QMUL Online

International Public Policy MSc

Find out how this course will provide you with an in-depth analysis of the concepts, stakeholders and processes involved in international public policy.

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International Public Policy

The International Public Policy course can be studied flexibly online at Masters, Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip), or Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) level.

It combines the specific theories, concepts and cases of public policy with international relations studies to ensure you gain a firm grasp of the decision-making and implementation processes involved in international public policy.

During this course, you'll explore the development, possibilities and limitations of international policy-making, including cooperation issues, the impact of international law and norms, and the role of international organisations and non-state stakeholders in policy-making.  

After successfully completing the course, you’ll be able to:

  • Critically analyse the processes, problems and possibilities of policy-making at an international level
  • Apply concepts and theoretical arguments to concrete cases of international public policy
  • Assess and explain the successes and failures of international public policy
  • Deal with the complex processes of international public policy-making in a creative and systematic manner, and make informed and substantiated judgements
  • Combine conceptual, theoretical and empirical materials in the analysis of international public policy
  • Pursue a meaningful career in public policy at an international organisation such as the UN, WHO, IMF, or foreign offices

Watch our video on the relevance of the International Public Policy MSc:


Watch our video on what makes the course different:



Why study with QMUL online?

As a member of the prestigious Russell Group, our School of Politics and International Relations is world-renowned as a major school for the study of global politics, and is led by a team of industry-leading researchers providing thought leadership and unique insights in local and global politics.

The team is committed to developing, maintaining and supporting teaching and research excellence and innovation amongst its faculty, and to fostering independent learning and critical thinking amongst its students.

It’s this team of leading academics that will teach and support you throughout your studies – ensuring you’re well-equipped with the in-depth knowledge and skills you need to understand and confidently contribute to public policy-making.

As an International Public Policy student with QMUL online, you’ll benefit from:

  • An innovative approach to policy-making within the field of international politics
  • The freedom and flexibility to study when and where it suits you and to choose from a wide variety of optional modules
  • World-class teaching from industry-leading experts in cutting-edge areas such as the politics of global health, World Bank policy, and the rise of emerging powers in the developing world
  • Our close links to leading practitioners in UK politics 
  • The opportunity to attend networking events at our Mile End Institute – a major policy centre at QMUL bringing together policymakers, academics and diverse local communities to address major political challenges in the UK.


Our online students enjoy the same status as those who attend the Queen Mary campus. You will have access to our extensive online resources and if you are able, are welcome to attend any of the extra-curricular events run by various research centres to complement your studies. 

In addition, you will benefit from dedicated tutor support, enhanced online material and a range of interactive features. There will be lively online discussions with your peers and webinars led by members of the academic staff, all accessible in a time that suits you. 

A Student Adviser will be appointed to you when you first enrol. They will help you with any non-academic questions and will ensure your experience with Queen Mary Online is positive and stress-free. 

The International Public Policy MSc combines public policy knowledge and skills with broad and advanced knowledge of international relations today. 

There are 3 award options available for our International Public Policy programme:

  • MSc International Public Policy – 4 modules plus dissertation
  • PGDip International Public Policy – 4 modules without dissertation
  • PGCert International Public Policy – 2 modules

There are 3 study blocks of 12 weeks each per year. Each course module runs for 1 study block, except for the dissertation which runs over 2 study blocks. 

Depending on which course intake you enroll in (May or September), you’ll cover the following core modules:

May intake

  • Contemporary World Politics: Theories, Concepts, Themes
  • Theories and Concepts in Public Policy
  • Evaluation and Delivery in Public Policy
  • Themes and Cases in US Foreign Policy
  • Dissertation – 12,000 words (MSc Only)

September intake

  • Theories and Concepts in Public Policy
  • Evaluation and Delivery in Public Policy
  • Contemporary World Politics: Theories, Concepts, Themes
  • Globalisation and The International Political Economy of Development
  • Dissertation – 12,000 words (MSc only)


Contemporary World Politics: Theories, Concepts, Themes

This module is designed to provide you with a command of key concepts and theoretical traditions in international relations and an understanding of their relevance to contemporary themes in world politics.

We will evaluate political developments and statements and analyse critical themes in world politics. Through a close reading of advanced theoretical texts, you will expand your conceptual and theoretical knowledge and begin to think critically about competing interpretations of events, and longer term developments in international relations.

Online discussions will encourage you to compare and critically evaluate theoretical knowledge and to express your arguments effectively.

Theories and Concepts in Public Policy

This module will provide a structured introduction to key issues and concepts in policy analysis. It will give you a solid grounding in theories of the policy-making process while enabling you to apply those insights to practical case-studies of policy formulation and implementation in the real world.

