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.
Unlike an MPA course, the MA in Public Policy programme combines an understanding of descriptive and normative theory with the practice of policy analysis and our 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. This programme is ideal if you want to pursue advanced conceptual studies in Politics, and if you want to give those studies an applied focus.
The core module for Public Policy is Theories and Traditions in Public Policy. A full module description is available here.
This programme has optional modules to choose from to allow you to achieve the required credits to successfully complete the award; in addition to your core module, you will select 40 CATS (normally 2 modules) from a list of specialist of modules for this course, and a further 40 CATS from our extensive range of optional modules. At a research led institution, optional module lists are subject to change each year to keep the student learning experience current and up-to-date. For the optional modules available in this department please visit the department website.
* The modules mentioned above may be subject to change. Please read our terms and conditions for more detailed information.
Debate and discussion are at the heart of the teaching style in PAIS, and most modules are taught via one 2-hour seminar per week. Seminars give you the opportunity to interact with leading scholars as well as with your peers to explore a set topic each week. Every seminar will be based on extensive guided reading you will do each week, but there is no strict pattern to how sessions are run; you will experience a variety of teaching methods tailored to each specific topic and teacher. This may include mini-lectures followed by discussion, Q&A sessions, organised debates, peer presentations, policy briefs, small group work, and other projects.
In addition to your seminars, you will have access to your module tutors during advice and feedback hours. You will have the opportunity to sit down with your tutors on a one-to-one basis during these weekly office hours to follow up on seminar discussions, seek guidance on your essays, and ask questions about feedback on your marks.
PAIS modules are assessed entirely by research essays throughout the year, culminating in a 10,000 word dissertation at the end.
Full-time: 1 year
Part-time: 2 years
2:i undergraduate degree (or equivalent) in a related subject
English Language requirements
Department of study
Location of study
University of Warwick
Home/EU: £11,950 per year
Overseas: £19,560 per year
Home/EU: £5,975 per year
Overseas: £9,780 per year
Find out more about fees and funding.