MA Public Policy and Public Management


The School of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication Studies offers a wide range of MA degrees.

Watch It
"I wanted to specialise in International relations, and in particular US foreign policy and international security. International politics has always fascinated me and postgraduate study enables you to understand current affairs and to broaden your knowledge on key debates."

In their words

Oliver Steward, MA International Relations.

Key facts

The Research Excellence Framework 2014.

In an increasingly globalised world, we need – more than ever – a critical understanding of how and why public institutions’ decisions are made, and what happens as a result. On this MA you will examine policymaking and change in a variety of settings, developing an advanced understanding of the main theories, models and concepts of the study of public policy and public management, at national and international levels.

All of our teaching is research-led, in that we ask the same questions of our students as we do in our research. This means your teaching will be at the cutting edge of the discipline and you will be taught by experts in international relations, political philosophy, political communications and media studies.


Whether you have a degree in social science (in politics or a related subject such as economics, law or business studies) and are looking to specialise, or are a practitioner interested in gaining a deeper understanding of the processes you deal with every day, this flexible and cross-disciplinary MA will have much to offer you.

Political, Social and International Studies at UEA has world-leading expertise in research and teaching of public policy, international politics, media and society, and social and political theory. Depending on the pathway you choose, you will also have the chance to collaborate with and be taught by academics from UEA Law School, the School of Environmental Sciences and School of International Development.

We pride ourselves on our high-quality research-led teaching, which means that your lecturers will lead you to the most up-to-date, cutting-edge information on your subject of study. Our rich programme of research seminars, visiting speakers, panel debates and high-profile public events will also contribute to making UEA a stimulating environment to study in. Our postgraduate community includes students from across the globe, which adds many different perspectives on and approaches to the subjects we study.

Course structure

The MA lasts twelve months for full-time students and two years for those studying part time. You will have classes during the first two semesters and then over the summer you will work on your dissertation, which is handed in at the start of September. Many of our modules use small-group seminar teaching, encouraging you and your peers to communicate and inspire each other with your own unique insights.

You will study two modules that will give you an advanced understanding of the main theories, models and concepts of both public policy and public management. You can then choose to focus on one of three pathways: Public Policy and the Environment; International Public Policy; and Regulation and Competition. Our teaching is predominantly through seminars and workshops, supplemented by lectures and tutorials. 

If you focus on Public Policy and the Environment  you will look at how the main theories, models and concepts in public policy are applied, comparing environment policy with social policy and policy in other areas. This is complemented with modules examining decision-making about the environment more widely, including individual and cultural framings and values, and societal changes.

If you choose to focus on International Public Policy you will consider the impact of international organisations, including the EU, on national governments, and develop an advanced understanding of the main theories applied in the study of public policy and public management.

Focus on Regulation and Competition and you will build upon a political science understanding of public policy and public management and examine regulation, competition, international institutions and the legal aspects of the subject.

You will also have the opportunity to choose three modules to complement your core pathway module, for example Free Speech; Public Relations, Public Affairs and the Media; Europe and the World; and American Foreign Policy. You will also write a dissertation – a great opportunity to conduct independent enquiry into a subject area that stimulates you. You will be assigned an individual supervisor from the faculty to advise you, and after Easter you can discuss your dissertations in progress with students and staff at our dedicated Postgraduate Day. 

Skills and experience 

The MA will help you develop many transferable skills important for your career. The ability to think critically, and to constructively and sensitively question ‘received wisdom’, is an enormously important skill for any profession. To help develop this, we will give you the opportunity to hone many of your skills, including debating, giving clear, confident presentations, teamwork, project work, critical analysis and synthesis of arguments, independent research, writing, time management and working under time constraints, the ability to communicate clearly to a variety of audiences, and the ability to apply theory to real-world cases.

As part of our stimulating postgraduate community you will have the opportunity to attend numerous events and talks during your time here. We regularly attract distinguished guest lecturers; recent speakers have included Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Labour Party; Caroline Lucas, MP for the Green Party; Gary Gibbon, Political Editor for Channel 4 News; Owen Jones, author and columnist for The Guardian; Caroline Flint, Labour MP; John Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons; Shami Chakrabarti, former director of Liberty; Liberal Democrat peer Baroness Shirley Williams; Professor Anthony Giddens of the London School of Economics; Douglas Carswell, a UEA alumnus and currently the only UK Independence Party Member  of Parliament; Sir Stephen Wall, retired diplomat; and Lord Richard Dannatt, formerly Chief of the General Staff. Find out more and listen to some of these lectures at:


You will be assessed in part on the basis of work you do on your modules across the year, and in part on your dissertation, which you hand in at the end of the year. We use a range of assessment methods across our modules, but you can expect to be assessed via essays, project reports and presentations, as well as a dissertation of 10,000 words. 

