MA Public Policy and Public Management

Key facts

The 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014) rated 70% of UEA's research in Politics and International Studies as 4* (world leading) or 3* (internationally excellent).

"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.

What governments do and why they do it are perennially important questions. But in today’s complex and ever-changing world, a critical understanding of the processes and their results is more vital than ever before.

This MA will help you develop an in-depth understanding of public policy and management at both national and international levels. Flexible and multidisciplinary, it’s ideal if you have a social science degree and are hoping to specialise, a degree in environmental studies or geography and are looking for wider applications of your subject knowledge, or if you’re a professional, interested in gaining a deeper understanding of the processes you deal with every day.

You’ll develop transferable skills applicable to many careers, the ability to think critically and to constructively question ‘received wisdom’, presentation and teamwork skills, project work, critical analysis and synthesis of arguments, independent research, and the application of theory to real-world cases.


Our MA Public Policy and Public Management examines public policy-making and change from a political science perspective.

You’ll complete two core public policy and public management modules, and will then be able to specialise in one of three main areas: Public Policy and the Environment; International Public Policy; and Regulation and Competition.We have world-leading expertise in research and teaching of public policy, international politics, media and society, and social and political theory. Depending on the path you choose, you could also have the opportunity to collaborate with, and be taught by, academics from other sectors such as UEA Law School, Norwich Business School and the School of International Development.

You’ll also be able to choose a number of optional modules to tailor your course to your own interests.

You’ll take your interests even further through your Master’s dissertation – a piece of in-depth independent research, which you’ll complete with the supervision of a faculty member.

As a member of our postgraduate community you will also have the opportunity to attend numerous events and talks during your time here. We regularly attract distinguished lecturers, with previous guests including 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 former UK Independence Party MP, Sir Stephen Wall, retired diplomat; and Lord Richard Dannatt, formerly Chief of the General Staff. Find out more about our postgraduate community and experience some of these lectures.

Course Structure

Our Master’s course lasts one year for full-time students, and two years part-time. As a full-time student you will have classes during your first two semesters, then over the summer you’ll work on your dissertation, which you’ll submit at the start of September. If you are a part-time student, you will have classes in both years and over the summer of the second year you’ll work on your dissertation, which you will submit at the start of September.

The programme includes two compulsory modules, which 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 broad pathways: Public Policy and the Environment; International Public Policy; and Regulation and Competition.

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.

If you choose to focus on International Public Policy you will examine policy-making activities in different parts of the world, allowing you to apply the theories of public policy and public management to a wide range of contexts.

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’ll also have the opportunity to tailor your pathway to your own interests with a range of optional modules.

Finally, you will complete your Master’s by writing your dissertation, which is a fantastic opportunity to conduct independent research into a subject area that stimulates you. If you are a full-time student you’ll be assigned an individual supervisor from the faculty to advise you, and after the Easter break you’ll be able to discuss your work in progress with students and staff at our Postgraduate Dissertation day. For part-time students this will take place after the Easter break in your second year.

Teaching and Learning

Our teaching is research-led, in that we ask the same questions of our students as we do in our research. So you can be sure your learning will be at the cutting-edge of the discipline, taught by leading experts in public policy and management, political philosophy, political communications and media studies. 

The department comprises more than 30 members of staff, all of whom actively engage with research in the field. We take an interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary approach to 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 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.

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. Our postgraduate community includes students from across the globe, adding many different perspectives on – and approaches to – the subjects we study. And our rich programme of research seminars, visiting speakers, panel debates and high-profile public events all contribute to making UEA a stimulating environment within which to study.


You will be assessed on the basis of module work which you will complete across the year, and on your 10,000 word dissertation, which you’ll hand in at the end of the year.

We use a range of assessment methods across our modules, but you can expect to undertake essays, project reports, examinations, group work and presentations.

After the course

The flexibility and breadth of our Master’s course will open up a wide range of career opportunities to you. If you have a specific profession in mind, you can specialise; if you are looking for a broader understanding, you can take a wider focus.

Recent graduates have gone on to pursue high-level careers in the media, local and national government and non-governmental organisations, taking up roles such as business executive, policy analyst, consultant, subject specialist, lobbyist, adviser, NGO staff and civil servant. Some have gone on to university or research institute research, having pursued further postgraduate study such as a PhD.

Career destinations

  • Policy analyst
  • Lobbyist
  • NGO staff
  • Civil servant
  • Researcher
  • Consultant

Course related costs

Please see Additional Course Fees for details of other course-related costs.

Course Modules 2019/0

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? We will 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, students will have analysed and evaluated the most influential models and theories of public management and organisational behaviour, 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 (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) 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 we study conflict and conflict resolution strategies across different cultural contexts. You will study 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. Our approach is interdisciplinary; it includes Face and Politeness Theories, Discourse Analysis and Intercultural Communication Studies. The module will help you understand better 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.




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 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 Bachelors (Hons) degree - 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 5.5 in all components)
  • PTE (Pearson): 58 (minimum 42 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.

Fees and Funding

Tuition fees

Tuition fees for the academic year 2020/21 are:

  • UK/EU Students: £7,850
  • International Students: £16,400

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).

Living Expenses

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.

To apply please use our online 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