The module will also provide you with background on the key traditions and approaches to public administration and policy-making in countries around the world, both developing and developed states. 

Evaluation and Delivery in Public Policy

This module aims to provide a critical overview of the theory and practice of two of the crucial ‘end’ stages of the policy process: delivery and evaluation. It will examine how governments and public agencies around the world have sought to upgrade their delivery and evaluation capacity in recent decades.

The module will explore the development of theoretical and empirical academic literature and provide opportunities for students to apply this material to selected case studies relevant to the group. Practitioners will be encouraged to reflect on their practices and experiences. 

Themes and Cases in US Foreign Policy

In this module, we will consider the principal forms in which US foreign policy has been practised and interpreted since the foundation of the Republic. Amongst these are American Exceptionalism and Anti-Americanism, ‘spheres of influence’, liberal interventionism and protectionist isolationism, Cold War containment, the ‘War on Terror’ following 9/11, and the strains on uni-polarity in the early 21st century.

Case studies linked to these themes will allow us to consider the role of Native Americans and immigration, the war of 1898, gunboat diplomacy in the Caribbean, the ideas of Woodrow Wilson, the Vietnam War, the consequences of the 9/11 attacks, and the challenges posed by China.

Watch our video on the importance of studying the Themes and Cases in US Foreign Policy module: 

Globalisation and the International Political Economy of Development

This module provides you with a detailed examination and critique of theories of globalisation, an assessment of contemporary globalising processes, and how these particularly influence the developing world.

We will examine the analysis of contemporary manifestations of ‘globalisation’, including neo-liberalism, US hegemony and contemporary imperialism, capital flows, global commodity chains, state-market relations, patterns of global inequality, international institutions, and questions of cultural homogenisation/imperialism.

The module also looks at the ways in which ‘globalisation’ is resisted, focusing on the rise of transnational social movements and NGOs, and the politics of ‘anti-globalisation’, and how this relates to an ostensibly ‘post-development’ era.

In addressing these issues, the module concludes by asking the most important question: how do we think of ‘development’ in an era of ‘globalisation’, US hegemony, neo-liberalism and imperialism?

Dissertation (MSc only)

The title and subject of your dissertation will be agreed by your assigned tutor. A dissertation is only required if you study the full masters programme.

Entry requirements

To apply for this course, you should have:

• A minimum 2:1 degree in politics or a related discipline and/or appropriate professional experience*

*We may consider applicants with academic and/or professional experience outside this requirement if your experience and motivation demonstrate your ability to complete the programme.

If your first language is not English, you should also have one of the following:

  • IELTS Academic: 7.0 overall including 6.5 in Writing, and 5.5 in Reading, Listening and Speaking.
  • TOEFL: 100 overall including 24 in Writing, 18 in Reading, 17 in Listening and 20 in Speaking.
  • PTE Academic: 68 overall including 62 in Writing, and 51 in Reading, Listening and Speaking. 

Taking your English language requirement test at home

For 2020 start dates only, the following tests are also being accepted:

  • HOME TOEFL: 100 overall including 24 in Writing, 18 in Reading, 17 in Listening and 20 in Speaking.
  • Duolingo English Test: 125+/160 

Learn more >


If you would like to apply but are unsure whether you are qualified, please contact our course advisers.

International applicants

At Queen Mary, we are proud of our global community and have a long history of welcoming students from around the world. Over the years, many thousands of our international graduates have gone on to pursue successful careers. 

For any questions about the English language requirements or about entry qualifications specific to your country, contact our course advisers.

Tuition Fees

Masters (2 years part-time, including dissertation):

September 2020 start date: £12,500

Postgraduate Diploma (2 years part-time, no dissertation required):

September 2020 start date: £8,400

Postgraduate Certificate (1 year part-time, no dissertation required):

September 2020 start date: £4,200

We realise that this is a considerable financial investment on your part. To help you, we have a number of payment options. Details of these can be found by visiting our fees and funding page.

As an MSc International Public Policy student at QMUL, you might be eligible to receive a postgraduate loan. Find out more information about requirements and how to apply.

You can apply for the International Public Policy MSc via one of the two methods explained below.

