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MSc in International Public Policy

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  • Entry requirements
    Entry Requirements Applicants should normally possess a first- or upper second-class Honours degree in social science of a UK university, or equivalent qualification.
  • Academic Title
    MSc in International Public Policy
  • Course description
    The MSc in International Public Policy provides students with a thorough grounding in public policy analysis in an international context.

    The course provides an understanding of :

        * The importance of global politics, international institutions and social movements in contemporary public policy-making;
        * The politics of public policy analysis at various levels of government and in a comparative context;
        * How to identify and design research proposals in the area of international public policy and how to conduct and disseminate such research.

    Students participating in this course will develop their skills and knowledge in the analysis of International Public Policy in an internationally renowned public policy research environment.

    Why might you want to do a course in International Public Policy?

    Target Market

    The course is designed to be suitable for two categories of student :

    Full-time students who wish to specialise in International Public Policy in order to :

        * Assist them in obtaining employment in a wide range of political, public sector, voluntary sector and private sector organisations
        * Proceed to a PhD by research using the skills acquired from the course
        * Obtain an academic research job.

    Part-time students already employed in public, private or voluntary sector organizations, who are in policy research or policy advisory positions and wish to obtain knowledge and skills to enable them to fulfil such roles more effectively.

    The course is designed to ensure that students have a grounding in public policy research generally, with a particular emphasis on further detailed exploration of the application of theories and methods appropriate to international public policy research.

    Structure of the Course

    The MSc is organised into core and optional classes. Students also complete a dissertation. The core classes provide an introduction to the theory and practice of public policy, as well as the wider International context within which public policy is made and implemented.

    The core courses are :

        * International Institutions and Regimes
        * Contesting Global Governance
        * Policy Analysis
        * Comparative Public Policy

    Core Classes

        * International Institutions and Regimes - This class provides an understanding of the theories, practices and processes through which global politics are organized, and an assessment of the future of international institutions and regimes in global governance.
        * Contesting Global Governance - This class investigates claims that increasingly globalised forms of participation and protest are emerging and seeks to evaluate their political significance by examining key policy controversies (security, economics, environment, human rights and regional integration).
        * Policy Analysis - This class examines the theoretical, practical and ethical issues involved in conducting policy analysis research, both research of policy and the policy process, and research designed to be used in the policy process.
        * Comparative Public Policy - This class assesses the existing theories, concepts and approaches in the field of comparative public policy research, as well as analysing contemporary developments in the field.
        * Principles and Practice of Research Methods - Students will be introduced to the Strathclyde library and computing systems as well as some of the problems and methods of social science research. Instruction will be provided on overcoming practical research problems, including how to make use of search sources including the Internet, CD-Roms, and the Social Statistics Laboratory.
        * Research Project Design - In the second semester advice will be given on the skills which are necessary to move from a research idea to doing and writing up the research. The immediate emphasis is on the completion of the dissertation, but the skills are relevant to the preparation, conduct and presentation of results in other contexts.
        * The Graduate Colloquium - Students are also required to attend the Graduate Colloquium which meets regularly on Wednesday afternoons. In this context Masters and PhD students present brief papers on various aspects of their own research, which are then discussed. This class is not assessed.

    The Department offers a range of optional classes which are all assessed by project work. Students may choose any two options.

    The range of options will normally, for example, include

        * International Environmental Policy,
        * Money and Capital in Developing Countries,
        * Green Politics,
        * The European Union and International Relations,
        * International Security: Concept and Issues,
        * International Relations Theory in a Global Age,
        * European Governance,
        * European Political Economy,
        * Philosophy of Social Science,
        * Qualitative Methods,
        * Quantitative Methods: Survey Methods
        * Quantitative Methods: Statistics and Analysis,
        * The European Policy Process,
        * Industrialisation and Technology,
        * Political Parties,
        * Comparative Politics,
        * Territorial Politics in Comparative Perspective,
        * States, Markets and Varieties of Capitalism,
        * Welfare State in Comparative Public Policy.

    The exact number of optional classes on offer will change from year to year. The Department does not guarantee that any class will be available in any one year and reserves the right to add or delete classes from the option list.

    Classes average 20 contact hours, with additional computer laboratory sessions for some methods classes.

    Students also complete a dissertation.

    Personal transferable skills are developed in the context of :

    Principles and Practice of Research Design and the Research Project Design Seminar.

    Duration of Course

    12 months full-time; 24 months part-time.


    Core and optional classes are assessed by a variety of assessment methods - including essays, options papers, and group projects - and account for half of the total assessment. The dissertation of 15,000 words also accounts for half of the total assessment.

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