MASTER OF PHILOSOPHY PUBLIC POLICY. Introduction

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1 University of Cambridge: Programme Specifications Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information in this programme specification. Programme specifications are produced and then reviewed annually by the relevant teaching faculty or department and revised where necessary. However, we reserve the right to withdraw, update or amend this programme specification at any time without notice. Further information about specifications and an archive of programme specifications for all awards of the University is available online at: MASTER OF PHILOSOPHY PUBLIC POLICY 1 Awarding body University of Cambridge 2 Teaching institution University of Cambridge 3 Accreditation details None 4 Name of final award Master of Philosophy 5 Programme title Public Policy 6 JACS code(s) L200 7 Relevant QAA benchmark statement(s) None 8 Qualifications framework level 7 (Masters) 9 Date specification produced/ January 2013 last revised 10 Date specification last reviewed May 2013 Introduction The Cambridge MPP is a new multidisciplinary, practice-oriented, evidence-based course hosted by the Department of Politics and International Studies and drawing on teaching from across the six Schools of the University. It seeks to attract students who want to build careers in public policy whether in government at national and international levels, or in the third sector or in the private sector. Preference will be given to applicants with 3-5 years of work experience. The MPP will provide students with a thorough intellectual grounding and practical experience in the processes of policy making, as well as an understanding of the range of knowledge and skills they need to be effective in the world of policy. The University of Cambridge has significant research and teaching strengths in public policy across all Schools and disciplines, particularly in engineering, medicine, social and physical sciences, and is ideally placed to develop an innovative, multidisciplinary, evidence-based programme aimed at providing an intellectually rigorous education for future leaders in public policy, and to promote interaction between policy-makers and academics. Page 1 of 5

2 Programme structure The Cambridge MPP is a 9-month, full time, taught course Pre-term: Orientation and Introduction Term I Michaelmas 8 Oct- 6 Dec 2013 Christmas Vacation Term 2 Lent 14 Jan- 14 March 2014 Easter Vacation Welcome and introduction to the Cambridge MPP Orientation Visit to Number 10 Downing St and Institute for Government Case study 1: Emergency budgeting during austerity (16h) AND Lectures: Policy Analysis and Methods (16h) Module 1: Macroeconomics: Theory and Policy (16h) Module 2 : Philosophy and Public Affairs (16h) Module 3A: Statistics (8h) Module 7: Soft Skills (4h) Weekly Wrap-up sessions (16h) Workshop: Uses and Abuses of Public Opinion Polling (4h) Case study 2: Regulating Reproductive Technologies (16h) Case study 3: Legislating about climate change (16h) Module 4: Scientific Methods and the Evidence of Nature (16h) Module 3B: Systems (8h) Module 5: Political and Legal Institutions (16h) Module 6A: The Media (8h) Module 6B: Topics in Economic Policy (8h) Module 7: Soft Skills (8h) Weekly Wrap-up sessions (16h) Work Placement (4w) Term 3 Easter 22 April- 13 June 2014 Long Vacation Module 7: Soft skills (4h) Two essays on topics agreed with supervisor Report on work placement Policy Analysis Exercise (team exercise not assessed) Field trip: Brussels Submission of report and essays by 30 June Page 2 of 5

3 Educational aims The course aims to provide students with the opportunity to develop their powers of critical thinking and the skills and tools to form judgements based on wide ranges of information with varying degrees of uncertainty, and act on them. The course will also train students to understand how others operate and how to work with them to achieve a desired outcome. Learning outcomes Upon completion of the course students should be able to: Cope with different forms of information, qualitative and quantitative with varying degrees of precision, relevance and uncertainty Consider issues from a range of disciplinary perspectives Spot what is missing, and how to recognize when the picture is incomplete Critically appraise information from different kinds of experts Integrate different forms of thinking Consider the implications of complexity, risk and uncertainty in policy-making At the end of the course students will be expected to have: An appreciation of the political context of policy-making. An understanding of the legal, economic and evidence aspects of policy making A solid grounding in the theory, practical tools and skills required for the management and implementation of policy Knowledge and understanding Students will gain knowledge and understanding of the complex world of policy development, analysis, decisions, implementation and evaluation. Students will leave with knowledge and understanding of funding priorities, incentives for change, interstate coordination, international and national domestic law. Skills and other attributes Students will gain experience in analytical procedures, communication, project and financial management, leadership and strategic thinking. They will take away an awareness of the problems and pitfalls and the skills to deliver solutions. Transferable skills Prepare formal reports in a range of styles/media Critical reasoning, independence of mind, teamwork, ability to assess the importance of the ideas of others Obtaining and synthesising information of varying types Know when and how to seek opinion Ability to judge sources Teaching methods Case Studies Teaching/learning is based around three substantive and complementary case studies that focus on particular policy decisions and a set of known outcomes. In each case, different disciplinary approaches to the issues will be brought to bear. Modules Individual courses differ in how they are taught. Some options are taught by a combination of lectures and seminars; others are taught by advanced seminar only; others still by classroom exercises and discussions. Modules consist of either 8 or 16 hours of teaching within an 8- week term. Topics will be specified for each seminar and seminar leaders will provide a separate list of reading for each topic, which will be made available in the SPS Library or on the intranet. Page 3 of 5

