- Learn through real-life case studies, work alongside policy practitioners, and confront problems surrounding public policymaking
- Look at the world of policy through a critical lens and apply your skills to complete a portfolio project where you’ll create policy recommendations
- Be surrounded by experts who work with UK parliament, make regular media appearances and want to shape the future of policymaking
- Join a community that cares about ethical policymaking, focusing on an applied approach that drives change
How is public policy made? What challenges do policymakers face? And how do we construct policy solutions to policy problems? Study with us to explore these vital questions and confront the puzzles of public policymaking.
Fresh ideas to meet big challenges
Conflict, climate change, cost of living. Global crises cannot be solved by one individual. To make a change, we need to take collective action – and without policy that wouldn’t be possible. The world needs good policymakers with new ideas and a fresh approach to tackle the stalemate that policy has reached.
If you want to work in the world of international, national or local policy, you need to know how it’s made. This programme unpacks policymaking and gives you the skills to research, evaluate and create policy.
You might recognise some of our teaching team from their media appearances, perhaps talking about maritime security or the Middle East. You might have picked up their books in a shop – one academic has recently published on Labour's immigration policy.
Learn the skills to create policy
You'll hear from our expert academics on different domains, from local government to national defence. Our aim is to also hear perspectives from policy practitioners in different roles.
Instead of a traditional dissertation, you’ll complete a portfolio module. You’ll look at a specific area, use policy evaluation tools and create policy recommendations. Then showcase your work at a conference which will be attended by our community of practitioners and academics.
Whether you’re interested in environmental, immigration, defence, foreign, or EU public policy, or the broader politics of policymaking, we’ll help you hone your specialism and sharpen the skills employers are looking for.
We’ve designed this course to help you develop knowledge and transferable skills relevant to a range of different future careers.
Armed with this master’s degree, you’ll be the perfect fit for roles in:
- Civil service
- Political parties
- Local government
- International charities
- International business
We’re home to the Richardson Institute for Peace Studies, which undertakes peace and conflict research. As a student on our Master's in Public Policy, you will have the opportunity to apply for an internship to undertake a research project with an external organisation via the Richardson Institute.
Another option following your Master's is to continue your studies and further your research interests via a PhD programme.
Not sure what’s next? We’ll help you determine your direction and support you in getting there with support both from academics who work in the world of policy and specialist careers advisers.
2:1 degree in a related subject is normally required. We will also consider applications where you have a degree in other subjects, have a 2:2 or equivalent result and/or extensive relevant experience. In these cases, you should clearly demonstrate how your experience and skills have prepared you for postgraduate study.
If you have studied outside of the UK, we would advise you to check our list of international qualifications before submitting your application.
English Language Requirements
We may ask you to provide a recognised English language qualification, dependent upon your nationality and where you have studied previously.
We normally require an IELTS (Academic) Test with an overall score of at least 6.5, and a minimum of 5.5 in each element of the test. We also consider other English language qualifications.
If your score is below our requirements, you may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English language programmes.
Contact: Admissions Team +44 (0) 1524 592032 or email email@example.com
You will study a range of modules as part of your course, some examples of which are listed below.
This module examines policy-making in the European Union (EU). At the end of the module, students will be able to demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of the different demands placed upon policy-makers in European countries and identify the relevance of the European Social Model (ESM) to public policy.
The module is taught in weekly two-hour lectures / seminars. These will commence in Week 1 and run for ten weeks, covering the topics listed below:
- Studying EU public policy
- European Social Model (ESM)
- Economic policy
- Social policy
- Regional policy
- Environmental policy
- Justice policy
- Foreign policy
- EU public administration
Assessment is by 5,000 word essay.
Theory and Methods in Postgraduate Studies
This module serves to consolidate postgraduate research and learning support by enabling students to engage with theories, methods, and skills relevant to your studies. The module is core for all PPR PGT politics students and complements core subject and discipline-specific provision in religious studies and philosophy. Through this module we aim to equip you with the ability to reflect upon the processes and implications of research project planning, design and execution in Politics, Philosophy and/or Religion.
The first part of the module examines the principles of research, including different disciplinary traditions of knowledge production. It goes on to set out the process of structuring a research project and explores how to develop and apply theory. The second part of the module examines a range of methods for conducting research, including interviews, surveys, and case studies. The final section covers questions of ethics and goes through how to write up and present research. Through the module, students will design research projects, develop writing and critical evaluation skills, and have the opportunity to present their research ideas as part of the annual MA conference. The module involves a combination of lectures, small group discussion, and presentations covering the following areas:
- The academic research process.
- Project planning, design and process management.
- Ethics in postgraduate research.
- Resource identification and review processes.
