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School of Social and Political Science: Graduate school


Programme and Aims

The MSc in Policy Studies is an established and successful degree programme that is highly relevant to a wide range of policy-related professions in the public, private and voluntary sectors. 

Past students of the MSc in Policy Studies 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 programme is available both on a full and part time basis.


The MSc in Policy Studies focuses on analysing the activities of government, especially those policies relating to the welfare state.  Among the questions addressed are the following:

  • How are priorities chosen?
  • How are policies paid for?
  • How do citizens make their views known?
  • Do policies work?
  • Can they be made more effective?
  • Are those who implement policies sufficiently accountable?

At the end of the course, students should have the critical skills necessary to assess different policy options, and to understand the origins of policy.

For full details, see the programme handbook.  

Image: Prison bunks, Robben Island, South Africa. ©Andy Aitchison 2004.

Edinburgh Students