Skip to main content

School of Social and Political Science: Graduate school


Programme and Aims

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. 

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.

Past students of our degrees have gone on to doctoral programmes in the UK and overseas, and to occupy policy positions in the public sector and non-governmental organisations.


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. 

For full details, see the programme handbook.  

Image: Statue of David Hume, High Street, Edinburgh, ©Andy Aitchison 2007.