Recruitment for our online courses is closed. Explore all QMUL postgraduate courses.

QMUL Online
Also in this section

Drive change through effective policy making

Watch our webinar on how this programme will help you analyse the concepts, stakeholders and processes involved in international public policy.

International Public Policy MSc (Online)

This course is no longer recruiting. QMUL offer a wide range of alternative postgraduate courses which you may like to consider. A full course listing can be found here.


Key facts
Format: part-time and online (distance learning)
Tuition fees: £13,295 (MSc); £8,850 (PGDip); £4,450 (PGCert). Payment by instalment and funding options available. Learn more about costs and ways to pay on our Fees and Funding page.
Course duration:  two years (MSc); 15 months (PGDip); one year (PGCert)
Annual start dates:  Recruitment for this course has stopped
Next start date:  Recruitment for this course has stopped
Application deadline:  Recruitment for this course has stopped
Time commitment:  approximately 20 hours per week

Why study International Public Policy (Online)?

The course 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.

Hear Professor of International Politics Jef Huysmans discuss the benefits of the programme as well as the differences between the International Public Policy and International Relations degrees:

Read the transcript for this video

Professor Jef Huysmans: "The benefits are that you get exactly the same masters or MSc degree in international public policy or IR than the people on campus, and you have the flexibility to study from anywhere in the time that fits you. And there is a quite nice structure to the modules, so you can go from week to week and have the same kind of structure to go. So this is one of the benefits of our distance learning program because they have exactly the same quality to the programs that we teach on campus. Well, I direct two programs and they are slightly different. They both have a focus on trying to understand contemporary world politics, but the international relations degree focuses more on the set of how the world is organized. You get an introduction to conflict and war in that one. There is a discussion around, you know, what does it mean, currently, to speak about the globalizing world? So you get actually a view on how world politics [UNCLEAR] and topical areas of discussion and debate. Plus, you'll get a whole range of skills about researching, knowing, reflecting on what's going on in the world at the moment. The international public policy degree is a hybrid one. It does partly this: it sets you up with the general introduction to contemporary world politics and the issues at play. But it then hones in, really on trying to come to an understanding how in public institutions, NGOs and so on, policy decision making processes take place, how you can influence them, but also what processes are in place to evaluate feedback loops that are present, to see if a policy really delivers. And what sets the public policy orientation in our programs, maybe slightly apart from other programs, is that we have a real investment in trying to understand that policies are actually done for people and citizens. And how can they become back involved in the feedback and evaluation processes of the policies?"

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 international organisations such as the UN, WHO, IMF, or foreign offices

Hear from our current students 

Teresa Gehling is a Communications Consultant and a current MSc online student. She discusses the global perspective the International Public Policy course is giving her:

Watch the full interview >

Pharmaceutical professional Susan Bennett tells us about the career benefits of studying International Public Policy online:

Read more >


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.

The School of Politics and International Relations

Committed to developing, maintaining and supporting excellent and innovative teaching and research amongst its faculty, the School fosters independent learning and critical thinking among our students. Its research strengths include: 

  • International security
  • Conflict and war
  • Political economy of North-South relations
  • International political theory
  • Middle East politics
  • Transition from the Cold War to the contemporary post-Cold War world
  • Migration and transnational mobility

For more information about the School please visit

Have a question about studying?

Our course adviser team is here to help:

Contact us

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 whether you start your course in May or September, you’ll cover the following core modules:

May start

  • 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 start

  • 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)

Module details

This postgraduate programme combines the study of international relations with the analysis of public policy formation and state governance. Through this, you’ll gain an advanced understanding of how policy is made and how political institutions operate.

Two of the modules will build your knowledge of theories, concepts, and cases of public policy, and two modules will offer in-depth insights into international projects. These will be followed by your final project.

By the end of the course, you’ll hold the expertise needed to establish yourself in this field, analysing key public policy issues and designing effective policies to address them.

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.

Need more information?

Entry requirements

The usual entry requirement for the International Public Policy MSc is for a 2.1 honours degree or international equivalent in a relevant subject, such as politics, international relations, history or economics.

