International Public Policy MSc

Drive change through effective policy making


During this course, you’ll explore the development, possibilities and limitations of international policy-making, including cooperation issues, the impact of international law and norms, and the role of international organisations and non-state stakeholders in policy-making.

After successfully completing the course, you’ll be able to:

  • Critically analyse the processes, problems and possibilities of policy-making at an international level
  • Apply concepts and theoretical arguments to concrete cases of international public policy
  • Assess and explain the successes and failures of international public policy
  • Deal with the complex processes of international public policy-making in a creative and systematic manner, and make informed and substantiated judgements
  • Combine conceptual, theoretical and empirical materials in the analysis of international public policy
  • Pursue a meaningful career in public policy at international organisations such as the UN, WHO, IMF, or foreign offices.

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Course Details

Format: part-time and online (distance learning)

Tuition fees: £13,295 (MSc); £8,850 (PGDip); £4,450 (PGCert).

Course duration: two years (MSc); 15 months (PGDip); one year (PGCert)

Annual start dates: May, September

Next start date: 18th September 2023

Application deadline: 15th September 2023

Time commitment: approximately 20 hours per week

Why this course?

The course combines the specific theories, concepts and cases of public policy with international relations studies to ensure you gain a firm grasp of the decision-making and implementation processes involved in international public policy.


The International Public Policy MSc combines public policy knowledge and skills with broad and advanced knowledge of international relations today. There are 3 award options available for our International Public Policy programme: MSc International Public Policy – 4 modules plus dissertation. PGDip International Public Policy – 4 modules without dissertation. PGCert International Public Policy – 2 modules. There are 3 study blocks of 12 weeks each per year. Each course module runs for 1 study block, except for the dissertation which runs over 2 study blocks. Depending on whether you start your course in May or September, you’ll cover the following core modules: May start: -Contemporary World Politics: Theories, Concepts, Themes -Theories and Concepts in Public Policy -Evaluation and Delivery in Public Policy -Themes and Cases in US Foreign Policy -Dissertation – 12,000 words (MSc Only). September start: -Theories and Concepts in Public Policy -Evaluation and Delivery in Public Policy -Contemporary World Politics: Theories, Concepts, Themes -Globalisation and The International Political Economy of Development -Dissertation – 12,000 words (MSc only). Module details: This postgraduate programme combines the study of international relations with the analysis of public policy formation and state governance. Through this, you’ll gain an advanced understanding of how policy is made and how political institutions operate. Two of the modules will build your knowledge of theories, concepts, and cases of public policy, and two modules will offer in-depth insights into international projects. These will be followed by your final project. By the end of the course, you’ll hold the expertise needed to establish yourself in this field, analysing key public policy issues and designing effective policies to address them.
Module 1 - Contemporary World Politics: Theories, Concepts, Themes

This module is designed to provide you with a command of key concepts and theoretical traditions in international relations and an understanding of their relevance to contemporary themes in world politics.

We will evaluate political developments and statements and analyse critical themes in world politics. Through a close reading of advanced theoretical texts, you will expand your conceptual and theoretical knowledge and begin to think critically about competing interpretations of events, and longer term developments in international relations.

Online discussions will encourage you to compare and critically evaluate theoretical knowledge and to express your arguments effectively.

Module 2 - Theories and Concepts in Public Policy

This module will provide a structured introduction to key issues and concepts in policy analysis. It will give you a solid grounding in theories of the policy-making process while enabling you to apply those insights to practical case-studies of policy formulation and implementation in the real world.

The module will also provide you with background on the key traditions and approaches to public administration and policy-making in countries around the world, both developing and developed states.

Module 3 - Evaluation and Delivery in Public Policy

This module aims to provide a critical overview of the theory and practice of two of the crucial ‘end’ stages of the policy process: delivery and evaluation. It will examine how governments and public agencies around the world have sought to upgrade their delivery and evaluation capacity in recent decades.

The module will explore the development of theoretical and empirical academic literature and provide opportunities for students to apply this material to selected case studies relevant to the group. Practitioners will be encouraged to reflect on their practices and experiences.

Module 4 - Themes and Cases in US Foreign Policy

In this module, we will consider the principal forms in which US foreign policy has been practised and interpreted since the foundation of the Republic. Amongst these are American Exceptionalism and Anti-Americanism, ‘spheres of influence’, liberal interventionism and protectionist isolationism, Cold War containment, the ‘War on Terror’ following 9/11, and the strains on uni-polarity in the early 21st century.

Case studies linked to these themes will allow us to consider the role of Native Americans and immigration, the war of 1898, gunboat diplomacy in the Caribbean, the ideas of Woodrow Wilson, the Vietnam War, the consequences of the 9/11 attacks, and the challenges posed by China.

Module 5 - Globalisation and the International Political Economy of Development

This module provides you with a detailed examination and critique of theories of globalisation, an assessment of contemporary globalising processes, and how these particularly influence the developing world.

