- 2–5 years
Start of programme: November / February / April / July
Mode of Attendance: Distance Learning
Our MSc Public Policy and Management programme will enable you with the conceptual tools and the practical skills to analyse, understand, and play a role in the policy and administrative process.
The modules of the programme will equip students with theoretical knowledge about policy-making, policy implementation, and the management of public sector entities. A variety of modules will provide students the possibility to deepen their understanding of more specific areas such as, for example, the management of human resources in the public sector, the public financial management process, the decentralisation of public functions and the collaboration between public and private entities. Along the way, students will develop capabilities to analyse, critically appraise and communicate which will provide valuable assets for their professional activity and career prospects.
The subject area of public policy and management refers to all systems, processes and tools that public authorities employ to fulfil citizens’ expectations and deliver public services. Whatever the domain of intervention – for example, from healthcare to energy or from poverty to environmental preservation – public authorities make decisions about how to assess the present state of affairs and future tendencies, whether anything should be done about them, and how they can use resources and mechanisms to steer the conduct of individuals, firms and NGOs towards the desired effects.
Why study MSc in Public Policy and Management at SOAS
- we're ranked 11 in the UK and 2 in London for Business and Management by the Guardian University league table
- programmes are delivered by a multicultural and international teaching body, who regularly publish in top international journals
- you will develop an excellent understanding of key issues shaping international business strategy
- we are specialists in the delivery of more that forty African and Asian languages. As the economies of the Global South continue to expand, knowledge of another language and other cultures will be a big asset in the world of commerce and international trade
- you will be joining our community of alumni and academics who have an impact on the outside world of academia
As a graduate of this programme you will be well prepared for high positions in national and sub-national government sectors, international organisations, regional development and aid agencies, and NGOs.
For more information email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The boost to my self-confidence was huge
“For my MSc, I was interested in making use of my 25 years’ experience of central government policy making, to obtain a higher degree. At the time, I was working for the European Commission in Brussels, commuting by Eurostar each week, which meant that, on my commute, I had time to myself to do nothing but read and/or write. Distance learning meant that I could fit my studying schedule very much around my work diary. At times, the learning experience was challenging––sometimes more challenging than my job!––but the sense of achievement at the end, and the boost to my self-confidence, was huge. I would advise other distance learning students to keep in regular contact with central SOAS and, if possible, have contact-group discussions with fellow students, particularly those doing the same course/module as yourself.”
Anne Lambirth, Cyprus, MSc Public Policy and Management, 2002
I woke up every morning at 4AM and studied until 7AM
“I needed a formal framework in which to establish all of my past management experience, and the degree helped me to get the necessary theory behind the practice. At the time, I was working for the OCSE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe), in a very demanding job, and I chose distance learning because it would have been impossible to go to class fulltime. I woke up every morning at 4AM and studied until 7AM. Then I prepared for work. I also worked on the degree at weekends. The qualification has meant that I can now apply for most positions with the UN system, and I am currently employed with the United Nations World Food Programme.”
Rodolfo Losada, Rome, MSc Public Policy and Management, 2007
Distance learning helped me organise my work schedule and studies
“I have always been interested in studying public policy, and distance learning was suitable for me because of my work commitments. At the outset, it was not easy to cope with studies and work but, gradually, the flexibility of the distance learning mode helped me to organise my work schedule and studies effectively. Overall, it was a great experience, because I could interact with other students through the online discussion forums. The feedback from my tutors was also very useful. My qualification has provided me with a brilliant opportunity to embark on a learning path, and I am now employed by the Ministry of Social Integration and Economic Empowerment.”
Grace Koolmon, Mauritius, MSc Public Policy and Management, 2010
I was able to understand the public sector and its challenges
“I was involved with local government as a councillor in Johannesburg, when I was invited by CEEF (Centre for Education in Economics and Finance) Africa to do an MSc in Public Policy and Management. I wanted to study with an international institution and SOAS looked ideal. Distance learning was suitable for me so that I could work and study at the same time. I was disciplined and ensured that I read the work every day, and took some time off to do the assignments and study for the exams. The qualification meant that, in local government, I could better understand the issues and be able to question officials when I thought they were wrong; I was able to understand the workings of the Public Sector, with all its problems and challenges.”
Solomon Cowan, Johannesburg, MSc Public Policy and Management
You will study six modules selected from the list below.
If you wish to complete the Dissertation you must study Research Methods.
- Decentralisation and Local Governance
- Environmental and Social Impact Assessment
- Financial Reporting (IPSAS)
- Human Resource Management and Development
- Managing Organisational Change
- Privatisation and Public Private Partenerships
- Project Appraisal
- Project, Programme and Policy Evaluation
- Public Financial Management: Audit and Compliance
- Public Financial Management: Planning and Performance
- Public Financial Management: Revenue
- Public Policy and Management: Development Assistance
- Public Policy and Management: Perspectives and Issues
- Public Policy and Strategy
- Regulation of Infrastructure and Utilities
- Research Methods
- The IMF and Economic Policy
Find out more
To find out more about this programme, including module details, please visit the MSc Public Policy and Management section of the Centre for Financial and Management Studies website.
The information on the programme page reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session. If you are a current student you can find structure information on the previous year link at the top of the page or through your Department. Please read the important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules.
Teaching & Learning
The MSc Public Policy and Management is made up of six modules. Each module is studied in one for four 10-week sessions. You can only take one module at a time, but each module is typically available in at least two of the year's study sessions. This gives you the flexibility to plan how you study during the year, enabling you to fit your study in with your professional, family and personal commitments.
You will be individually assigned an online academic tutor for the duration of each module with whom you can discuss academic queries at regular intervals during the study session. You will also have a named administrator providing you with help and advice throughout your studies.
Before the start of each module you have enrolled on, you will be sent a package containing all of the study materials that you need to complete the module – the study guide, textbooks, a collection of key articles, and any module related software.
To make your experience as a distance learning student more complete and rewarding, we provide access to the Virtual Learning Environment, which is a web-accessed learning environment. Via the VLE, you can communicate with your assigned academic tutor, administrators and other students on the module using discussion forums. The VLE also provides access to the module Study Guide and assignments, as well as a selection of electronic journals available on the University of London Online Library and the SOAS Library.
For each module, you will sit a three-hour examination, held on a specified date in September/October (dates are communicated in May/June), and complete two assignments during the module study session. Assignments are submitted and feedback given online. Examinations are weighted 70% and the assignments are weighted 15% each.
- Flynn, N. and Asquer, A. (2016), Public Sector Management. London: SAGE
- Wu, X., Ramesh, M., Howlett, M., and Fritzen, S. A. (2017), The Public Policy Primer: Managing the Policy Process. London: Routledge
As a graduate of this programme you will be well prepared for senior positions in national and sub-national government sectors, international organisations, regional development and aid agencies, and NGOs.
A Student's Perspective
CeFiMS offered me a truly unique experience of top class education combined with an opportunity to achieve my full potential…
How to Apply
To make an application, please complete our online application form. For more information about the application procedure and deadlines, and the supporting documentation required, please visit the admissions section of the Centre for Financial and Management Studies website.