- Data acquisition techniques and issues.
- Analytical and interpretative approaches.
- Academic conventions (e.g. making an argument, writing, referencing).
Assessment is by 5,000 word research proposal.
Conflict Management and Contemporary Conflicts
The course aims to explore a variety of approaches to conflict management in contemporary conflicts, by third parties and parties in conflict, and critically assesses their effectiveness and potential. The course draws its theoretical foundations from peace and conflict research but is aimed at enabling students to learn to assess the scope for conflict management and peace- building in practice. The module includes both academic literature as well as policy relevant papers.
The focus of the course is on analysing peace processes and practical problems of conflict prevention, conflict management and peace-building in a range of contemporary international, internal, ethnic, community and environmental conflicts.
Students will be divided up into groups of two or three, and each group will take responsibility for identifying and investigating a specific approach to conflict management in a conflict of their choice. The choice of cases will vary with the interest of students. In recent year topics included Afghanistan, Chechnya, Georgia, Kashmir, Kosovo, Macedonia, Northern Ireland, Liberia/Sierra Leone, Timor Elste, conflict prevention and the emergent global climate change negotiations, and peace-building in contemporary Africa and Asia.
The course is taught in 10 2-hour lecture seminars, with the first half devoted to the lecture and the second half dedicated to substantial presentations by the student / group.
Issues and Practice in Diplomacy and Foreign Policy
Diplomacy and Foreign Policy are central to the understanding of international politics. The structure of the international system induces a constant need for political dialogue and negotiations. Besides war, diplomacy is the common language states are using to interact on the world stage.
Complementing the first core module on Diplomacy and Foreign Policy, which provides theoretical understanding of the subject, this module applies these theoretical tools to contemporary diplomatic and negotiation issues and great power politics (PPR.430 is NOT a prerequisite though). Indeed, the teaching and learning strategy of Diplomacy and Foreign Policy is designed to give students both theoretical and practical understanding of contemporary issues in diplomacy and foreign policy. Academic teaching will thus be complemented by guest lectures (e.g. by a practitioner) and in-class activities such as mock negotiation exercises.
The syllabus is likely to draw upon the following: Nuclear weapons and foreign policy, Arms control and diplomacy, International climate negotiations, South-North relations and development, and some in-class mock negotiation exercises.
Assessment is by 5,000 word essay.
Politics & Policymaking of Immigration
Immigration is one of the most controversial political issues across liberal democratic states. The issue dominates debate across the political spectrum and continues to be a top voting issue in many Western states including the UK. It is one of the most divisive, contested and important issues of our time. The goal of this course is to unpack the politicisation of immigration, including how and why immigration is so contested, the actors that shape these debates and how immigration policy is made. The course is designed to give students a rich understanding of the politics of immigration and immigration policies, including a comprehensive understanding of why immigration policies differ across countries, the critical debates at the heart of immigration policymaking, and ultimately why immigration is politicised. The course particularly considers European countries’ immigration policies and the political dynamics and processes that shape these policy outputs. By the end of the module, students will have developed an understanding of the theoretical and conceptual frameworks used by political scientists to analyse the politics of immigration, as well as acquiring a sound knowledge of political debates and policy trends across Europe. Students will acquire the skills to analyse the political dynamics of immigration policymaking.
The course will touch on a number of questions, including why is immigration politicised? Who makes and shapes immigration policy? What role do political parties play? To what extent is migration policy become ‘Europeanized’? Has multiculturalism failed? Have states ‘lost control’ of migration? Why do gaps persist between immigration policy outputs and outcomes? How can we explain differences in immigration policies, across streams and countries? Why do publics oppose immigration? To answer these questions, this course will unpack the political dynamics of immigration and in turn, the policymaking processes by examining different explanatory theories and concepts utilised by political scientists.
The European Union
This module focuses on the politics and international relations of the European Union. It assumes a basic level of knowledge of the EU and as a consequence, will go on to cover specific public policy areas, with a focus on how and why the EU takes political decisions. The module will also analyse the wider dynamics of European integration, and the activities of the various European institutions in Brussels, Strasbourg and Luxembourg (Council, Commission, Parliament, Court of Justice).
Policy areas covered will include economic, social, cohesion, environmental, justice and home affairs, and foreign affairs. The wider European Social Model (ESM) - economic free markets mixed with social welfare - will act as a backdrop to the class, and the question of its effectiveness in 2022 will be discussed and analysed. This will also extend to the wider role of the EU as a ‘soft power’ in the world and the argument that it acts as a global model for International relations and government.
The class will be taught as a two hour graduate seminar with short introductory presentations and videos followed by class discussions. The module will also have the aim of introducing students to careers in the EU and looking at what it is like to work for a European institution.