Course tutors and research interests

We have more than 30 members of staff, all of whom actively engage with research in the field. We take an interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary approach in our work, linking theory to practice, to create a distinctive programme of research. This has given us a strong international reputation for research in a wide variety of areas, including international relations; international relations theory; international security; terrorism; human rights; religion; Britain; the EU; Japan; Africa; the mass media, including digital media; political communications; popular culture; identity politics; public administration and public policy; political theory; and political rhetoric.

Where next? 

This course will support you on pathways to a wide range of career opportunities; the choice and flexibility we offer will allow you to either specialise in one element, or to take a wider focus. Recent graduates of Political, Social and International Studies have gone on to pursue high-level careers in the media, local and national government, non-governmental organisations, taking up roles such as business executive, policy analyst, consultant, subject specialist, lobbyist, adviser, NGO staff and civil servant. Some of our students also go on to be university or research institute researchers, after pursuing further postgraduate study such as a PhD.  

Course Modules 2018/9

Students must study the following modules for 100 credits:

Name Code Credits


For all MA students registered on programmes in PSI except those undertaking a Dissertation by Practice. Students are required to write a dissertation of 10,000 words on a topic approved by the Course Director or other authorised person. The dissertation is to be submitted the first working day of September in the relevant year.




Is there a crisis in public services? Is the efficient and accountable organisation of the machinery of governments under threat? We hear much about entering a 'post-bureaucratic age' for the governance of countries. What might this mean? Is it possible? In this module, you'll examine the organisation and operation of public sectors in the shadow of democracy, putting current debates in the UK in a historical and international comparative context. On completing the module, you'll have analysed and evaluated the most influential models and theories of public management and organisational behaviour. You'll be able to describe and critically reflect on the framework for public management in practice, focussed especially on recent developments in the UK, understand the reasons for public management reform, and be able to engage in debates about the future direction of the public sector.




How and why is public policy made the way it is? Our aim is to enable students to develop a rich and wide appreciation of the many ways that policy is made and the factors that influence these. You will gain advanced critical understanding some of the main theories, models and concepts used in the study of public policy and how they are applied. You will also develop substantive knowledge of specific policies and policy areas, which may include environment, health, immigration and welfare policy. In addition, students successfully completing the module will be able to demonstrate an empirical understanding of the public policy process in the UK, ability to make comparisons with other OECD democracies, and an understanding of the changing role of nation-states in policy development.



Students will select 20 credits from the following modules:

Name Code Credits


Climate change presents a challenge to development that is both complex and urgent. Populations in less developed countries are amongst the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. A multi-disciplinary approach allows us to understand the causes, consequences and responses to climate change in the 21st century. This module explores the causes of climate change, its impacts on development and the role of adaptation in reducing vulnerability to climate change and promoting climate resilient development. The first part of the module covers key aspects of climate change science necessary for an essential understanding of the causes and expected future impacts of climate change. The second part of the module focuses on the theory and practice of adaptation to climate change at different scales, from national policy making to local level case studies. A programme of lectures, workshops and group and individual work allow students to explore the module material. This module gives you sufficient grasp of the scientific underpinnings of climate change science to engage confidently in debate with non-specialists on the causes and consequences of climate change. It also gives you the theoretical and applied knowledge to research and plan for adaptation to climate change.




This module provides you with the knowledge required to understand issues in corporate governance. Exploring corporate governance developments in different countries will enable you to understand the importance of different institutional settings, the influence of legal, regulatory and political environments, and why differences in ownership structure have arisen and how this impacts on companies. Corporate governance is examined in detail together with topical issues including directors' remuneration, board diversity, and succession planning. You will also examine topical issues such as corporate restructuring, corporate social responsibility, and competition policy.




Theory of Competitive Markets covers the theory and reality of how markets function depending on their characteristics, with a focus on markets where the number of firms is relatively small. You will develop an appreciation of the effects the action of one firm can have on consumers and other firms, and how and why competition law and its enforcement places limits on firms freedom to act. This module is invaluable for those intending to work in competition law whether in legal practice or beyond. By offering insights into the workings of the market and how it is regulated, the module is also relevant for you if you are interested in commercial law more generally.



Students will select 60 credits from the following modules:

Name Code Credits


This module will use case studies of Southeast Asia, Central America and the Middle East to explore the reasons for American interventions and to assess their success or failure. It will offer an historical understanding of the assumptions and practices which lie behind contemporary US foreign policy-making. The module will introduce students to the institutions and processes involved in the making of American foreign policy.




