In this age, government and public policy affects our lives on a daily basis. The policy choices and decisions made by those in power impact the public on nearly every subject matter – including education, healthcare, national security and immigration.
Whether we realise it or not, public policy, for the most, controls how we act in our home lives, local community and the wider world. The demand for individuals with the knowledge to shape policies of the future is as prevalent, if not more so, than it ever has been.
Public policy can affect the actions of all governments and non-government organisations (NGOs). For example, take a look at how the British political institution’s stance has changed in attitude towards housing in a post-Grenfell society – public policy in all subjects across the sector from house safety to building regulations are now set for a dramatic transformation.
The point is, only through the actions of governments and NGOs, or through change in public opinion, is it possible to create policies that have real progressive change to the accepted laws/legislation. We can influence this through the political process of supporting particular candidates or parties. For the most part, this is a good way to make a constructive impact, but it’s not the most effective.
Politicians and their parties come and go. Their stance on issues can change depending on the current situation. We vote them in and we vote them out. It’s fickle and unreliable in the face of trying to create lasting positive change in a complex world.
The most effective way to make a lasting impact and change to public policy is to convince the public otherwise. When the beliefs of the majority are changed, so do to those of political parties and their politicians with them.
Students who study a degree in public policy are among those that make the change in society at large. And, because of this demand for change, those with the skills and knowledge gained from such qualifications will find themselves with a wide range of opportunities.
“A degree in public policy is an excellent option for students who want to make a difference. Whether your focus is the local community or society at large, a public policy degree provides the necessary knowledge, skills and experience to inform the next generation of impact-makers,” notes David Eber, representative of an esteemed US university.
A degree in public policy opens many doors for graduates who are eager to make a difference in the interest of the general population. They might find themselves to be a social researcher, foreign affairs officer, local government officer or civil service administrator.
Below are five universities that are shaping the next generation of impact-makers…
Sitting sixth in the world for the top 25 percent of public policy schools, Crawford School of Public Policy is the clear frontrunner for Asia and the Pacific’s leading graduate public policy school.
The new Master of Public Policy (MPP) graduate degree offered by the school allows students to specialise in 14 key policy areas ranging from policy analysis and policy economics to international and global development policy to prepare students for policy-making roles in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. For those seeking an in-depth understanding of the current and future regional and global security challenges, the Master of National Security Policy gives students a deep understanding of the security issues facing the Indo-Pacific region.
Recent graduate Melanie Pill wrote on the school’s website about her experience: “I developed really good relationships with my professors…Whenever you need help – they were there. One of the best things is that their knowledge is informed not just by theory but also from ongoing field work.”
Through study at Crawford School, students will gain a solid foundation in understanding policy processes, governance, and more, applying this in a current role, using it to upskill for a higher position, or transition into a new policy-making career.
Formed in 1916, this school’s motto is “Protecting Health, Saving Lives – Millions at a time”. Ranked first for public health in the US News and World Report rankings, a position held since 1994, any prospective student eager to make change in the area of improvement of health and prevention of disease and disability should certainly take a closer look.
The school has designed an exciting approach to policy studies that draws on past experience but fits to 21st century policy realities.
The schools’ websites states that “Courses are designed to prepare students for the involvement in the critical decision-making required in the development of public policy in the governmental, non-profit and for-profit sectors.”
The Johns Hopkins MPP offered through Bloomberg School gives students access to a wide range of potential careers. Many graduates find employment at all levels of government, and in private and non-profit organizations.
One of the world’s top 25 universities, as reported by QS World Rankings 2018, King’s College London is a multi-faculty, research-led institution in the heart of London.
The Faculty of Social Science & Public Policy (SSPP) claim to offer “an intellectually rigorous environment supported by welcoming and caring tradition, dedicated to the advancement of knowledge, learning and understanding in the service of society, both in the UK and internationally.”
Prospective students looking to undertake a program at King’s can expect a high employability rate post-graduation, with King’s stating on their website that nearly 78 percent of graduates from SSPP in 2014-15 were in graduate or graduate-level jobs after graduation (HESA data, 2016).
With over 300 academic staff to help them develop, students following on from a degree in social science from King’s and SSPP are often found working closely with governments and public policy makers to improve the lives of the public.
Formed in 2017, the School of Social Services (SSS) represents Nanyang Technological University’s efforts to fulfil the growing educational needs and desires of students.
The Master of Public Administration (MPA) programme and the undergraduate Minor in Public Administration were launched by the School of the Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS), predecessor to SSS. The programmes have achieved success and in just five years, with over 1,000 Chinese government officials being awarded the MPA degree.
In 2013, to meet the students’ increasing interests and career goals in public administration and international relations, the Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Public Policy and Global Affairs was launched to nurture the next generation of public policy-makers.
Students pursuing the course at the SSS will find the Faculty of Public Policy and Global Affairs filled with “members with strong professional credentials who can undertake curricular development, teaching, and cutting-edge research.”
Established in 2006, the School of Public Policy and Governance (SPPG) is a vibrant centre for scholarly investigation and an important hub for cross-community collaboration and innovative problem solving within the wider policy community.
Located within the largest research university in Canada, the University of Toronto, the school offers a rigorous two-year Master of Public Policy (MPP) program, an undergraduate major, and executive education.
“The relationships I built among my classmates and with our professor made the course one of the most memorable and rewarding,” says Aviva Levy, 2012 graduate now Social Housing Consultant for the city of Toronto.
SPPG students on the MPP study a core curriculum to give them foundational knowledge in quantitative and qualitative analysis, governance, the policy process, comparative analysis and policy implementation. SPPG proudly has over 450 alumni working as policy professionals across Canada and internationally.
*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International