About the course
The Master of Public Policy (MPP) is an intensive one-year taught degree course that offers a distinctive approach to learning about public policy. It is a transformative opportunity for current and future leaders with a commitment to public service. Taught by outstanding academics as well as expert practitioners you will be uniquely positioned to develop academic knowledge and professional skills to address some of this century's most complex public policy challenges.
The MPP begins with a carefully planned programme of activities during the induction period which provides an introduction to policy making and advice on how to derive the greatest benefit from the MPP experience. The curriculum for the rest of the course is delivered via a series of lectures, seminars, case studies and workshops across three terms, and the summer project which is an opportunity to apply knowledge and skills learned through the programme in a public policy context.
Policy challenges are becoming more complex every day and public leaders need to be able to use expertise from different specialist fields to find innovative solutions. For this reason, the curriculum integrates insights and approaches from a diverse range of academic disciplines and also includes modules delivered by leading policy practitioners.
The current curriculum includes the following compulsory modules:
- Evidence and Public Policy
- Foundations (Philosophy and Public Policy)
- Law and Public Policy
- Policy Challenge I
- Policy Challenge II
- The Politics of Policymaking
You can also personalise your learning to meet your professional needs by choosing from a number of options as well as deepen your professional and practical skills through modules such as negotiation, communications, private finance and entrepreneurship. You will also get to further sharpen your skills and exposure to real world policy challenges through a 6-8 week summer project. It is expected that MPP students will be fully committed to their studies and take responsibility for their active participation in all aspects of the programme.
Alongside teaching, which can include lectures, case studies, workshops and seminars, you are encouraged to learn from each other, for example by forming study groups and arranging student-led talks and events. You will also be expected to undertake some self-directed study, including required and supplementary readings and case studies. In the case of required readings, you are expected to have read these in advance of the class to which they are assigned.
For more detailed information about the course please see the Blavatnik School of Government website.
The allocation of graduate supervision for this course is the responsibility of the Blavatnik School of Government and it is not always possible to accommodate the preferences of incoming students to work with a particular member of staff. Under exceptional circumstances a supervisor may be found outside the Blavatnik School of Government.
Your learning will be assessed for each module in a variety of ways. Current assessment methods include unseen examinations, essays and in-class testing of a more practical nature.
The MPP prepares you to become a change-maker. The skills you acquire on the programme will enable you to find and use evidence effectively, communicate effectively, and make key decisions whether in government, non-governmental organisations or the private sector. You will learn to view uncertainty as opportunity and recognise the benefits of change, as well as recognise and respect the diverse range of perspectives you may encounter and work with.
Our alumni are exceptional achievers and change-makers who share a commitment to improving public service. Please see our Alumni website. When you join the school, you also join an incredible and lifelong community of peers, and an alumni network spread across the globe. These connections serve as powerful reminders for all of us of our shared commitment to public service and our desire to make a real difference in the world. Blavatnik School alumni are already making an impact: they include members of the national parliaments of Brazil and Panama; a cabinet minister in the UAE; an Assistant Governor in the Bank of Malaysia; and several founders of NGOs.
In addition, students can benefit from the Blavatnik School’s professional skills programme and in conversation events with leading public policy and political figures, as well as access one-to-one careers advice at the University's Careers Service, which is very close to the Blavatnik School.
The MPP is a degree for professionals that trains people to hone their skills in policy making and analysis and is not designed to prepare you for research-based courses of study, such as the DPhil in Public Policy.
Changes to this course and your supervision
The University will seek to deliver this course in accordance with the description set out in this course page. However, there may be situations in which it is desirable or necessary for the University to make changes in course provision, either before or after registration. The safety of students, staff and visitors is paramount and major changes to delivery or services may have to be made in circumstances of a pandemic (including Covid-19), epidemic or local health emergency. In addition, in certain circumstances, for example due to visa difficulties or because the health needs of students cannot be met, it may be necessary to make adjustments to course requirements for international study.
Where possible your academic supervisor will not change for the duration of your course. However, it may be necessary to assign a new academic supervisor during the course of study or before registration for reasons which might include illness, sabbatical leave, parental leave or change in employment.
Other courses you may wish to consider
If you're thinking about applying for this course, you may also wish to consider the courses listed below. These courses may have been suggested due to their similarity with this course, or because they are offered by the same department or faculty.
All graduate courses offered by the Blavatnik School of Government
Oxford 1+1 MBA programme
This course can be studied as a part of the Oxford 1+1 MBA programme. The Oxford 1+1 MBA programme is a unique, two-year graduate experience that combines the depth of a specialised, one-year master’s degree with the breadth of a top-ranking, one-year MBA.
Entry requirements for entry in 2021-22
Proven and potential academic excellence
As a minimum, applicants should hold or be predicted to achieve the equivalent of the following UK qualifications:
- a first-class or strong upper second-class undergraduate degree with honours in any discipline.