The transatlantic axis that used to run the world can see its power slipping away. Can Asia lead the world? What would world under Pax Sinica look like and can it coexist with Pax Americana? You will examine how dynamic emerging powers - and not only the BRICS - are spurring global change. World history is not linear, there are ups and downs as well as twists and turns. China is re-emerging, the Indian Ocean Rim is again at the centre of world action as old trade routes are being renewed by emerging powers, and the US appears to return policies of isolationism. Former US Secretary of State Kissinger argues that the world is in a perilous condition, verging on international anarchy. The global economy's centre of gravity is shifting from West to East, the Global South increasingly challenges the balance of power of North Atlantic hegemony, and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank points to alternative systems of global governance. Will international governance be transformed through stronger regional blocs, new South-South alliances, and the progress of international institutions such as the BRICS Development Bank?




Can "cultural" differences cause conflict in communication? How are they to be resolved without prioritizing one culture over the other? In this module you will study conflict and conflict resolution strategies across different cultural contexts; a wide range of communication domains, e.g. everyday encounters, language at work, language in diplomatic contexts, language and social cohesion, language and racism, language and gender, and language in the globalization process, also with reference to your specific linguistic/cultural backgrounds. You will benefit from an interdisciplinary approach, which includes Face and Politeness Theories, Discourse Analysis and Intercultural Communication Studies. You will also better understand the conditions for cross-cultural misunderstanding and conflict and strategies of conflict escalation and resolution.




You will examine the position of Europe in International Relations. Weekly lectures and seminars centre upon contemporary debates on Globalisation and Regionalism, Europe's trade relations with the US, China, Russia and the European neighbourhood, security strategies and responses to topical international conflicts like Palestine, Syria, and African civil wars, inter-regional co-operation among trading blocs in politics and commerce, relations with emerging powers and the Developing World, and environmental/energy issues.




You'll examine one of the pressing issues of political theory, constitutional law, democracy, and media regulation: why is free speech important and what if any should be its limits? You'll compare and contrasts the conditions of free speech in China, the UK, and the United States. You'll be introduced to some of the classic defences of free speech found in the writings of J.S. Mill and the judicial decisions of Oliver Wendall Holmes. Following on from this you'll examine the question of free speech as it relates to freedom of the press and new media. You'll also explore the question of the limits of free speech, particularly in relation to hate speech. At this point you will have a chance to examine human rights instruments and laws pertaining to the issues, including the ECHR, the Human Rights Act 2008, and the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2008, as well as a range of legal cases from courts across the world. You'll be exposed to a range of deeper ideological debates among liberals, libertarians, multiculturalists, and critical theorists. The approach will be multidisciplinary drawing on politics, philosophy, and law. The format will be a two-hour class each week, comprising research-led teaching, seminar discussions, practical exercises, textual reading, balloon debate, and essay writing and research-skills mini-sessions. The assessment comprises of formative feedback on the presentation of an essay plan and summative assessment of two essays. The module compares and contrasts the conditions of free speech in China, the UK, and the United States. Students are introduced to some of the classic defences of free speech found in the writings of J.S. Mill and the judicial decisions of Oliver Wendall Holmes. Following on from this they will examine the question of free speech as it relates to freedom of the press and new media. Students will also explore the question of the limits of free speech, particularly in relation to hate speech. At this point students will have a chance to examine human rights instruments and laws pertaining to the issues, including the ECHR, the Human Rights Act 2008, and the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2008, as well as a range of legal cases from courts across the world. During the module the students will be exposed to a range of deeper ideological debates among liberals, libertarians, multiculturalists, and critical theorists. The approach will be multidisciplinary drawing on politics, philosophy, and law. Finally, the format of the module will be a two-hour class each week, comprising research-led teaching, seminar discussions, practical exercises, textual reading, balloon debate, and essay writing and research-skills mini-sessions. The module assessment is as follows: formative feedback on the presentation of an essay plan; summative assessment of two essays.




Do you wish to pursue a career in international management and relations, multilingual business, or international development? Are you interested in becoming a more effective communicator in other professions such as translation, interpreting, education, and cultural mediation? In this module we will explore the issues fundamental to intercultural communication (IC) in practical contexts. You will examine the different ways of thinking about effective communication in a variety of work/organisation-based environments. During the seminars/lecture series, invited practitioners will introduce you to how IC operates in specific organisations, including government agencies or in multilingual business management. On completion of this module, you will have developed the linguistic skills, cultural competence, and critical thinking required for the production of an extended research project in intercultural communication. You will also have acquired a sense of how cultural assumptions may influence communication with others from different backgrounds, and developed a greater willingness to enter into dialogue with the values prevalent in cultures other than your own.