However, if you have a 2nd class degree and at least three years' relevant work experience, we may also consider your application. 

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 68 in Writing, and 51 in Reading, Listening and Speaking.

Please visit the Alternative English Language Qualifications page on the main Queen Mary website for more information on language requirements.

Get advice from an IELTS examiner on taking your IELTS English Language test:

Read the transcript for this video

Taking your IELTS English Language test?

Here are top tips from an IELTS examiner on how to prepare for each section and perform at your best on exam day.

4 skills are tested in the IELTS exam:

  1. Reading
  2. Listening
  3. Speaking
  4. Writing

Advice for reading

  • Read newspapers and academic journals regularly to help improve your vocabulary and reading speed
  • Download IELTS practice tests from the website to learn how to identify the easiest questions
  • During your exam, read through the paper in full initially and identify which questions are easier for you
  • Start with the easier questions to guarantee yourself some marks and help you feel confident

Advice for listening

  • Listen to the radio, TV and YouTube videos to help you understand various accents
  • Practice your spelling of names, numbers and addresses

Advice for speaking

  • Speak in English as much as possible in your day-to-day life
  • On the day of the exam, see if you can speak in English to another candidate outside the exam hall, to put yourself at ease

Advice for writing

  • Practice writing academic papers and get feedback from a teacher or professor if you can
  • Get to know the band descriptors IELTS examiners use to mark your writing – you can find these on the website
  • Identify the areas you need to improve on and practice these before your exam
  • During your exam, make sure you answer the question that’s being asked and complete all parts of the task

And finally...

Leave yourself plenty of time to prepare! If you can, try to book your exam at least six weeks in advance to give yourself enough time to practice the different skills. Practice makes perfect with the IELTS exam.

Have questions?

If you're unsure about any areas of the IELTS process and would like further advice, please reach out to our course adviser team.

  • Tel: +44(0)20 3859 7192
  • WhatsApp: +44 (0)7360 818402

Taking your English language requirement test at home

The following tests are also being accepted for September 2023 entry:

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

Learn more >


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

Need more information?

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.

There are no exams – our focus is helping you develop essential research capabilities and industry skills. As a student at QMUL, you can look forward to producing work that represents your true academic ability, not just what you can memorise at the time. 

We'll 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.

Need more information?

Resources and services

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. 

You’ll also be able to turn to our helpful Student Adviser team once you enrol 

Research-active staff

As a member of the Russell Group, Queen Mary is committed to the highest quality teaching and research. 

The content of the programme is dynamic and flexible with our academics 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.

Co-Programme Directors

Dr Diego de Merich

Diego joined the School of Politics and International Relations in 2017. He is an alumnus of the United World College of the Adriatic, Italy, and the University of British Columbia, Canada. He completed his PhD in International Relations at the London School of Economics in 2015, with a dissertation on the critical ethics of international development.

In 2015/16, he was responsible for a mainstreaming review of the LSE100 syllabus, which resulted in the largest equalities initiative of its kind in UK higher education. He was awarded departmental teaching prizes in 2014 and 2016.

Diego’s research interests include the ethics of care; human empathy and affect in moral theory; the ethics of international development, and intersectionality mainstreaming practices around the world. He is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and became DL Programmes Coordinator for SPIR in 2021. He recently completed a co-authored textbook, Global Politics: Myths and Mysteries (Oxford University Press, 2022).

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 ( and member of the Board of the European International Studies Association.


Module leader

Dr Tamara Popic

Tamara was a former research fellow at the Max Weber Programme at the European University Institute, Florence. She was also research fellow at the Norface Welfare State Futures Programme and visiting researcher at the College of Europe and Trinity College Dublin. Tamara is a member of the COVID-19 Research Conduit and the COVID-19 Knowledge Hub. Her work has been published by academic outlets such as Oxford University Press and in international scholarly journals including, among others, Journal of Social Policy, European Social Policy and Health Policy.

