Course Overview

The MA in Public Policy prepares its graduates to work in government, public bodies, civil society organisations, NGOs, International organisations, businesses and other fields and organisations that require an expert understanding of policy-making. In addition to core policy and research training modules, it offers specialised modules in specific policy areas including: Policy in the Digital Age; Advocacy and Development; Gender; Peace and Conflict; Disability; Ageing; Child and Family; Ocean and Marine; Urban policy; Social Welfare; Agriculture; Negotiation; as well as an optional field trip to Brussels to examine EU policy-making. At a time when policy formulation and implementation is increasingly subject to political scrutiny and negotiation, the course emphasizes the political contexts in which policy is made and implemented and the development of digital government and new forms of public consultation and participation.

The programme is aimed at Arts graduates seeking a qualification that will help them to secure policy-related employment; graduates from other fields including Commerce and Law seeking to improve their employment prospects; graduates interested in pursuing PhD research, particularly in areas where NUI Galway has specialist policy expertise. 

The objectives of the programme are to:

  • Equip students with theoretical knowledge of policy-making processes and key issues such as participation, implementation, and evaluation.
  • Enhance students' skills in communication, innovative thinking, negotiation, presentation, teamwork, and writing skills
  • Offer direct experience of contributing to policy-making processes, analysing current policies, and suggesting solutions to policy problems while working in teams and as individuals.
  • Introduce students to expert knowledge on a range of key national and international policy issues.
  • Introduce students to the concept of participation in policy-making, with particular emphasis on the forms of advocacy and lobbying.

As an international student you might be able to apply for a scholarship and here is a link to those available at NUI Galway. 

Applications and Selections

Applications are made online via the NUI Galway Postgraduate Applications System

Who Teaches this Course

  • Professor Niall Ó Dochartaigh (Political Science and Sociology)
  • Dr Michele Crepaz, Political Science and Sociology
  • Professor Kevin Leyden, Political Science and Sociology
  • Dr Brendan Flynn,  Political Science and Sociology
  • Professor Alan Ahearne, Director of the Whitaker Institute
  • Professor Alma McCarthy, Management
  • Dr Maureen O'Sullivan, Law
  • Professor John McHale, Economics
  • Dr Ronán Kennedy, Law
  • Dr Stephen Hynes, Economics
  • Dr Ann Torres, Marketing
  • Dr Kevin O'Sullivan

Requirements and Assessment

Requirements

  • Personal statement: all applicants must enclose a typed personal statement of approximately 600 words explaining why you wish to undertake the programme(s) of your choice, outlining how it fits into your career objectives, and discussing your research interests.
  • Referees: you are required to supply two references. One must be an academic reference (in the case of applicants currently undertaking studies) OR an employer (in the case of applicants currently in employment).

In addition, non-NUI Galway students are required to provide the following

  • Official qualifications and exam results (transcripts) to date: required for all non-NUIG applicants and for NUIG graduates who did not receive their undergraduate degrees from NUI Galway. Copies of originals must be certified as true copies. Applicants who have still to graduate must send in these on receipt.
  • Passport or Birth certificate: non NUIG-applicants onlya copy of your passport or birth certificate must also be submitted.
  • English language competency: if necessary, evidence of English language competency.

Further details can be found here.

Assessment

Assessment methods include: essays, exams, continuous assessments, policy briefs, policy papers, and the research dissertation.

If the selection committee deems it necessary, applicants can be called for an interview to better assess their application.

Key Facts

Entry Requirements

A primary degree or its equivalent, with Second Class Honours Grade 2 overall. Applicants should also have achieved an upper Second Class Honours degree (2.1) or equivalent, GPAs of at least 3.0 of 4.0 or equivalent for international students, in a relevant subject such as Sociology, Politics, Public or Social Policy, Geography, History, a language, Economics, Business, Law. An interview may, in addition, form part of the application process.


Additional Requirements

Duration

1 year, full-time; 2 years, part-time

Next start date

September 2021

A Level Grades ()

Average intake

25

Closing Date

Please view the offer rounds website.

NFQ level

Mode of study

ECTS weighting

90

Award

CAO

Course code

1PPM1 (full-time, MA); 1PPM2 (part-time, MA); 1PPM3 (PDip)

Course Outline

The MA in Public Policy prepares its graduates to work in government, public bodies, civil society organisations, NGOs, International organisations, businesses and other fields and organisations that require an expert understanding of policy-making. It offers specialised modules in specific policy areas including: Policy in the Digital Age; Advocacy and Development; Gender; Peace and Conflict; Disability; Ageing; Child and Family; Ocean and Marine; Urban policy; Social Welfare; Agriculture; Negotiation; as well as an optional field trip to Brussels to examine EU policy-making. At a time when policy formulation and implementation is increasingly subject to political scrutiny and negotiation, the course emphasizes the political contexts in which policy is made and implemented and the development of digital government and new forms of public consultation and participation.

