Developing public service leadership

QUB_280115_1137 The new MSc in Public Policy at Queen’s is developing a new generation of public service leaders.

Queen’s University Belfast has announced the launch of an exciting new cross-disciplinary and part-time executive MSc in Public Policy, starting in September 2015.

The programme comes at a time when public service organisations are facing significant financial and personnel reductions, and managers must make important strategic choices about how best to use available resources to address complex policy problems.

Speaking to agendaNi, the Programme Director of the MSc, Dr Muiris MacCarthaigh, noted: “Cutbacks have been the ‘new norm’ for governments across most OECD states for a number of years, and Northern Ireland is now similarly heading into a period of year-on-year retrenchment. However, we know from experience elsewhere that if the focus is simply on reducing budgets or headcount it’s an opportunity wasted. The civil and public service must use this time to invest in developing new skills and capacities for its future leaders in order to make better public policy decisions, improve the quality of services, and create a public service that facilitates and accelerates a return to growth and development.”

As a multi-disciplinary programme of teaching, learning and personal development, the MSc in Public Policy represents a significant investment by Queen’s University in its work with the public service both locally and outside of Northern Ireland. It is in keeping with Vice-Chancellor Johnston’s ambition that educational offerings at Queen’s are “focused on the needs of society”. It is designed to support those working in the public service at middle and senior management levels who wish to advance their careers, decision-making capacity and leadership roles. The programme will be delivered over two years in 2-3 day intensive modules designed to suit public service work patterns, and cover a wide array of topics in public policy (see box).

The programme will be delivered by leading researchers from across Queen’s, including the Schools of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy; Law; Management; Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work; Planning, Architecture and Engineering; and Medicine. Dr MacCarthaigh noted that “a new generation of public policy research and scholarship is emerging to help improve the capacity of public servants to make evidence-based decisions, and the MSc in Public Policy provides the ideal platform to bridge this gap between academia and practice.”

MSc students will have access to world class research facilities, including the £250 million McClay Library and the First Derivatives Trading Room at Riddel Hall. Participants will also engage with bespoke Leadership Skills Masterclasses with the William J Clinton Leadership Institute at QUB, and undertake a study programme to Brussels where they will engage with officials from the European institutions and the OECD.

An open evening for the new MSc in Public Policy will take place at Riddel Hall on Thursday, 26 March at 5pm. A guest lecture by Peter John, Professor of Political Science and Public Policy at University College London, on the topic of Public Policy and Behaviour Change will also be delivered on the night.

For further details about the programme or to attend the open evening, please contact Dr Muiris MacCarthaigh on


• Public policy management

• Performance governance

• Comparative public policy

• Policy evaluation

• Economics of public policy

• Regulatory governance

• European public policy

• Justice management

• Environmental sustainability

• Community planning

• Health and social care

• Justice management

• Life cycle management

• Divided societies


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