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Politics and International Relations (PIR): Study


Master of Public Policy Programme (2012 - 2018)

Please note that the Master of Public Policy programme is no longer offered and information pertaining to it is included here for reference only.

Master of Public Policy programme

The Master of Public Policy (MPP) programme ran from 2012 until 2018 and was designed for graduates looking for an advanced professional qualification to provide a launch pad for careers in the public sector, nonprofit sector or international policy community.

A group of Master of Public Policy (MPP) students

The MPP is a recognised professional qualification, and the combination of academic excellence and practical experience afforded by the programme ensures that MPP graduates are well placed for careers in public policy, government, think tanks, consulting firms, NGOs, party politics, and advocacy/lobbying organisations, among others.

The transferable skills gained from the programme, and the experience and networking opportunities from the placement, give graduates a competitive edge in the employment market whatever their eventual career.

About the programme

The MPP was a theory-based, empirically-informed and practice-oriented programme, aiming to:

  • develop analytical and conceptual skills to enable critical evaluation of major policy issues, policy processes, policy implementation and policy linkages
  • examine in detail the political, economic and social context of policy-making at the local, regional, state and international levels
  • develop an in-depth knowledge of specific policy issues
  • provide a thorough training in analytical methods and approaches (qualitative and quantitative) used for policy development and implementation
  • develop an understanding of practical and ethical issues in policy-making
  • enhance knowledge and professional skills for public sector careers
  • provide professional experience through the work placement component

The programme benefited greatly from being located in Edinburgh, Scotland's capital city and seat of government, allowing ready access and collaboration with central and local government, parliament, as well as a range of public service and non-profit organisations.

This programme offered an opportunity to undertake a work placement of approximately 8-10 weeks with a policy organisation. Students undertaking a placement were required to produce a professional analytical report, based on their placement, which explored an existing public policy problem faced by a real-life public or non-profit sector organisation and their recommendations for a strategy to address it. Students who did not undertake a placement completed a research report in which they engaged with a policy problem, collected data, and presented policy recommendations.

More information about the programme and the specific courses can be found at


Graduates have taken the skills and experiences learned during their time at Edinburgh to a variety of sectors and roles. The placement component of the MPP in particular has allowed students to gain experience working in organisations of interest, fostering connections between their academic endeavours and the practice of policy.

On our alumni page students share their experiences in the MPP programme, and how their time at Edinburgh directly influenced their work today.