Overall structure of the programme

  • 35 ECTS core modules
  • 30 ECTS Dissertation
  • 25 ECTS optional modules

Core modules (35 ECTS)

These modules provide students with the theoretical and empirical tools that are necessary for the analysis of public policy and the completion of the research dissertation.

  1. Public Policy and Politics (10 ECTS) reviews the major approaches to the study of public policy, and introduces students to key concepts including the policy cycle, policy stakeholders, public participation, and digital government (Semester 1).
  2. Policy Challenges: National, European and Global (10 ECTS) introduces students to contemporary policy challenges at national, European and global levels and to mechanisms for public consultation. It examines how issues make it on to the agenda of decision-makers and prepares students to contribute to policy-making processes through the writing of policy proposals and policy briefs. The module is taught by experts from a range of disciplines across the university including Law, Economics, Political Science, Sociology, Management, and more. There is a particular emphasis on developments in e-government (Semester 1).
  3. Research Methods (5 ECTS) This module aims to give students a solid grounding in research methods. The topics covered include definitions of research, argument and logic, sources of information, tools for information searches, theory and practice of basic qualitative and quantitative research methods (Semester 1).
  4. Research Workshops (10 ECTS) This module provides workshops relevant to the development of students’ dissertations. The workshops are led by academic staff with diverse and varied research experience. Typical workshop topics include academic writing, critical thinking, literature review, methods selection, working with primary sources, and the development of a research proposal, along with workshops focused on specific fields of research. (Semesters 1 and 2).

SP6117 Research Dissertation (30 ECTS)

The dissertation on an original research topic is completed over the summer months.

Optional modules (25 ECTS)

The optional modules enable students to specialise in areas of interest, build on foundational knowledge, and develop focused expertise, and choose a research area for the final dissertation. Students can concentrate on a specific policy area by choosing closely-related modules in areas such as Development; Peace and Security; Gender; Ageing; Marine; NGOs and Advocacy.

The field experience module offers students a field trip to Brussels to meet and network with practitioners and visit institutional venues (N.B. availability of this module is subject to public health advice).

LIST OF OPTIONAL MODULES

5 ECTS modules, Semesters 1& 2 

  • SP574 Families and Children in Society and Policy

5 ECTS modules, Semester 1 

  • EC5132 Introduction to Ageing and Policy
  • EC5131 International Policy and Ageing across the Life Course

5 ECTS modules, Semester 2 

  • SP6128 Field-based Learning (Brussels Field Trip) 
  • MK5116 Negotiations
  • GG6103 Development and Human Rights 
  • GG6110 Applied Gender Analyses 
  • GG106 Women, Conflict and Human Security 

10 ECTS

  • EC5123 Dynamics of Ageing and Public Policy 

10 ECTS modules, Semester 2 

  • SP6137 Policy and Governance of the Digital Age
  • SP6142 Ocean and Marine Policy
  • SP6143 Urban Public Policy: Smart & Liveable Cities
  • SP6119 Conflict, Power & Peace
  • SP6120 Irish Politics North and South 
  • SP6114 Welfare, Social Change and Irish Society
  • SP6122 Social and Political Context of Activism and Advocacy 
  • GG6109 Gender, Sexuality and Global Health
  • HI6100 NGOs in the 20th Century and the Making of the 20th Century World
  • EC5116 Global Issues in Agricultural, Marine and Renewable Energy Economics
  • EC5115 Environmental Economic Modelling  
  • LW5205 Advanced Intellectual Property Law and Development
  • LW550 Advocacy and Access to Justice 
  • LW 485 Sentencing & Penal Policy 
  • SP6127 Professional Experience (Placement)

N.B. Some optional modules require students to have taken certain prerequisite courses. The list of available modules may vary from year to year. Availability of optional modules in some disciplines will be subject to minimum head counts as determined by the disciplines involved.

Assessment methods include: essays, exams, continuous assessments, policy briefs, policy papers, and the research dissertation.

Why Choose This Course?

Career Opportunities

This programme will be particularly useful for students wishing to work in national or local government, public bodies, civil society organisations, NGOs, European and international organisations (eg EU, Council of Europe, UN agencies) businesses (eg Google, Facebook, LinkedIn), public affairs, consultancy, public relations, journalism, and other fields and organisations that require an expert understanding of policy-making.

Who’s Suited to This Course

Learning Outcomes

 

Work Placement

Study Abroad

Related Student Organisations

Course Fees

Fees: EU

€7,200 p.a. 2021/22

Fees: Tuition

€6,976 p.a. 2021/22

Fees: Student levy

€224 p.a. 2021/22

Fees: Non EU

€16,500 p.a. 2021/22

EU Part time fee €3,655 p.a. 

Find out More

Professor Niall Ó Dochartaigh
E: niall.odochartaigh@nuigalway.ie

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Downloads

  • Postgraduate Taught Prospectus 2021

    Postgraduate Taught Prospectus 2021 PDF (11.3MB)