States and individuals seek 'security' from various threats and dangers but what, exactly, does it mean to be secure? Is security even possible? Who should have security, and from what should they be - or do they need to be - secured? Is security even desirable, or does the search for it sometimes have negative consequences? This module introduces you to these 'big questions' of security studies. You will examine the study of security in the international system, from its roots in classical political theory and Cold War strategic studies through to the development of a more broadly focused field today. You will consider the responses of different theoretical perspectives on these 'big questions' and apply these to a range of contemporary security issues, for example, conflict resolution, human security, the arms industry, migration, crime, poverty, and terrorism.




This module provides an understanding of the fundamentals of European economic integration from a legal perspective. It focuses on essential aspects of the internal market (the free movement of goods, workers, services and freedom of establishment), as well as the structure of the EU (institutions and relations with Member States' legal systems). In addition, the module teaches how to retrieve and work with the various sources of EU law. This module is not suitable for students who have already studied European Union law.




This module enables students to develop an advanced understanding of the theory and practice of public affairs, interest intermediation, and the strategies used by interest, advocacy groups and others to influence the political process. As well as covering the main debates in the academic literature, it draws directly on the experience of practitioners and offers unique insights into this under-studied area of politics.




The module looks at the history of China and Japan from the mid-19th century to the present day. You'll cover the attempts at modernisation, conflict between the two nations, their relationships with the Asian region and the United States. You'll also investigate their contrasting attempts to develop in the postwar period. In addition, you'll assess their current policies and the issues of importance to China and Japan in the 21st century, and explore whether they can move beyond the legacy of this difficult history.




Whilst the University will make every effort to offer the modules listed, changes may sometimes be made arising from the annual monitoring, review and update of modules and regular (five-yearly) review of course programmes. Where this activity leads to significant (but not minor) changes to programmes and their constituent modules, there will normally be prior consultation of students and others. It is also possible that the University may not be able to offer a module for reasons outside of its control, such as the illness of a member of staff or sabbatical leave. In some cases optional modules can have limited places available and so you may be asked to make additional module choices in the event you do not gain a place on your first choice. Where this is the case, the University will endeavour to inform students.

Further Reading

Entry Requirements

  • Degree Subject Humanities or Social Sciences
  • Degree Classification UK BA (Hons) 2.1 or equivalent

Students for whom English is a Foreign language

We welcome applications from students whose first language is not English. To ensure such students benefit from postgraduate study, we require evidence of proficiency in English. Our usual entry requirements are as follows:

  • IELTS: 6.5 (minimum 6.0 in all components)
  • PTE (Pearson): 62 (minimum 55 in all components)

Test dates should be within two years of the course start date.

Other tests, including Cambridge English exams and the Trinity Integrated Skills in English are also accepted by the university. The full list of accepted tests can be found here: Accepted English Language Tests

INTO UEA also run pre-sessional courses which can be taken prior to the start of your course. For further information and to see if you qualify please contact


This course's annual intake is in September of each year.

Alternative Qualifications

If you have alternative qualifications that have not been mentioned above then please contact university directly for further information.


All applications for postgraduate study are processed through the Faculty Admissions Office and forwarded to the relevant School of Study for consideration. If you are currently completing your first degree or have not yet taken a required English language test, any offer of a place will be conditional upon you achieving this before you arrive.

Fees and Funding

Tuition fees

Tuition fees for the academic year 2018/19 are:

  • UK/EU Students: £7,550
  • International Students: £15,800

If you choose to study part-time, the fee per annum will be half the annual fee for that year, or a pro-rata fee for the module credit you are taking (only available for UK/EU students).

We estimate living expenses at £1,015 per month.


Scholarships and Awards

The Faculty of Arts and Humanities has a number of Scholarships and Awards on offer. For further information relevant to Political, Social and International Studies, visit the Scholarships and Funding page for postgraduate students.

How to Apply

Applications for Postgraduate Taught programmes at the University of East Anglia should be made directly to the University.

You can apply online, or by downloading the application form.

Further Information

To request further information & to be kept up to date with news & events please use our online enquiry form.

If you would like to discuss your individual circumstances prior to applying please do contact us:

Postgraduate Admissions Office
Tel: +44 (0)1603 591515

International candidates are also encouraged to access the International Students section of our website.

    Next Steps

    We can’t wait to hear from you. Just pop any questions about this course into the form below and our enquiries team will answer as soon as they can.

    Admissions enquiries: or
    telephone +44 (0)1603 591515