Interactive, supportive and community-focused learning
One of the defining features of this online course is the online learning experience, which is built on interaction and collaboration with tutors and fellow learners. In discussion groups, you will explore course materials with peers and dedicated tutors, and will have a unique opportunity to build your global professional network, making valuable connections with professionals from your sector based all over the world.
The entirely online teaching and delivery of this Masters degree ensures that there is no need to ever visit campus – this MPA can be studied and completed from anywhere in the world. The flexible design of the programme makes it the ideal choice for busy professionals as it can be studied at any time. This enables you to study around work and family life, with no need to put your ambitions on hold by taking a career break.
You will learn from a highly skilled team of academics from around the world and study with a Department that has received national and global recognition in this field: in the 2021 QS World University rankings, the University of York ranked 22nd in the world for social policy and administration.
What you will study
Studying this online Master of Public Administration – Social and Public Policy, you will assess and analyse how social policy making interacts with and is shaped by socio-economic structures and conflicting political processes. You will examine the ways in which global dynamics impact on and are filtered through national social policies. You will use evidence to improve social policy practice and develop a range of transferable skills such as critical thinking, and evaluating and commissioning research. You will also gain an understanding of the requirements for ethical leadership and effective change management.
Career opportunities and progression
This programme is for ambitious professionals working in the public, non-profit or private sectors who aim to further develop their knowledge and skills in the field of social and public policy. The knowledge and skills that you will acquire will enable you to take on roles with higher degrees of leadership responsibility and strategic impact, and so shape and influence policy for the public good.
York MPA graduates go on to a wide range of roles, including in government, international NGOs and charities, the NHS, leading consultancies and accountancy firms, universities, banks, and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
- Part of the elite Russell Group of major research-intensive universities
- Ranked Top 20 in the UK (THE World University Rankings 2021)
- 22nd in the world for Social Policy and Administration (QS World University Rankings 2021)
- Top of the Russell Group for academic support (NSS 2020)
- Over 20,000 students and 4,000 staff from 150 countries
- Top 150 in the world (QS World University rankings 2021)
- Ranked 10th for research impact (Times Higher Education’s ranking of the most recent Research Excellence Framework)
- Students should normally have at least a 2:1 undergraduate degree or equivalent qualification and the professional experience outlined below.
- If they don't have experience of undergraduate study or only of a lower standard, the application may be considered if they have a suitable professional background, as outlined below.
- Students should have professional experience in the public policy/public service/public administration/international development field. This could be in roles in local or national government, or in non-governmental, intergovernmental or international organisations, the voluntary and charitable sector, and private sector roles which support or deliver public services or which interact with policy making. The extent of experience should be at least on an early career level, with some degree of involvement in organisational decision making or with a clear career path towards such responsibilities.
- If you earned your undergraduate degree outside of the UK, you should check that it is equivalent to a 2:1. Our country specific pages can help you to find out.
- If English isn’t your first language you may need to provide evidence of your ability, such as:
- IELTS: 6.5, with no less than 6.0 in each component
- PTE: 61, with no less than 55 in each component
- CAE and CPE (from January 2015): 176, with no less than 169 in each component
- TOEFL: 87, with a minimum of 21 in each component
- Trinity ISE: level 3 with Merit in all components
- Duolingo – minimum overall score of 115
You need to have completed the test within two years of the start date of your programme. You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test.
- You will not need to provide evidence of your English language abilities:
- If you’re from a specified majority English-speaking country
- If you’ve completed a degree in English in a specified country within two years of your intended start date
Comparative Social and Public Policy
Different countries face different, but also similar problems that they seek to address by public and social policy interventions. This module introduces approaches to a comparative analysis of these similarities and differences, and thus provides you with insights into the complexity of policy making across nation-states.
Futures of Work
In the modern world, how we work is subject to profound change, while employment conditions are becoming increasingly problematic for many. This module looks into the main trends around employment and the multiple drivers behind them, as well as the social policy responses that seek to shape the future of work.
Global Poverty & Inequality
In spite of efforts to reduce global poverty and a stronger awareness of the unequal distribution of wealth, poverty and inequality remain as substantive social problems. This module looks at the causes and drivers of global poverty, and provides you with the skills to analyse both the problems themselves and the policies that seek to tackle them.
Ethical Social Leadership & Public Value
Social leadership is crucial for ensuring ethical conduct of organisations as well as for the pursuit of public value. This module introduces you to the importance of ethical social leadership, how it is developed, and how it can contribute to the pursuit of organisational ethics as well as wider public value.
Leading and Managing Change
This module explores the theory and practice of managing change in organisational contexts. The overall aim is to develop your capacity and confidence not only in initiating and responding to change, but in taking control of change situations, helping you to deal more effectively with change within your own organisation.
Policy Analysis for a Complex World
This module explores and analyses the complexity inherent in contemporary social and public policy development and reform. It critically examines the role of ideas, interests, institutions and actors in the policy process and explores the wider social, economic and political processes that shape contemporary policy making. It equips you with the conceptual and analytical tools to undertake advanced applied policy analysis in a range of local, national and international policy settings.
Social protection is about enabling individuals to deal with risks they can hardly manage by themselves, in order to create conditions for a degree of social wellbeing. Social protection may look different from country to country, but there are a range of underlying principles and challenges that apply in any case, and that are explored systematically in this module.
Public-Private Partnerships in Public Services
The delivery of many public services involves a partnership between the public and the private or voluntary sector, which creates both opportunities and challenges. This module unpacks these, and equips you with the knowledge and skills to critically evaluate public-private partnerships in their many guises.
Exploring Policy Research
Effective policy-making and public administration depend on good research. This module enables you to critically reflect on the strengths, limitations and appropriateness of different research approaches and techniques, and you acquire the skills needed to evaluate and commission research for public policy and administration contexts.
This module prepares you for your Independent Study Project. It outlines the requirements for this project, covers key advice for its successful completion, and provides support in developing a precise and detailed plan, enabling you to start effectively on your study project in the following term.
Independent Study Project
The Independent Study Project is designed to assess your ability to define and investigate a researchable question or thesis, drawing on academic knowledge and skills acquired during your studies as well as your own professional experiences and practice.