writing;
2. Use information and communication technology (ICT) for the retrieval and presentation of information;
3. Work independently, demonstrating initiative, self-organization and time-management;
4. Collaborate with others to achieve common goals
5. Perform effectively – under the supervision of a mentor – in a demanding and international work environment
6. understand the role of evidence based decision making in public and commercial life;
7. understand the principles of public policy and policy-relevant research – including the development of evidence-based policy;
8. develop good communication skills when delivering material to inter-disciplinary audiences.
9. be able to communicate complex evidence and methods to a lay audience with policy or societal focus;

1, 8, 9 are developed in presentations, class discussion and written assignments.
2 and 3 are developed through presentations, written assignments and the work placement
4 is developed through group work in module seminars

5 developed through supervision sessions in the dissertation

6 and 7 are developed through module readings, class discussion and written assignments

1,2,3,4, 5, 6 are assessed through a combination of term-time essays, policy briefings, assignments and learning logs. The combination varies from one module to the next according to credit value in conformity with College Assessment Norms. The core module Polm887 uses a policy report and learning log to assess ILOs 1-9.

7. Programme Regulations

Classification

Full details of assessment regulations for all taught programmes can be found in the TQA Manual, specifically in the Credit and Qualifications Framework, and the Assessment, Progression and Awarding: Taught Programmes Handbook. Additional information, including Generic Marking Criteria, can be found in the Learning and Teaching Support Handbook.

8. College Support for Students and Students' Learning

9. University Support for Students and Students' Learning

Please refer to the University Academic Policy and Standards guidelines regarding support for students and students' learning.

10. Admissions Criteria

Undergraduate applicants must satisfy the Undergraduate Admissions Policy of the University of Exeter.

Postgraduate applicants must satisfy the Postgraduate Admissions Policy of the University of Exeter.

Specific requirements required to enrol on this programme are available at the respective Undergraduate or Postgraduate Study Site webpages.

11. Regulation of Assessment and Academic Standards

Each academic programme in the University is subject to an agreed College assessment and marking strategy, underpinned by institution-wide assessment procedures.

The security of assessment and academic standards is further supported through the appointment of External Examiners for each programme. External Examiners have access to draft papers, course work and examination scripts. They are required to attend the Board of Examiners and to provide an annual report. Annual External Examiner reports are monitored at both College and University level. Their responsibilities are described in the University's code of practice. See the University's TQA Manual for details.

(Quality Review Framework.

14. Awarding Institution

University of Exeter

15. Lead College / Teaching Institution

Faculty of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (HASS)

16. Partner College / Institution

Partner College(s)

Not applicable to this programme

Partner Institution

Not applicable to this programme.

17. Programme Accredited / Validated by

0

18. Final Award

MSc Public Policy

19. UCAS Code

Not applicable to this programme.

20. NQF Level of Final Award

7 (Masters)

21. Credit

CATS credits

180

ECTS credits

90

22. QAA Subject Benchmarking Group

23. Dates

Origin Date Date of last revision