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Professional Doctorate in Public Policy and Management (Online) - MA/PGDip/PGCert

About This Professional Doctorate

Course Description

Understand and influence how policies are made and how public services are managed.


This course is ideal for professionals in the public sector, in not-for-profit organisations or in for-profit organisations involved in public policy or the delivery of public services. During your studies you'll develop the skills and knowledge required to influence policy and how policy decisions are translated on the ground. You'll deepen your understanding of policy-making and its intersection with public management. You will prepare yourself for more strategic roles and help your organisation operate more effectively in complex and challenging environments.

By choosing this part-time online course you will be able to combine your study with your career and family. You'll also be studying with one of the top universities in the world, with teaching and support from experienced academics and practitioners. Our Department is ranked 25th in the world, and 4th in the UK (QS World Rankings 2016). All our courses are run directly by us, so you can always count on coherent and strong support from your academic tutors, personal supervisor and our dedicated support team.

You'll study alongside your peers working in similar organisations around the world. You'll be able to actively engage with them and share your ideas, learning and experience as you progress through the course. You'll also be in a position to immediately apply your learning and insight to your work and your organisation.

Course Content

This masters course will develop your knowledge of public policy, so you'll gain a better understanding of how policies are made and then implemented on the ground. You'll also acquire skills in public management, and learn to analyse and influence how public services are run and how organisational change can be best managed.

The first year of the course will ensure you have a foundation in all key aspects of public policy and management. In your second year you can choose areas of study that are most interesting or most applicable to your own work

Towards the end of the course you'll start to prepare for your dissertation which will allow you to explore an area of particular interest with support from a dedicated dissertation supervisor.

You can also study for a shorter period of time and graduate with a Postgraduate Certificate or Diploma.

To graduate with a masters degree, you will need to take 140 credits of taught modules and complete a dissertation worth 40 credits.

You'll study these modules to a schedule. This will allow you to participate online with academics and fellow students from around the world.

Year one: foundation
In the first year you'll study 80 credits with the following modules:
-Public Management and Delivery (20 credits)
-Governance and Public Administration (20 credits)
-Policy Analysis and Process (20 credits)
-Reflective Practice for Professional Development - Part One (10 credits)
-Digital Government: Policy and Practice (10 credits)

Year two: specialisation and dissertation
In your second year you'll study a combination of taught modules and work on your dissertation. You will choose one of these modules:
-Comparative Social Policy (20 credits)
-Leading and Managing Organisational Change (20 credits)
-Social Policy: Evidence, Ideas and Institutions (20 credits)
-Work, Welfare and Citizenship (20 credits)

You'll then choose to study one of these modules:
-Globalisation and Social Policy (20 credits)
-Project Management (20 credits)
-Public Finance (20 credits)
-Public Service Reform: Economic and Political Perspectives (20 credits)

You will also need to complete a dissertation, as well as modules designed to develop your professional and research skills:
-Reflective Practice for Professional Development - Part Two (10 credits)
-Dissertation workshop (10 credits)
-Dissertation (40 credits)

Throughout your studies your assignments will help you to apply theory to practice and to combine academic work with case studies or examples relevant to your work.

One of your taught modules, the Dissertation Workshop, will help you prepare for your dissertation. You'll learn how to plan and schedule your independent literature-based research project. With the help of your dissertation supervisor you'll work on finding the appropriate scope and focus for your project, and develop a workable structure. You'll also receive feedback on draft chapters and guidance on conducting your literature review and any further research.

Your dissertation is worth 40 credits and will be 12,000 words long.


This course is ideal for people working in the public and not-for-profit sectors as well as people working in for-profit organisations that deliver public services. It will allow you to develop the skills required for management in a large and complex organisation. You'll also gain a thorough understanding of public policy so that you can analyse and influence policy-making and implementation.

Visit the Public Policy and Management (Online) - MA/PGDip/PGCert page on the University of York website for more details!

Related Student ProfilesStudent Profiles

Commonwealth Distance Learning Scholarships - 5 Awards

The University of York is hoping to be awarded Commonwealth Distance Learning Scholarships by the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the United Kingdom (CSCUK) for students joining the online Masters in Public Policy and Management programme, or the MPA in International Development, commencing their studies in September 2017. The Commonwealth Scholarships are administered by CSCUK, working as the UK arm of the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan (CSFP). The awards themselves are funded by the Department for International Development (DFID). The CSFP are working towards partnerships between developed and developing countries aimed at combining academic excellence with the desire to make a real difference in some of the world’s poorest countries.Please note: due to the high demand for these scholarships candidates will only be considered if they have a strong academic record at undergraduate level and clear evidence of a contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals, demonstrated through their Future Career Plans and Home Country Benefit statements on the application form.Please visit our website for up to date information about the scholarships.

Value of Scholarship(s)

Standard fee: £11,410 per year - Lower band £9,470 per year


1. have not previously had the opportunity to study at post-graduate level
2. are living and working in developing countries of the Commonwealth
3. are working in or with public organisations, including NGO’s, aid agencies and local/national government departments, and can demonstrate throughout their application that they are working towards the Sustainable Development Goals
4. can dedicate at least 15 hours each week to their studies with a number of study sessions being over 2 hours in length
5. meet the University Entry Requirements for the programme
6. Some countries have an English language requirement

Application Procedure

Full instructions for the Electronic Application System (EAS) are contained on the Scholarship Commission's website:


please see further details on our website - link below

Further Information


Entry Requirements

You should normally have at least a 2:1 undergraduate degree or equivalent qualification. If you don't have experience of undergraduate study we may consider your application if you have a suitable professional background. You should also have professional experience in the public service field. This could be in roles in local or national government, or in non-governmental and inter-governmental organisations, the voluntary and charitable sector, and private sector roles which support or deliver public services.

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