Theory and Concepts in Diplomacy and Foreign Policy
Diplomacy and Foreign Policy are central to the understanding of international politics. The structure of the international system induces a constant need for political dialogue and negotiations.
This module introduces students to ways of conceptualizing diplomacy and foreign policy in the 21st century:
- Why do states rely on diplomacy?
- What are the current forms and features of diplomacy and foreign policy?
- Is diplomacy the only form of international dialogue besides war?
- How do states (and statesmen) negotiate?
- How has diplomacy evolved throughout history?
- Does ‘global governance’ exist?
The teaching and learning strategy of Diplomacy and Foreign Policy is designed to give students both theoretical and practical understanding of contemporary issues in diplomacy and foreign policy. Academic teaching can be complemented by lectures and in-class activities carried out by practitioners (e.g. diplomats, civil servants, etc.).
Assessment is by 5,000 word essay.
Information contained on the website with respect to modules is correct at the time of publication, but changes may be necessary, for example as a result of student feedback, Professional Statutory and Regulatory Bodies' (PSRB) requirements, staff changes, and new research. Not all optional modules are available every year.
Fees and Funding
We set our fees on an annual basis and the 2024/25 entry fees have not yet been set.
There may be extra costs related to your course for items such as books, stationery, printing, photocopying, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits. Following graduation, you may need to pay a subscription to a professional body for some chosen careers.
Specific additional costs for studying at Lancaster are listed below.
Lancaster is proud to be one of only a handful of UK universities to have a collegiate system. Every student belongs to a college, and all students pay a small College Membership Fee which supports the running of college events and activities.
For students starting in 2023, the fee is £40 for undergraduates and research students and £15 for students on one-year courses. Fees for students starting in 2024 have not yet been set.
Computer equipment and internet access
To support your studies, you will also require access to a computer, along with reliable internet access. You will be able to access a range of software and services from a Windows, Mac, Chromebook or Linux device. For certain degree programmes, you may need a specific device, or we may provide you with a laptop and appropriate software - details of which will be available on relevant programme pages. A dedicated IT support helpdesk is available in the event of any problems.
The University provides limited financial support to assist students who do not have the required IT equipment or broadband support in place.
Application fees and tuition fee deposits
For most taught postgraduate applications there is a non-refundable application fee of £40. We cannot consider applications until this fee has been paid, as advised on our online secure payment system. There is no application fee for postgraduate research applications.
For some of our courses you will need to pay a deposit to accept your offer and secure your place. We will let you know in your offer letter if a deposit is required and you will be given a deadline date when this is due to be paid.
Fees in subsequent years
If you are studying on a programme of more than one year’s duration, the tuition fees for subsequent years of your programme are likely to increase each year. Read more about fees in subsequent years.
Scholarships and Bursaries
Details of our scholarships and bursaries for 2024-entry study are not yet available, but you can use our opportunities for 2023-entry applicants as guidance.
Check our current list of scholarships and bursaries.
Politics and International Relations
- Conflict Resolution and Peace Studies MA
- Conflict, Development and Security MA
- Diplomacy and Foreign Policy MA
- Diplomacy and International Law LLM
- Diplomacy and International Law MA
- Diplomacy and International Law (Distance Learning) LLM
- Diplomacy and International Law (Distance Learning) MA
- Diplomacy and International Relations (by Distance Learning) MA
- Diplomacy and Religion MA
- International Law and International Relations LLM
- International Law and International Relations MA
- International Relations MA
- International Relations PhD
- Philosophy and Religion MA
- Politics MA
- Politics PhD
- Politics and International Relations PgCert
- Politics and Philosophy MA
- Politics, Philosophy and Management MSc
The information on this site relates primarily to 2023/2024 entry to the University and every effort has been taken to ensure the information is correct at the time of publication.
The University will use all reasonable effort to deliver the courses as described, but the University reserves the right to make changes to advertised courses. In exceptional circumstances that are beyond the University’s reasonable control (Force Majeure Events), we may need to amend the programmes and provision advertised. In this event, the University will take reasonable steps to minimise the disruption to your studies. If a course is withdrawn or if there are any fundamental changes to your course, we will give you reasonable notice and you will be entitled to request that you are considered for an alternative course or withdraw your application. You are advised to revisit our website for up-to-date course information before you submit your application.
More information on limits to the University’s liability can be found in our legal information.
Our Students’ Charter
We believe in the importance of a strong and productive partnership between our students and staff. In order to ensure your time at Lancaster is a positive experience we have worked with the Students’ Union to articulate this relationship and the standards to which the University and its students aspire. View our Charter and other policies.