Applicants should have an outstanding academic record with exceptionally high academic results throughout, or should show an impressive upward trajectory in performance. This may be further evidenced by scholarships or prizes awarded because of academic abilities/achievements or glowing academic references ranking you at the very top of your peer group.
For applicants with a degree from the USA, the minimum GPA sought is usually 3.7 out of 4.0.
If your degree is not from the UK or another country specified above, visit our International Qualifications page for guidance on the qualifications and grades that would usually be considered to meet the University’s minimum entry requirements.
GRE General Test scores
It is recommended that you also submit scores from a standardised test such as the GRE, GMAT or LSAT, though these are not required to complete your application.
Other qualifications, evidence of excellence and relevant experience
Commitment to public service
In addition to academic and analytical ability, applicants are expected to demonstrate a high level of commitment to public service. You should demonstrate an ethos of public service evident in the trajectory of your chosen career path, whether this be in the public, private or NGO sector, and/or an outstanding record of achievement in volunteering. This ethos and commitment should also go beyond your own life and demonstrate that you are able to show regard for others in the broader community, and recognise why the perspectives of others might differ from your own.
Evidence of leadership and impact
Applicants should also demonstrate an ability to lead and have impact in their chosen field through devising or initiating projects which are innovative in nature and lead to real and lasting change. This does not necessarily need to be shown through traditional leadership positions. You should bear in mind that leadership often requires enabling and empowering others to succeed. Sometimes the highest-impact work is also the quieter work which takes place behind the scenes, facilitating the more visible contributions of others. These qualities of leadership, drive and entrepreneurialism may be demonstrated through voluntary, professional or other activities.
There is no preferred background for the MPP and applications are welcomed from all academic disciplines and professional backgrounds. Prior full-time or part-time professional experience is viewed favourably, because of the ways in which it can develop and enhance commitment to public service and evidence of leadership and impact.
Please note, in considering applicants’ achievements and their suitability for a place on the MPP, the Blavatnik School of Government takes a holistic approach and a range of contextual factors, looking at each applicant’s individual circumstances, will be taken into account.
Publications are not expected.
- The MPP is an applied degree and students will not be taught in-depth research skills. It will not prepare applicants directly for progression to research-based courses such as the DPhil in Public Policy.
- In order to be accepted onto the DPhil applicants will be required to have completed a degree that provided the research training and skills necessary for their intended DPhil area of study. For more information on the DPhil entry requirements please see the DPhil in Public Policy.
If your ability to meet the entry requirements has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic (eg you were awarded an unclassified/ungraded degree) or any other exceptional personal circumstance (eg other illness or bereavement), please refer to the guidance on extenuating circumstances in the Application Guide for information about how to declare this so that your application can be considered appropriately.
English language requirement
This course requires proficiency in English at the University's higher level. If your first language is not English, you may need to provide evidence that you meet this requirement. The minimum scores required to meet the University's higher level are detailed in the table below.
|Test||Minimum overall score||Minimum score per component|
|IELTS Academic (Institution code: 0713)||7.5||7.0|
TOEFL iBT, including the 'Home Edition'
(Institution code: 0490)
*Previously known as the Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English or Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE)
†Previously known as the Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English or Cambridge English: Proficiency (CPE)
Your test must have been taken no more than two years before the start date of your course. Our Application Guide provides further information about the English language test requirement.
You will be required to supply supporting documents with your application, including references and an official transcript. See 'How to apply' for instructions on the documents you will need and how these will be assessed.
Performance at interview
Interviews are not normally held as part of the admissions process.
Any offer of a place is dependent on the University's ability to provide the appropriate supervision for your chosen area of work. Please refer to the ‘About’ section of this page for more information about the provision of supervision for this course.
How your application is assessed
Your application will be assessed on academic merit and potential, according to the published entry requirements for the course, and evidence relating to commitment to public service and leadership and impact. Students are selected for admission without regard to gender, marital or civil partnership status, disability, race, nationality, ethnic origin, religion or belief, sexual orientation, age or social background. Whether you have secured funding will not be taken into consideration when your application is assessed.
Admissions panels and assessors
All recommendations to admit a student involve the judgement of at least two members of the academic staff with relevant experience and expertise, and must also be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies or Admissions Committee (or equivalent within the department).
Admissions panels or committees will always include at least one member of academic staff who has undertaken appropriate training.
After an offer is made
If you receive an offer of a place at Oxford, you will be required to meet the following requirements:
If you are offered a place, you will be required to complete a Financial Declaration in order to meet your financial condition of admission.
Disclosure of criminal convictions
In accordance with the University’s obligations towards students and staff, we will ask you to declare any relevant, unspent criminal convictions before you can take up a place at Oxford.
