The programme aims to provide students with a conceptual understanding of the core principles of public policy and public management and with the tools to apply knowledge to solve problems in the public sector. These competences and skills are extremely important to cope with the challenges that governments, public sector agencies, NGOs and businesses face nowadays. From migration to the eradication of poverty, from unemployment to the development of energy power, the many issues that societies encounter call for the capacity to analyse, understand, and formulate interventions to bring about improvements to the living conditions of the many. The core modules of this programme will provide you the means to tackle issues of policy-making and implementation, strategy in the public sector, and managing organisational change.
Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings
Start of programme: September
Mode of Attendance: Full-time or Part-time
- Minimum first degree with good grades in any subject equivalent to a UK upper second class honours
- One calendar year (full-time) Two or Three calendar years (part-time)
Introducing the MSc Public Policy and Management
Successful managers, politicians and professionals running public organisations need to display a range of skills and knowledge. Alberto Asquer, Lecturer of Public Policy and Management at SOAS, outlines some of the challenges that face them and which are addressed on the MSc Public Policy and Management.
What does the course involve?
The MSc Public Policy and Management provides students with an international perspective on current issues in the management of the public sector.
From the fight against climate change to the one against tax havens, and from the issues that arise from poor water and sanitation services to those that originate from youth who do not work or study (so-called NEET or Not in Education, Employment and Training), making and implementing public policies is a pivotal aspect of managing the public sector, which impacts the lives of many.
This MSc programme will look at the general issues that are encountered in designing and executing public policies. We do not focus on any particular policy domain or countries in the world. Rather, we look at the general issues of the policy cycle – how public policies are agreed on, how resources are allocated to implement the policies, and how we can ensure that policies are executed as intended. In addition, we look at several countries and regions in the world, because local context matters a lot – in such terms as the institution, history and cultural traditions. Students will have the opportunity to learn from policy experiences across countries and to contrast and compare how policy tools work under different conditions.
What kind of students will the course appeal to?
The programme will interest students who aim to have a career in the public sector including central governments, sub-national government, international organisations like the World Bank, and public agencies. The programme may also attract the interest of people who work or aim to work in business and in the third sector, because of the growing relationships between government and other actors within society and the economy.
Some of our students have some work experience, either in government or in private or non-profit organisations. Other students do not have any work experience but have just recently completed their undergraduate studies.
What is special about the course at SOAS?
SOAS is uniquely positioned with its concentration of expertise on Africa, Asia and the Middle East. This feature is partially reflected in the course contents where attention is placed on public policies in developing countries, although part of the contents also covers experiences in more industrialised countries and regions of the world.
A particular feature of the MSc Public Policy and Management is the combined attention to both public policy and public management issues. On the one hand, we pay attention to the making and design of public policies; on the other one, we also pay attention to the implementation or execution of policies – like the formulation of strategy of public agencies, organisational design issues, HR, management control, and the financial management of public sector entities. We aim to provide students with a broad perspective from ‘where public policies come from’ to ‘how the public sector delivers services to citizens and users’.
What do students do after graduating?
Most students enter or continue a career in the public sector, mainly in central government but also in the non-profit sector.
Students must take 180 credits. These are composed of 120 taught credits comprising core and optional modules and a 60 credit dissertation.
The 10,000-word dissertation is worth 33% of your final mark. During term 2 you will submit your dissertation proposal and be allocated an academic supervisor. Over the ensuing months you should meet with your supervisor at least three times before the end of term 3 for guidance. The bulk of your dissertation will be written over the summer to meet the mid-September deadline.
15PFMC989: Dissertation in Public Policy and Management - to the value of 60 credits.
Choose modules to the value of 60 credits from the list below:
List of modules (subject to availability)
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
All Masters programmes consist of 180 credits, made up of taught modules of 30 or 15 credits, taught over 10 or 20 weeks, and a dissertation of 60 credits. The programme structure shows which modules are compulsory and which optional.
As a rough guide, 1 credit equals approximately 10 hours of work. Most of this will be independent study, including reading and research, preparing coursework, revising for examinations and so on. It will also include class time, which may include lectures, seminars and other classes. Some subjects, such as learning a language, have more class time than others. At SOAS, most postgraduate modules have a one hour lecture and a one hour seminar every week, but this does vary.
More information is on the page for each module.
Building on the distance learning version of the programme, the Department of Financial and Management Studies (DeFiMS) maintains close links with employers in both the United Kingdom and abroad. We expect that many of our graduates will be employed as civil servants in central government administrations, governmental agencies, local governments, NGOs, super-national organisations, and consulting firms.
A Student's Perspective
The cultural diversity of the student body makes for a multi-dimensional learning experience