Postgraduate study

Policy Studies

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Programme website: Policy Studies

The MSc Policy Studies focuses on analysing the activities of government, especially those policies relating to the welfare state.

You’ll develop an advanced understanding of political, economic and social contexts of policy-making, and be trained in the skills needed to analyse and research policy decisions and outcomes.

The programme is popular internationally, and you’ll study in a setting where students from various backgrounds learn from the policy experience of their own and each other’s nations.

As a recently devolved polity, Scotland is an exciting place to observe contemporary developments in government, and Edinburgh hosts democratic institutions that will inform your studies.

The programme will be delivered through lectures, seminars, group work and guided independent study.

You will complete two compulsory courses and four option courses then work towards an independently researched dissertation.

Find out more about compulsory and optional courses

We link to the latest information available. Please note that this may be for a previous academic year and should be considered indicative.

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScPolicy Studies1 YearFull-timeProgramme structure 2017/18
MScPolicy Studies2 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2017/18

Graduates will have:

  • a sound knowledge of theories, principles and political and economic contexts of policy-making
  • the ability to use different quantitative and qualitative research techniques
  • a detailed understanding of substantive areas of social and public policy

For anyone who intends to work in policy-relevant professions, this degree provides a recognised qualification that can lead to an enhanced range of employment opportunities and further study.

Past students have gone on to employment in the Scottish Government, social research, housing associations, local government, and in other public and private sector bodies, both locally and internationally.

You will develop a range of highly transferable skills, such as communication and project management, which can be applied to roles in any field.

A UK 2:1 honours degree or its international equivalent.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

All applicants must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of their English language ability:

  • an undergraduate or masters degree, that was taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country as defined by UK Visas and Immigration

  • IELTS: total 7.0 (at least 6.0 in each module)
  • TOEFL-iBT: total 100 (at least 20 in each module)
  • PTE(A): total 67 (at least 56 in each of the "Communicative Skills" sections)
  • CAE and CPE: total 185 (at least 169 in each module)
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass in all four components

Degrees taught and assessed in English must be no more than two and a half years old at the beginning of your degree programme. Language tests must be no more than two years old at the beginning of your degree programme.

Find out more about our language requirements:

  • Programme Director, Dr Jay Wiggan
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 650 3939
  • Email: J.Wiggan@ed.ac.uk
  • Graduate School of Social & Political Science
  • Chrystal Macmillan Building
  • 15A George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LD
Programme start date Application deadline
10 September 2018 13 July 2018

We strongly recommend you submit your completed application as early as possible, particularly if you are also applying for funding or will require a visa. We may consider late applications if we have places available.

References are not usually required for applications to this programme.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • Programme Director, Dr Jay Wiggan
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 650 3939
  • Email: J.Wiggan@ed.ac.uk
  • Graduate School of Social & Political Science
  • Chrystal Macmillan Building
  • 15A George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LD