At the Blavatnik School of Government there is a dedicated MPP study area as well as additional study spaces elsewhere in the building, some of which can be pre-booked. Students also have access to the student common room, in addition to the communal facilities such as the café and the Inamori Forum. The School runs an extensive range of events and brings public policy leaders to the School to inspire and mentor students. Students are strongly encouraged and supported to organise their own peer learning and social activities.
The Blavatnik School does not have its own library because most reading material is made available electronically. However, students can choose to study in a number of the University’s many excellent libraries as well as at their college library.
The Blavatnik School benefits from its own ICT team, which provides support and advice to students. Students are expected to bring their own laptops
The University expects to be able to offer up to 1,000 full or partial graduate scholarships across the collegiate University in 2021-22. You will be automatically considered for the majority of Oxford scholarships, if you fulfil the eligibility criteria and submit your graduate application by the relevant January deadline. Most scholarships are awarded on the basis of academic merit and/or potential.
For further details about searching for funding as a graduate student visit our dedicated Funding pages, which contain information about how to apply for Oxford scholarships requiring an additional application, details of external funding, loan schemes and other funding sources. Please ensure that you visit individual college websites for details of college-specific funding opportunities using the links provided on our college pages.
Further information about funding opportunities for this course can be found on the school's website.
Annual fees for entry in 2021-22
Annual Course fees
|Home (UK, Republic of Ireland,|
Channel Islands & Isle of Man)
|Overseas (including EU)||£44,550|
Course fees are payable each year, for the duration of your fee liability (your fee liability is the length of time for which you are required to pay course fees). For courses lasting longer than one year, please be aware that fees will usually increase annually. For details, please see our guidance on likely increases to fees and charges.
Course fees cover your teaching as well as other academic services and facilities provided to support your studies. Unless specified in the additional information section below, course fees do not cover your accommodation, residential costs or other living costs. They also don’t cover any additional costs and charges that are outlined in the additional information below.
If your application is successful, you will be asked to pay a deposit against your course fees at the application stage as a condition of your offer. The deposit amount and date by which payment must be made are shown below.
Amount of deposit
Date by which deposit must be paid
|£6,695||28 May 2021|
The department's website provides further information about deposits for this course.
There are no compulsory elements of this course that entail additional costs beyond fees and living costs. However, as part of your course requirements, there may be costs associated with the summer project, depending on the type and location of the placement, such as travel and accommodation expenses. You can find out more about the summer project on the Blavatnik School of Government website. You will need to meet any additional costs, although you may be able to apply for small grants from the school or your college to help you cover some of these expenses.
In addition to your course fees, you will need to ensure that you have adequate funds to support your living costs for the duration of your course.
For the 2021-22 academic year, the range of likely living costs for full-time study is between c. £1,175 and £1,710 for each month spent in Oxford. Full information, including a breakdown of likely living costs in Oxford for items such as food, accommodation and study costs, is available on our living costs page. When planning your finances for any future years of study in Oxford beyond 2021-22, you should allow for an estimated increase in living expenses of 3% each year.
All graduate students at Oxford belong to a department or faculty and a college or hall (except those taking non-matriculated courses). If you apply for a place on this course you will have the option to express a preference for one of the colleges listed below, or you can ask us to find a college for you. The Colleges section of this website provides information about the college system at Oxford, as well as factors you may wish to consider when deciding whether to express a college preference. Please note that ‘college’ and ‘colleges’ refers to all 45 of the University’s colleges, including those designated as Permanent Private Halls (PPHs).
For some courses, the department or faculty may have provided some additional advice below to help you to decide. Whatever you decide, it won’t affect how the academic department assesses your application and whether they decide to make you an offer. If your department makes you an offer of a place, you’re guaranteed a place at one of our colleges.
The following colleges accept students on the Master of Public Policy:
How to apply
If you have any questions about the course, please consult the Blavatnik School of Government website. Please note that academics at the Blavatnik School of Government are unable to comment on your suitability for the course or offer advice on the admissions process. If you have any questions that are not answered by the Blavatnik School of Government website, please contact the Admissions Team via email.
The set of documents you should send with your application to this course comprises the following:
Your transcripts should give detailed information of the individual grades received in your university-level qualifications to date. You should only upload official documents issued by your institution and any transcript not in English should be accompanied by a certified translation.
More information about the transcript requirement is available in the Application Guide.
A CV/résumé is compulsory for all applications. Most applicants choose to submit a document of one to two pages highlighting their academic achievements and any relevant professional experience.
A maximum of 800 words
You should explain why you want to do the MPP, how your experience to date prepares you for the course, and how the MPP would enhance your future plans. Please also outline your specific policy interests and the skills and experience you would bring to the classroom.
You may also use your personal statement to explain any special circumstances relating to any element of your application that you wish to bring to the attention of the assessors.
