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Study a Master of Public Policy with us

Gain a critical and multidisciplinary perspective through the Master of Public Policy.

Why study with us?

  • #23 in the world

    We're ranked 23rd in the world for Arts and Humanities in the 2021 QS World University Rankings by Subject.

  • #1 in Australia

    Our graduates are ranked 1st in Australia and 4th in the world for employability by the QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2022.


In response to COVID-19, the University of Sydney has reviewed the availability of courses to be delivered remotely. 

This course will be available for students to study remotely during 2022 if they are unable to undertake face-to-face study. Please note that some units of study that are not essential to completing the degree may not be available to be studied remotely. For the latest updates on course availability, visit the COVID-19 information page.

About this course

Gain critical perspectives on the global, national and local levels of a rapidly changing policy environment with growing public scrutiny and complex challenges.

Explore the opportunities and constraints stemming from political, social, economic, civil and technological factors. We will explore migration, corruption, crisis management, governance and the environment through real-world examples.

This degree is designed for people who work in (or are looking to work in) government and the public sector, and for those working in non-government or private sector bodies who seek a better understanding of the role of government in public policymaking.

Based within the Department of Government and International Relations, electives include international relations, comparative politics and Australian politics, enabling a deeper understanding of policy design and implementation. 

Join practically minded and career-oriented peers and create valuable networks. Capitalise on the many government and private sector networks available in Sydney.

Commonwealth Supported Places

Commonwealth Supported Places (CSP) are available for postgraduate study for eligible domestic students. This means that your course fees are subsidised by the Australian Government and you pay a student contribution amount (SCA). CSPs are limited in number and are allocated based on academic merit.

Subject areas
Shared pool

Entry, fees, funding & how to apply

Depends on your qualification, citizenship status
The details on this page based on your selections are a guide only, and are subject to change.

Your entry requirements

English language proficiency

Find out if you need to prove English language proficiency (depends on your country of origin and educational background).

For academic requirements check the ‘Admission requirements’ section on this page.

Your fee

How to apply

You can apply online via the application portal. When you are ready to apply, select the ‘Apply’ button on this course page. Visit the How to apply page for other important information. 

Applying for a Commonwealth supported place (CSP)

There is no separate application required to apply for a CSP, an earlier closing date may apply – check the closing dates section below. Once you apply for admission, if you are successful in securing a CSP, you will receive notification via an offer of admission.

A Commonwealth supported place (CSP) is not guaranteed as there are a limited number of CSPs available for postgraduate courses. The number of available CSPs for a course can change each semester/year.  CSPs are also not automatically awarded for course transfers and upgrades.

CSPs are awarded for the duration of a course based on academic merit determined by the University and eligibility criteria specified by the Australian Government. Learn more about CSPs. If you do not qualify for a CSP you may be offered a domestic fee-paying place.

Standard closing dates:

Semester 1 - 31 January of the commencing year 
CSP closing date: 15 January of the commencing year

Semester 2 - 15 July of the commencing year
CSP closing date: 30 June of the commencing year

We strongly encourage applicants to apply as early as possible, offers are made on a rolling basis and places are limited. Separate scholarship deadlines apply - check the scholarships website for details.

Starting date

Semester 1 (February) and Semester 2 (August)

You can apply online via the application portal. When you are ready to apply, select the ‘Apply’ button on this course page. Visit the How to apply page for other important information. 

Standard closing dates:

Semester 1 - 15 January of the commencing year
Semester 2
 - 25 June of the commencing year

We strongly encourage international applicants to apply as early as possible to allow time for visa and travel arrangements. Separate scholarship deadlines may apply - check the scholarships website for details.

Starting date

Semester 1 (February) and Semester 2 (August)

What you'll study

To qualify for the Master of Public Policy you must complete 96 credit points, including:

  • a minimum of 12 credit points of core unit of study as specified; and
  • a minimum of 30 credit points of core elective units of study; and 
  • a maximum of 48 credit points from elective units of study which can include an optional specialisation as listed in the unit of study table. With the permission of the Degree Coordinator a maximum of 12 credit points can be taken as elective units from units of study outside those listed in the Public Policy subject area of the Postgraduate Unit of Study Table, including units of study offered by other faculties; and
  • a minimum of 6 credit points from capstone units of study.

Recognition of Prior Learning / credit for previous studies is available for this course, refer to Admission requirement below.

Completion requirement

Under normal progression, a full-time student completes prescribed units of study to the value of 24 credit points per semester. Part-time students may undertake prescribed units of study up to the value of 12 credit points per semester.

Capstone experience

You have the option of completing a semester-long Research Project (6cp) or a year-long Dissertation (12cp) on an approved topic.

The Research Project consists of an essay OR project on a topic devised by you and approved by the supervisor-marker. You are responsible for finding a supervisor-marker, in consultation with the PG coordinator. The essay/project is to be completed within one semester. It is strongly recommended that you draft your proposal and seek a supervisor before the semester begins.

The Dissertation comprises research and writing toward a project of approximately 15,000 words under the supervision of an academic staff member. If you elect to undertake the dissertation, you must prepare a research proposal and discuss your topic with the academic coordinator prior to enrolling. Approval is subject to the department's discretion and the availability of an appropriate academic supervisor.

Admission requirement

Admission to candidature for the Master of Public Policy  (2 year full time) requires:

·        A bachelor’s degree with a minimum credit (65 percent) average calculated over the whole degree, from the University of Sydney, or an equivalent qualification

Candidates may apply for a Reduced Volume of Learning (RVL) if they have completed the embedded Graduate Certificate or Graduate Diploma in Public Policy or if they have an Honours degree in a relevant discipline.

Candidates may also apply for a Reduced Volume of Learning (RVL) if they have a bachelor’s degree with a minimum credit average including a major in humanities, social sciences or law. Candidates with relevant work experience may also apply for RVL . The duration and relevance of the work experience will be assessed by the department before RVL is granted.

If you do not meet the requirements listed above for direct entry to the Master’s degree, you may be able to enter via a Graduate Certificate or Graduate Diploma in the same subject area and upgrade to the Master’s after successful completion of the shorter course.

Career Pathways

This program provides opportunities for a career in administration, research, planning, education and management. Our graduates are policy analysts in national, state and local government, advisers to political parties, business groups and trade unions, strategic planners or advisers on government/ business relations, policy experts in non-profit or ‘third-sector’ agencies, and policy advocates for international organisations such as the United Nations.

Future study options

Graduates of the Master of Public Policy who have completed a dissertation with a meritorious grade are eligible to pursue a higher degree by research in their chosen subject area.

Domestic students

International students

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.