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.
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.
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
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.
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.