Master of Public Policy

Conceive and create the frameworks of society  

Public policy shapes our lives. It governs everything from how we do business, to how our health, welfare and education systems operate, and how our nation engages with the world.

Those who set and/or influence policy can create profound change by improving things like community equity, diversity, wellbeing, security and prosperity. Our Master of Public Policy prepares you to take the lead.


What will you do?

The Master’s program is studied over two years full-time, or 18 months if extending a past bachelor degree.

It provides specialist knowledge in policy processes and governance institutions; advanced skills in policy analysis and research; and the capability to design and implement sound policy in complex environments.

Highly interdisciplinary, the degree integrates knowledge from the University’s world-class experts in: politics; international relations; economics; law; environmental and social sciences; strategic communications; philosophy and more. You will gain:

  • deep understanding of political, legal and ethical issues affecting public policy
  • broad awareness of public policy’s underlying economic principles
  • advanced skills in community engagement and its analysis
  • the opportunity to explore interests in specialist areas, such as international trade, human rights, environmental planning and governance, global food and agribusiness, public health, education and more
  • high-level research skills, through a major final-year research project.


Where could it take you?

You might pursue a career in politics or the public service. You could analyse and develop policy in a major industry body or consulting firm. Perhaps you’ll interpret policy and advise on its application for a large company, a lobbying organisation, or not-for-profit.

  • Learn with our world-class discipline experts
  • Specialise in policy processes and government institutions
  • advance your skills to design & implement complex environments

Entry Requirements

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Before applying make sure you understand the eligibility and entry requirements for your chosen degree.

Look out for any prerequisites or assumed knowledge subjects. Some degrees also have additional entry requirements like interviews and auditions.

Domestic applicants

SATAC Code 3CM240, 3CM267
Deferment Yes - 2 year
Intake February and July
Selection Criteria
Graduate entry

Higher Education Study Bachelor degree or equivalent with a minimum GPA of 4.0; OR Successful completion of the Graduate Certificate in Public Policy; OR Successful completion of the Graduate Diploma in Public Policy

Applicants must provide a detailed Curriculum Vitae with their application. Students may be eligible to complete the program in a full-time standard duration of 1.5 years on the basis of prior learning.

  • Admissions Transparency Data
    Student Profile
    Applicant background Semester one/Full year intake 2023
    Number of students Percentage of all students
    International students 11 57.9%
    All students 19 100.0%

Ready to Apply?

Find out more about the application process and start your studies at the University of Adelaide.

Be sure to check the critical dates to avoid missing application deadlines.


Fees and Scholarships

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Domestic applicants

Indicative annual tuition fees
Australian Full-fee place: $31,500

Where the standard duration of the program is less than one year the full cost of the program is displayed.


These scholarships, as well as many others funded by industry and non-profit organisations, are available to potential and currently enrolled students.

Find a Scholarship.


Potential careers

Graduates of this program have gone on to careers in:

Project Manager;  Project Officer;  Diplomat;  Diplomatic corps;  Resource Management;  Resource Manager;  Risk Analyst;  Environment Protection Officer;  Environmental Compliance Officer;  Environmental Consultant ...

Degree Structure

To qualify for the degree of Master of Public Policy, the student must complete satisfactorily a program of study with a combined total of not less than 48 units.  Students may be eligible to complete the program in a full-time standard duration of 1.5 years on the basis of prior learning.

Academic Program Rules

The Calendar is a comprehensive handbook of the University's academic program rules.

To qualify for the degree of Master of Public Policy (2 years pathway), the student must complete satisfactorily a program of study consisting of the following courses with a combined total of not less than 48 units, comprising:
1. Core courses to the value of 15 units
2. Research dissertation to the value of 12 units
3. Elective courses to the value of 21 units

Example Study Plan

Example Indicative study plan for the Master of Public Policy (2 years pathway, 48 units)
Year 1 GEOG 7009
Research Methods
Ethics and Politics in Policy
ECON 7200
Economics Principles
Fundamentals of Public Policy
(Winter School only)
GEOG 7016
Community Engagement:
Techniques and Analysis
Elective course Elective course Elective course
Year 2 Elective course Elective course Elective course Elective course
Public Policy Dissertation (12 units)
Elective courses
Students must complete elective courses to the value of 21 units from the list:
AGRIBUS 7054 Global Food & Agricultural Policy Analysis  (3 units)
AGRIBUS 7057 Trends & Issues in the World Food System (3 units)
AGRIBUS 7064 Water Security and Governance (3 units)
ECON 7016 Resource & Environmental Economics PG (3 units)
ECON 7032 Public Economics PG (3 units)
ECON 7058 Development Economics PG (3 units)
ECON 7228 Behavioural Economics IID (3 units)
EDUC 7550 Education Policies & Systems (3 units)
GEOG 7002 Environmental Planning and Governance (6 units)
GEOG 7003 Environmental Impact Assessment (6 units)
GEOG 7013 Sustainable Cities: Climate Change and Planning (3 units)
GEOG 7015 Introduction to Urbanisation (3 unit)
LAW 7170 Public International Law (3 units)
LAW 7177 Introduction to Australian Law (3 units)
LAW 7192 Government, Law and Policy (3 units)
PLANNING 7034 Planning Policy and Regulation (3 units)
PLANNING 7035 Planning Theory and Practice (3 units)
POLIS 7004 International Relations in the Indo-Pacific Region (6 units)
PUB HLTH 7090 Global Public Health (3 units)
PUB HLTH 7091 Public Health Evaluation and Economics (3 units)
PUB HLTH 7092 Health Systems, Systems Thinking & Advocacy for Change (3 units)
PUB HLTH 7093 Promoting Health in Individuals and Populations (3 units)
PUB HLTH 7096 Making Healthy Public Policy (3 units)
PUB HLTH 7147OL Health Technology Assessment (3 units)
SCIENCE 7035 Emerging Issues in Science and Society (3 units)
TRADE 5000 International Trade: Negotiations & Agreements (3 units)
TRADE 5001 International Trade: Strategies & Opportunities (3 units)
TRADE 7004 Principles of International Trade and Development (3 units)
TRADE 7005 Agriculture and Food in International Trade (3 units)

Students must complete a research dissertation of not longer than 20,000 words.


I was unsure as to what career path I wanted to take. Postgraduate study was a way for me to narrow down where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do. I enjoyed the smaller classes and the ability to get to know the entire class and lecturers. My study allowed me to access a niche career in policy and I'm really happy to have finally found a career pathway that I enjoy
Jaya Brown

Jaya Brown

Graduate Implementation Support Officer,
Department of Health and Wellbeing

Master of Public Policy

Faculty of Arts, Business, Law and Economics

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.

Last updated: Monday, 19 Feb 2024