The personal statement should be written in English and will be used to assess your commitment to public service, evidence of proven or potential leadership and impact, and general suitability for the MPP programme.
If possible, please ensure that the word count is clearly displayed on the document.
Two essays, one of a maximum of 1,500 words and one of a maximum of 400 words
Policy brief or policy analysis essay (maximum 1,500 words)
You are required to submit a policy brief or policy analysis essay on a pressing policy issue. This must be entirely your own work and written in English.
Submitted work should have a clearly defined topic of investigation and should not attempt to sustain broad and sweeping generalisations. You may also wish to consider how policy within your chosen area is made, implemented, and evaluated, as well as how innovative solutions may be formulated using these insights.
Choosing a suitable topic and style of written work forms part of this assessment and is therefore left to your discretion. You are encouraged to choose the format that you find best presents your analytical ability. Similarly, as there is no set topic range, you are encouraged to choose a topic that you are passionate about but where you also have sufficient knowledge to present a succinct and coherent argument.
This written piece will be assessed on the ability to write clearly and concisely, construct an argument, gather and present evidence, exercise critical thought and draw policy-focused conclusions. The written work you submit should therefore demonstrate your academic and analytical ability and your suitability for the programme.
Public service (maximum 400 words)
You are also required to submit a short essay relating to public service. The Blavatnik School cares greatly about nurturing people who want to commit fully to public service. Your second piece of written work should therefore give us an example of a situation where you have demonstrated this and how you plan to further your commitment in the future.
This written piece will be assessed for evidence of your commitment to public service and your ability to articulate the contribution your work has made and the impact it has had.
Instructions for written work
You must not submit work which was produced in conjunction with others. The word count must be adhered to and listed at the end of the body of written work. The total word count should exclude any footnotes, annotations or bibliography used.
If possible, please ensure that the word count is clearly displayed on the document.
You should also appropriately reference your work, using the university’s guidance on referencing.
Plagiarism is presenting some else’s work or ideas as your own, with or without their consent, by incorporating it into your work without full acknowledgement. All published and unpublished material, whether in manuscript, printed or electronic form, is covered under this definition. Plagiarism may be intentional or reckless, or unintentional. The test for determining if plagiarism has taken place is quite simple: has material been included in this piece of work without adequate referencing? If the answer to this is ‘yes’, then plagiarism has occurred. Therefore, when taking information from a source it is important that the source is fully acknowledged. Plagiarism and collusion are serious offences and in order to protect the credibility of the application process applicants are required to submit an electronic copy of their work. All applications are put through plagiarism software to identify applicants submitting an application that is not their own original work. For more information on plagiarism and how to ensure you avoid it, see the plagiarism page in the Policy section.
References/letters of recommendation:
Three overall, academic and/or professional
Whilst you must register three referees, the department may start the assessment of your application if two of the three references are submitted by the course deadline and your application is otherwise complete. Please note that you may still be required to ensure your third referee supplies a reference for consideration.
References are invited to evaluate the applicant’s achievements within the selection criteria of academic and analytical excellence, commitment to public service and leadership and impact. It is recommended that you seek out referees that are familiar with your achievements and who can provide substantial personal evidence in support of your application.
You must submit at least one academic reference from your current or most recent institute of study. The other two may be either academic or professional but each must speak to your analytical ability and suitability for the course.
Current master’s students, or those who have completed a master’s degree, are required to submit a reference from their supervisor or course director on the master’s programme. If you do not provide an academic reference that meets the criteria listed above, you will be asked to do so before the assessment of your application can be completed.
The Blavatnik School of Government receives a very large number of applications and enquiries each year. In the interest of making the admissions process as impartial and fair as possible, it is not possible to offer feedback to some candidates when the privilege cannot be extended to all. Therefore, the department cannot provide individual guidance on suitability for the course, but would rather encourage you to read the selection criteria carefully and judge for yourself whether your application would meet them.
Each year is a separate admissions cycle and being unsuccessful in one year does not necessarily mean that an application would also be unsuccessful in the next.
Start or continue an application
Step 1: Read our guide to getting started, which explains how to prepare for and start an application.
Step 2: Check that you meet the Entry requirements and read the How to apply information on this page.
Step 3: Check the deadlines on this page and the deadline information in our Application Guide. Plan your time to submit your application well in advance - we recommend two or three weeks earlier.
Step 4: Check if you're eligible for an application fee waiver. Application fee waivers are available for:
- UK applicants from low-income backgrounds who meet the eligibility criteria;
- residents in a country listed as low-income by the World Bank (refer to the eligibility criteria);
- current Oxford graduate taught students applying for readmission to an eligible course; and
- additional applications to selected research courses that are closely related to your first application.
Step 5: Start your application using the relevant link below. As you complete the form, consult our Application Guide for advice at each stage. You'll find the answers to most common queries in our FAQs.