4 The programme also includes a requirement to submit two independent essays on topics agreed with the supervisor and a report associated with a 4 week work placement. Students will be supervised individually or in small groups by members of the teaching team. Work Placement This is a 4-week programme that will take place during the Easter vacation during which students will work for an organisation external to the University for whom they will deliver a policy document addressing a key issue. The client might be a council housing department, health or education department, the criminal justice board or the policy unit of a business or bank. The project can take place in or around Cambridge or elsewhere. Students will be assigned a research supervisor and a practitioner mentor. The consultancy will enable students to integrate and apply the core technical and managerial skills and specialist knowledge they have gained on the course. Students will work with their client to define the problem then design a strategy to address it, gather the relevant data, formulate and evaluate options and report recommendations. This work will form the basis of a 5000 word project. The Policy Analysis Exercise (PAE) The policy analysis exercise in a two-week project akin to a flight simulation. Students will work in assigned groups and will manage their own time and leadership structure. They will work on a major policy issue and will have the opportunity to attend briefing sessions that may alter the parameters and the supply of information. Each student group will prepare a policy document, deliver a 5-minute presentation and field an open question and answer session led by a senior representative from the civil service, The IfG or No 10 Strategy Unit. Students will be challenged to think about the practicalities of implementing policies and about the ethical problems that arise in policy-making. This work will be assessed informally and outside the examination structure on the basis of the group presentation. The MPP programme will further enriched by panel discussions, debates, workshops, seminars as well as simulations, in which students will be actively challenged and their new skills put to the test. We will draw upon the vast expertise and experience of practitioners and the many Cambridge graduates in the world of politics and government to enhance the course. The course will also include a number of visits, including Whitehall, The Institute for Government, and Brussels. Weekly Wrap up seminars These will run in terms 1 and 2. They will draw together inputs from classes that week and put them into the context of practical policy challenges. Assessment methods Assessment will be by written examination, essays, projects, assessed classwork and reports. The scheme of examination will consist of the following; Three case studies on topics announced by the Degree Committee for the Faculty of Human, Social, and Political Science; each case study shall be examined by an essay of not more than 3000 words. Seven modules (up to two of which may be divided into half modules) to be prescribed by the Degree Committee, each module to be assessed by a method prescribed by that Committee. The modules and methods of assessment will be published by the Division of the Easter term preceding the examination; Page 4 of 5

5 Two essays of no more than 3000 words on additional topics, to be agreed by the Degree Committee, and a report of no more than 5000 words related to a work placement. The deadline for completion of the final report will be 30 th June. All assessment will be double-marked. Entry and/or progression requirements Minimum GPA of 3.75; good 2.i honours from UK University or equivalent. For those whose first language is not English and who have not previously studied for a degree in an English language university, evidence of proficiency in English: an IELTS score of 7.5 (with a minimum of 7.0 in each individual component). Progression Requirements Candidates must achieve an average of 60% in each of the following elements of the course; the three case studies, the modules, work placement report and additional assessed essays. Candidates must not fail more than two of the assessments. The pass mark for the course will be 60%, and a Distinction 75%. Student support As well as receiving learning support from staff in seminars and supervisions, students may seek guidance and assistance from the Department and from their individual Colleges. Within the Department, students may consult with the MPhil Director on any academic matter, and with the Head of Department, the Departmental graduate secretary, the Faculty librarian and the Faculty s computing staff about relevant issues. All students receive a handbook and guides to individual courses. This information is also available on the Department website As members of Colleges students are supported by a graduate tutor and have access to the University s counseling services. They are entitled to use resources of their college including the libraries and IT facilities. Graduate employability and career destinations The Cambridge MPhil in Public Policy is an academic degree programme designed to enhance careers in all areas of public policy and public service (including public administration, policy analysis and guidance and policy-making) in all associated professions. Management of teaching quality and standards An external examiner will evaluate annually all elements of the MPhil programme, including student performance, the curriculum, and the quality of teaching. Their reports will be sent to the POLIS Graduate Education Committee, the Faculty of Human, Social and Political Science Degree Committee, and the Board of Graduate Studies. The Course Director will respond in writing to these reports on behalf of the Department. Students may give direct feedback on the MPhil programme through annual questionnaires and their peer representatives on the Faculty Board, the Department Meeting, and the Library Committee. Page 5 of 5

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