Option 1 – apply via our agent
We have a dedicated agent (Samantha) who will support you with your application. Please email Samantha (Sigbinidu@online.qmul.ac.uk), attaching all the following documents:
  • Completed and hand-signed Consent and Additional Info Form (Word doc download);
  • Colour scanned copies of your academic certificates and transcripts for all university level qualifications. If these documents are in another language, please provided the originals and the official translated copies; 
  • Your statement of purpose. One page in a Word doc detailing your motivation to study, your professional achievements and career goals. We recommend that you refer to specific modules on the course that you are looking forward to studying and why you want to study with Queen Mary;
  • An up-to-date CV; 
  • One reference letter to support your application. The letter must be [1] on headed paper, [2] be signed, [3] highlight your relationship with the referee, [4] provide a summary of your character and achievements [5] state that they recommend you for the programme with Queen Mary University of London;
Once you have sent all the required the documents to Samantha, she will act as your agent and submit the application on your behalf. 
Option 2 – apply using the online application form
Please attach the following documents to the online application form:
  • Colour scanned copies of your academic certificates and transcripts for all university level qualifications. If these documents are in another language, please provided the originals and the official translated copies; 
  • Your statement of purpose. One page in a Word doc detailing your motivation to study, your professional achievements and career goals. We recommend that you refer to specific modules on the course that you are looking forward to studying and why you want to study with Queen Mary;       
  • An up-to-date CV;     
  • One reference letter to support your application. The letters must be [1] on headed paper, [2] be signed, [3] highlight your relationship with the referee, [4] provide a summary of your character and achievements [5] state that they recommend you for the programme with Queen Mary University of London;
What happens next?
Once you or the agent has submitted your application, our admissions selectors aim to review this within two weeks (provided we have received all the required documents).
Good luck with your application!

How you are assessed

All assessments for the course are based on coursework and submitted online. Assessments will be primarily in the form of research essays, report-writing and a dissertation.

As a student at QMUL, we encourage you to play an active role in your acquisition of skills and knowledge. We use a mixture of online tutorials, discussion forums and group webinars designed to generate informed and engaging discussions.

Module leaders will set assessments appropriate to the content of their module, which will usually take the form of a research essay or critical evaluation. They will also be available to advise and support you throughout the course.

The final dissertation (MSc only) will involve more in-depth study and independent research on a topic agreed on with your supervisor.

Independent study

At QMUL, we take your studies seriously, and in return, we hope you’ll do the same.

Each week, you’ll need to invest additional time on individual study. This could be spent preparing for or following up on formal study sessions, reading, producing written work, completing projects, or undertaking research for your dissertation.

The direction of your individual study will be guided by the formal study sessions you attend, along with your reading lists and assignments. We expect you to demonstrate an active role in your own learning by reading widely and expanding your knowledge, understanding, and critical ability.

Independent study helps foster the ability to identify your own learning needs and determine which areas you need to focus on to become proficient in your subject area. This is an important transferrable skill that will help you throughout your working life.

Course content developed by leading academics

The content of the programme is dynamic and flexible with our research-active staff responding to the latest global events to create the course modules.

Module leaders are the subject experts responsible for developing academic content. Tutors lead on the day to day delivery of this content via webinars and discussion forums. 

Programme Director

Professor Jef Huysmans

Jef Huysmans is Professor of International Politics. After finishing his PhD at the University of Leuven (Belgium), he took up a lectureship in International Relations and European studies at the University of Kent at Canterbury. Later he moved to the Open University where he taught politics and international relations and was Director of the Centre for Citizenship, Identities and Governance. He joined Queen Mary University of London in January 2016.

He is best known for his work on the politics of insecurity, the securitization of migration, and critical methods in security studies and IR. Currently he is working on security and democracy in times of surveillance, the political life of methods, and fracturing worlds.

He is Co-Convenor of the research group Doing International Political Sociology (http://www.doingips.com/people/) and member of the Board of the European International Studies Association.

Module Leaders

Dr Patrick Diamond

Senior Lecturer

Patrick was formally Research Fellow in the Department of Politics at the University of Manchester, and Gwilym Gibbon Fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford. He is a Visiting Fellow at Kellogg College, University of Oxford and an Associate Member of Nuffield College. Patrick is a trustee of the Dartington Service Design Lab and the Prisoners’ Education Trust (PET). He is also on the Board of the Campaign for Social Science. He is Chair of the think-tank Policy Network, and sits on the Scientific Council of the Foundation for European Progressive Studies.

Patrick held a number of senior posts in British central government between 2000 and 2010, and was formally Head of Policy Planning in 10 Downing Street. He was a Local Councillor in the London Borough of Southwark from 2010 to 2014, and he has been a trustee of the Bromley by Bow Centre, a pioneering voluntary organisation led by the local community in East London.

