University of Edinburgh

School of Social and Political Sciences

MSc Comparative Public Policy


Old College

South Bridge

Edinburgh, Scotland EH8 9YL

United Kingdom

Program Information

Degrees Offered:


Format: Campus

Program Description:

Introduction The MSc in Comparative Public Policy provides intensive analytical training in the systematic comparison of social and public policies from an international perspective and develops substantive knowledge in a wide range of policy fields around topical issues such as policy evaluation, policy learning and policy transfer. In a context of growing interconnectedness between national governments and supranational organizations, alongside increased movement of people and globalized economic trade, advancing our understanding of the similarities and differences of social and public policies across national systems is becoming ever more important in academic and professional terms alike.  Who is this programme for? This degree is highly relevant to anyone who works or intends to work in policy-relevant professions in the public, private or non-governmental sectors that operate in an increasingly international context of policy-making.  We attract students from the UK and from across the world, including in recent years Germany, Greece, Ireland, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, the United States, Moldova and Russia. Programme aims: The MSc in Comparative Public Policy provides a cross-national analytical perspective on the activities of government and other social and political actors.  We focus specifically, but not exclusively, on policies relating to the welfare state. Among the knowledge and skills it provides are:  A thorough training in methods of comparative analysis  Training in analyzing datasets and policy documents  Knowledge of different forms and purposes of comparison  Grounding in the politics and/or economics of policy-making  Detailed comparative knowledge of substantive areas of policy  Knowledge of policy learning and policy transfer  At the end of the course, you will have a range of intellectual, practical and transferable skills necessary to assess different policy options, and to understand the origins and developments of policies within their national and international contexts.  Structure and Courses The programme is available full-time over one year, or part-time over two years.  The MSc in Comparative Public Policy is an intensive taught degree. Students complete six courses (three core courses and three options) and an extended dissertation on a comparative topic of their choice.  Core courses Comparative Analysis of Social and Public Policy And any two of the following three European Social Policy Political Issues in Public Policy Economic Issues in Public Policy Sample options Children, Childhood and Children's Rights: Law, Policy and Practice Comparative Perspectives in Nationalism Studies Comparative Territorial Politics Contemporary Feminist Debates Crime Justice and Public Policy Gender and Development Global Politics of Public Health Health Systems: Strengthening and reform Institutions and Policies of the European Union International Perspectives on Education and Training International Political Economy Issues in Employment Policy Multi-level Democracy and Public Policy Politics and Theories of International Development Social Inequality and Social Protection Students also have access to a wider range of options taught in other MSc degrees in the School.  The degree programme is complemented by research training in a variety of methodologies and research techniques on introductory and advanced level tailored to the research needs of individual students. Optional courses may vary from year to year.  Careers The MSc in Comparative Public Policy gives students an recognised qualification that opens a path to a range of employment opportunities and further study.  A survey of previous graduates of the MSc in Policy Studies and the MSc in Comparative Public Policy found that, within six months, students had gone on to employment in the Scottish Executive, in social research, in a housing association, in local government, and in other public and private sector bodies.  One had taken up a voluntary position within the EC delegation in New York.  From other past students who keep in touch we know that our students go on to occupy positions in the National Health Service, in civil service, as well as taking the opportunity to pursue further study in the UK and further a field. You can read case studies on our past students on our website. All students have access to the Edinburgh University Careers Service during the programme. The service provides both general and specific guidance on career options, runs career fairs, talks and training sessions, offers assistance with a CV, applications forms and interview preparation, and helps in exploring further study options.


Fully accredited by The University of Edinburgh

International Student Requirements:

For students whose first language is not English, detailed information about required English language qualifications can be found on our website. Our website will also inform you which international qualifications meet our general entry requirements.

Facts & Figures

Financial Aid: No

International Financial Aid: No

Classification: Higher Education Institution (Not Carnegie Classified)

Locale: Midsize City

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