Skip to main content

MA in Public Policy

Why do bad ideas become policy and good ideas languish for years? Does democracy get in the way of policy, or is the policy profession itself anti-democratic? Can citizens even have much influence on policy in a globalising, networked world? Governments are facing more, and more complex, demands every day. Their ability to deliver on those demands is increasingly circumscribed.

If we want to make a difference in the world, we need to understand the limits and possibilities of policy making in modern democracies.

Programme content

This programme combines an understanding of descriptive and normative theory with the practice of policy analysis and PAIS’s world-leading work on transnational policy-making. You will identify and analyse the main traditions of policy studies, the core concepts of policy analysis, and theories of policy change. By combining the core module with other topical modules in PAIS, you will be able to specialise your policy analysis expertise through the lens of a particular region, development, political economy, security, gender, democratisation, etc. It is thus ideal for students wanting to pursue advanced conceptual studies in Politics but who want to give those studies an applied focus.

The core module, Theories and Traditions in Public Policy, identifies and analyses the main traditions of policy studies, the core concepts of policy analysis, and theories of policy change.

All of our MA programmes are worth 180 CATS (credits) in total. As part of this course, you will be required to take one core module (40 CATS). You then select 40 CATS (normally 2 modules) from our list of specialist modules for this course, and a further 40 CATS from our extensive range of optional modules. If you pass the taught modules, you will move on to the second phase of the MA programme and complete a dissertation of 10,000 words (60 CATS).

Further information

About the course

Programme Director:
Gabriel Siles-Brugge

Entry requirements

protest in dpublin square shape

EU public policy

The student experience

"The Public Policy Programme is an excellent choice for anyone conisdering a career in public policy or for those already working in the field. I chose it to augment the experience I had gained after working in the policy field for a number of years. It combines the study of concepts with examples of how they are applied in the real world giving students a greater appreciation of the synergies between policy theory and practice."

- Damian Gannon, MA Public Policy 2011-12

Read more student profiles