Tamara has previous record of working as research expert at projects on healthcare and social protection such as The Paradox of Health State Futures (Healthdox) and Migration, Transnationalism and Social Protection (MiTSoPro) and for international organizations such as UNICEF. She has contributed articles to media outlets such as The Conversation, Social Europe, LSE Europe, and Cambridge Core Blog. She also contributes to other European newspapers and journals, e.g., El Confidential.


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 

Dr Paul Hayman

Paul Hayman is a recognised Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, with a PhD in International Theory/Political Philosophy from the School of Government & International Affairs at Durham University. He also holds a Master’s in International Studies from the same department and a Law degree from Northumbria University.

He has lectured at Durham University in political sociology, where he also supervised postgraduate dissertations. He currently holds a senior position at The Open University, managing teaching and learning in Politics and International Studies in the largest academic faculty in Europe. He has a wealth of online teaching experience, supporting students across a range of disciplines and issue-areas, including international relations, political ideas, public policy, social theory, and development studies.

Dr Haro Karkour

Haro Karkour is a recognised Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and has been teaching online modules at Masters level since 2012. He has completed his PhD in politics at the University of Leicester with the thesis entitled 'Kosovo, Libya, and the problem with depoliticisation in the theory and practice of post-Cold War Humanitarian Intervention.

Haro's research is focused on International Relations (IR) theory. He is currently looking at classical realism and its application to US foreign policy, the liberal international order and the 'Global IR' debate. His research has been published previously in IR journals such as International Relations and Journal of International Political Theory.

Read Haro's blog post on how IR students can interpret the G7 Summit in Cornwall >

Need more information?

How could Queen Mary's course benefit my career? 

Queen Mary University of London is a member of the Russell Group of leading universities, attracting students from all over the world. Join us to become part of a truly global community and acquire a global perspective through your learning, boosting both your knowledge and your professional network.

This degree will give you a set of skills and knowledge that you can use across various career paths and job opportunities. In addition, it will give you specific skills and knowledge supporting careers in policy development and implementation. 
Jef Huysmans, International Public Policy MSc Programme Director 

What career-relevant skills will I develop?

This MSc will give you knowledge and transferrable skills that you can use in a variety of international public policy settings. The programme will help you understand how agenda setting and policy making works, and how you move from agenda setting to decision-making and policy implementation.

You will learn about what instruments are available to you in a policy-making environment and how you can design, develop, implement and evaluate policy.

You will gain the ability to listen to or read complicated material and pick out key points quickly, an important skill in most jobs. You will also learn how to debate current issues with your peers and communicate your ideas effectively, both verbally and in writing.

The theoretical understanding and transferrable skills you develop on the MSc can not only help you perform better within your current role, but also make you very attractive to a range of prospective employers.

What careers support is available?

As an online student, you’ll have access to QM Careers and Enterprise for up to two years after you graduate. The service offers information and guidance on a range of topics, from choosing a career to succeeding at interview and starting your own business.

Find out more about career guidance for Queen Mary Online students on our Career Support page.

What benefits does the reflective journal provide?

Throughout the course, you will be encouraged to complete a reflective journal, to help you process and analyse what you are learning each week.

Looking back at this journal after you graduate will help you articulate what skills and knowledge you gained during your studies. This can prove very useful when completing job applications or writing reports at work.

How will the dissertation help me with potential employers?

Your dissertation gives you an opportunity to examine a problem in your current workplace or at somewhere you want to target as a potential employer.

For example, if you want to work in international government after your degree, you could investigate one of the challenges a government body is facing and write a report offering solutions. That report could be something you write about in job applications or take with you to interview.

What careers have graduates progressed to?

Graduates of our online MSc in International Public Policy have gone on to work in roles such as:

  • Associate, African Import-Export Bank
  • Compliance Officer, Shanghai Commercial Bank
  • Enterprise Governance Contractor, Transport for New South Wales
  • Police Constable, UK Metropolitan Police Service
  • Policy Advisor, UK Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

Source: LinkedIn


Want to study on-campus?

    Explore the on-campus MSc

Apply for a postgradaute course at QMUL

How to apply

Want to study at postgraduate level?

Explore all courses