School of Social and Political Science

MSc Public Policy


Nathan de Bono

MSc Public Policy

  • Age: 23
  • Graduated: 2020
  • Winner of Best Overall Performance in MSc Public Policy in 2020


Studying at the School of Social and Political Science

What made you choose to study at the University of Edinburgh?

I chose to study here for a few reasons. The teaching looked really good – I’d had a good look at the available course options on the DRPS website, so had a good idea of what I would be able to study.

The city was also a big draw – Edinburgh’s a beautiful place, with a great balance of cultural stuff.

How have you enjoyed your programme?

I’ve really enjoyed it – I wish it wasn’t over so soon.

What has been your favourite course?

Difficult to choose one, but Evaluation Research Methods was probably my favourite – a great mixture of technical skills and thinking about the practicalities of applying them in a real-world context.

Aims for after University?

I’m aiming for a career in policy research (can’t get enough public policy).

What does a typical weekday look like for you as a student at SPS?

A typical day for me would usually involve independent study interspersed with a few lectures.

I’d alternate between working from home and various places on campus – and occasionally treat myself to an afternoon working in one of Edinburgh’s cosy cafés.

The main library is fab, but it can get busy during deadline season, and I found that there were good study spots in Teviot Row House and the Lister Centre.

What are your highlights from your time at the School of Social and Political Science?

I really enjoyed the guest speakers and collaborative work in the Policy in Action course. It was a privilege to hear from active practitioners of the policy science we studied each week, and to hear everyone share perspectives in our international peer group.

Knowing what you do now, what would you say to your past self before starting the course?

A year is short – make the most of it!

I think one of the things I’d advise my past self is to use the option to ‘audit’ a course (enrol in a module without sitting the exams) in both semesters – it allows you to broaden your degree without too much added pressure. 

I found auditing returns to the increased workload elsewhere, like when I used what I learned in writing my dissertation. It also makes choosing between courses easier!


University life

What has your University experience been like, in just three words?

Educational AND fun!

If you recommend ONE thing to do in the first semester what would it be?

Boring answer but you have to climb Arthur’s Seat really, it’s a rite of passage. Some people inexplicably never manage it.


The City of Edinburgh

What are your favourite things to do in Edinburgh at the weekend?

I’m usually keen to balance out the studying with a bit of fresh air on the weekends, and there’s loads of good walking/jogging routes on the edge of the city.

Arthur’s Seat and the Crags are an obvious choice, but Blackford Hill and further out towards the Braid Hills and Pentlands are also great. If you fancy a daytrip, the Cairngorms National Park is just a train ride away.

When the weather’s less forgiving, Edinburgh does have numerous delightful public houses where one can sample the output of Scotland’s brewers.

Summerhall often has an interesting events schedule that’s worth checking out too, and there’s always something happening on the Cowgate for the culturally inclined.

City of Edinburgh top tip or hidden gem?

The Mosque Kitchen will serve you a substantial lunch at a very competitive price around the corner from George Square.