We will examine the analysis of contemporary manifestations of ‘globalisation’, including neo-liberalism, US hegemony and contemporary imperialism, capital flows, global commodity chains, state-market relations, patterns of global inequality, international institutions, and questions of cultural homogenisation/imperialism.

The module also looks at the ways in which ‘globalisation’ is resisted, focusing on the rise of transnational social movements and NGOs, and the politics of ‘anti-globalisation’, and how this relates to an ostensibly ‘post-development’ era.

In addressing these issues, the module concludes by asking the most important question: how do we think of ‘development’ in an era of ‘globalisation’, US hegemony, neo-liberalism and imperialism?

Module 6 - Dissertation (MSc only)

The title and subject of your dissertation will be agreed by your assigned tutor. A dissertation is only required if you study the full masters programme.

How you will learn

Benefits of learning online with us

How you will learn
Your time is valuable. Our 100% online courses are designed to fit around your existing lifestyle. Part-time and flexible enough to continue working, you can further your education and enhance your prospects without sacrificing your current commitments.
Your virtual learning environment
Lectures are delivered in Canvas, our virtual learning environment, using a combination of video, podcasts and online presentations, with clear links to further resources and downloadable materials, available on-demand.
Your interactive learning experience
Discussion forums will encourage you to interact with your peers, sharing opinions and debating current topics and issues in your field. You will also have the chance to engage with members of the academic team during regular webinars. All of the programme material will be made available for you to access whenever you need. Our rigorous online courses are designed to equip you with the knowledge and skills you need to move forward in your career. All our online modules are developed by Queen Mary academics and our approach ensures a learning experience equal in quality to our campus programmes. Find out more on our student support page.
Face-to-face events
Your course will be delivered completely online, however, you will get the chance to meet your coursemates, academic team, and guest speakers in real life at our optional face-to-face conferences and workshops.

How students study with us

• No visas or moving costs
• Access course from anywhere in the world
• Spend approx. 20-25 hours studying each week
• All course materials are available on demand
• Revise on the days and times that suit you best
• Course modules broken down into weekly
• Fit studies around work, family and social life
• Support with non-academic queries from a
student adviser team

Additional Support

As one of our students, you’ll have access to a range of services designed to support your studies and make your time with us as enjoyable as possible. -Our comprehensive online library of books, journals, and resources -A Student Advisor team to answer non-academic queries -Online software tutorials via LinkedIn Learning -The Students’ Union community -Career advice, CV creation, practice interviews, and more via our careers platform

Career prospects and opportunities

This MSc will give you knowledge and transferrable skills that you can use in a variety of international public policy settings. The programme will help you understand how agenda setting and policy making works, and how you move from agenda setting to decision-making and policy implementation.

You will learn about what instruments are available to you in a policy-making environment and how you can design, develop, implement and evaluate policy.

You will gain the ability to listen to or read complicated material and pick out key points quickly, an important skill in most jobs. You will also learn how to debate current issues with your peers and communicate your ideas effectively, both verbally and in writing.

The theoretical understanding and transferrable skills you develop on the MSc can not only help you perform better within your current role, but also make you very attractive to a range of prospective employers.

What careers support is available?

As an online student, you’ll have access to QM Careers and Enterprise for up to two years after you graduate. The service offers information and guidance on a range of topics, from choosing a career to succeeding at interview and starting your own business.

Graduates of our online MSc in International Public Policy have gone on to work in roles such as: Associate, African Import-Export Bank,Compliance Officer-Shanghai Commercial Bank-Enterprise Governance Contractor, Transport for New South Wales-Police Constable, UK Metropolitan Police Service- Policy Advisor, UK Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

How to apply

Benefits of learning online with us

The usual entry requirement for the International Public Policy MSc is for a 2.1 honours degree or international equivalent in a relevant subject, such as politics, international relations, history or economics.

However, if you have a 2nd class degree and at least three years’ relevant work experience, we may also consider your application.

If your first language is not English, you should also have one of the following:

  • IELTS Academic: 7.0 overall including 6.5 in Writing, and 5.5 in Reading, Listening and Speaking.
  • TOEFL: 100 overall including 24 in Writing, 18 in Reading, 17 in Listening and 20 in Speaking.
  • PTE Academic: 68 overall including 68 in Writing, and 51 in Reading, Listening and Speaking.

Taking your English language requirement test at home

The following tests are also being accepted for September 2023 entry:

  • HOME TOEFL: 100 overall including 24 in Writing, 18 in Reading, 17 in Listening and 20 in Speaking.
  • IELTS Indicator Test or IELTS Online Test: 7.0 overall including 6.5 in Writing, and 5.5 in Reading, Listening and Speaking.
  • PTE Academic Online: 68 overall including 68 in Writing, and 51 in Reading, Listening and Speaking.

If you’re unsure whether you’re eligible to apply, please get in touch with our course adviser team for advice.


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Share your details in order to receive information about this high quality online masters course.

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