Patrick has contributed op-ed articles to the Financial Times, the Guardian, the Independent, the Daily Telegraph, the Wall Street Journal, the Times Educational Supplement, and the New Statesman. He comments regularly on numerous national media outlets, and has given interviews on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, the Westminster Hour, the Moral Maze, Start the Week, Newsnight, Sky News with Adam Boulton, and CNBC news. He contributes to other European newspapers and journals including Die Zeit, Italianieuropei, Berliner Republik, and Berlin Network.

Dr Sarah Wolff

Lecturer and Director of the Centre for European Research

Dr. Wolff is the Director of the Center for European Research at QMUL. Sarah's experience on EU politics and foreign policy was gained in various public, think tanks and higher education institutions. She is involved in facilitating a permanent and dynamic dialogue between citizens, academia and practitioners, as well as for active public engagement.

In addition to her position at SPIR, Sarah is Senior Research Associate Fellow at the Netherlands Institute for International Relations and regularly contributes in various media (Le Monde, Today Zaman, Al-Jazeera, Skynews, etc), blogs at http://sarahwolffeu.wordpress.com/, and tweets @drsarahwolff

Dr Dionysis Markakis

Dionysis Markakis is a lecturer at the School of Politics and International Relations (SPIR) at Queen Mary University of London. Prior to taking up this position, he was a Post-Doctoral Research Associate at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service in Qatar.

Dionysis holds a PhD in International Relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). His current book is US Democracy Promotion in the Middle East: The Pursuit of Hegemony (2015).

Dr Patrick Pinkerton

Patrick Pinkerton is a lecturer at the School of Politics and International Relations (SPIR) at Queen Mary University of London. Prior to taking up this position, he was a Visiting Lecturer at City, University of London.

Patrick holds a PhD in International Relations from the University of Manchester. He has published work on the post-conflict situations in Northern Ireland and Bosnia-Herzegovina in the British Journal of Politics and International Relations and the Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding.


Dr Nevena Nancheva

Nevena Nancheva is a recognised Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and has been teaching International Relations at the Master's level since 2010. Her leading research interest is nationalism in the European context. She has written on European integration, EU security and migration governance, national minorities, refugee migration, and recently, on nationalism and the construction of 'national' food.

Nevena's 2016-17 research project EU Migrants in the UK: Political Community, Identity and Security is funded by the British Academy/Leverhulme Trust. She is the co-founder of an academic research network on EU migration (eu-migrants.net) hosted by the Centre for Research on Communities, Identities and Difference at Kingston University London.

Dr Adam Chalmers

Adam Chalmers is a Senior Lecturer of European Political Economy at King’s College London. He has a PhD in Political Science from McGill University (2011) and was an Assistant Professor of International Relations at Leiden University in the Netherlands (2011-2015).

His research, which mainly focuses on international regulatory politics, the politicisation of international trade, and interest group politics, has been published in numerous journals (including Regulation and Governance, Business and Politics, European Journal of Political Research, Political Communication, and Review of International Political Economy), book chapters, and policy papers.

Dr Olanrewaju Olaoye (AKA Larry) 

Larry’s interest in teaching, research and consultancy has developed as a result of 15 years of professional experience within the public sector, private sector and third sector working in different levels of complexity while trouble-shooting and proffering solutions to real-life work problems.

He has worked with the World Health Organisation, UNICEF, Laureate Online Universities, the British Council and Chevening and is a subject specialist in Public Policy, Governance and Strategy Making. He is currently working on an ongoing project (delivered with KRIU-Kazakhstan) funded by the British Council Creative Sparks Award aimed at developing the Enterprise sector in Kazakhstan 

Where we could lead you

Graduates from our programmes progress to diverse positions of responsibility in government, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), international organisations and the not-for-profit sector as well as broader roles in the media and finance sector.  They also go on to careers in academia and our programmes help students develop the required research skills.

The combination of theoretical understanding, rigorous debate, independent research, self-reflection and critical evaluation make graduates from the School of Politics and International Studies very attractive to a range of prospective employers. 

To make it more concrete, here are a few examples of where our students have been employed:

  • International Monetary Fund (IMF)
  • Moody's
  • International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Society
  • Volkswagen
  • Alliance for Peacebuilding
  • United Nations – Perú

You’ll also have access to QM Careers, helping you throughout your time as a QMUL student. You’ll be able to access advice on career choices and on how to maximise the career opportunities available to you. The QM Careers office also provides a service for internships, part-time work, and volunteering while you study.


Need more information?

    Contact us

Apply for MSc

September 2020

Apply for PGDip

September 2020

Apply for PGCert

September 2020