Master of Science in Public Policy & Human Development

Introducing our seven specialisations

MPP students

Our Master of Science programme in Public Policy and Human Development (MPP) is a unique partnership between the United Nations University (UNU) and Maastricht University (UM) in the south of the Netherlands.

This one-year, double-degree, full-time programme is taught in English and focuses on the skills and knowledge required for evidence-based policy design and analysis. It consists of core substantive and skill courses in the autumn semester, specialisation courses in the spring semester, and a thesis completed over both semesters and the following summer period.

See below for the inside track on our seven specialisations: Social Protection Policy, Foreign Policy & Development, Migration Studies, Risk & Vulnerability, Regional Integration & Multi-Level Governance, the Governance of Innovation, and Social Entrepreneurship & Public Policy.

Master's student Romina Rojas: "I would like to reduce inequality in my country, which is one of the most important challenges that we are facing. Social protection is about improving the well-being of the most disadvantaged populations. The specialisation gives you the skills to formulate a proposal that is technically viable but also politically feasible. This is exactly what I was looking for."

Social protection involves policies and programmes to reduce the incidence and severity of poverty and vulnerability. This Master's specialisation in Social Protection Policy provides an interdisciplinary and in-depth examination of social protection policies, frameworks, systems, interventions and instruments aimed at giving future policy analysts and practitioners a toolbox to tackling the relevant challenging issues in public policy. It consists of applied courses backed by traditional and emerging theories, while incorporating local, regional and international contexts.

Master's student Arushi Tangri: "I always wanted to find something where I could combine my law skills and my policy skills. This specialisation has been very helpful for me with regard to honing my negotiation skills because it offers real-life practical knowledgeable experiences such as UN simulation games which prepare you to represent your own country at international level."

An essential part of policy is influenced by or made at the international stage, between states as sovereign actors. This specialisation focuses on the key policy areas negotiated in the international arena, from the flows of trades in goods and services, and intellectual property rights to development cooperation and the promotion and protection of human rights.

Master's student Soha Youssef: "I had professional experience in the field of migration but I needed to acquire the academic knowledge of the concept of migration and why people migrate. Maastricht University is one of the few universities that focuses on Migration as a specialisation. I want to contribute to achieve a safer environment for all."

The Migration Studies specialisation trains students for the international labour market as policy advisors, practitioners, researchers, etc., working for governments, international organisations or academic institutions. Migration is a controversial topic in the international and national policy arena and the effects of migration on migrants, their families and communities in the destination and origin countries need to be studied carefully. While mass media often focus on a few spectacularly problematic cases, the courses in this specialisation study the key issues in-depth and with scientific rigour.

Master's student Jana Bernhard: "Why do all this research if you don't then use the results? At UNU-MERIT, I have the feeling that results are taken into account in doing something in the field. What we definitely learned was to draw maps that could be used to visualise information which is very important for risk communication because it gives people more information in a shorter time frame. Then we learned to use them to focus on a geographical area, a specific type of risk, a specific population even. I want to do research with an impact."

This Master's specialisation in Risk and Vulnerability This specialisation deals with the key geospatial, governance, and social aspects in disaster risk assessment, resilience building, crisis management, and the role of risk perceptions therein. Students are exposed to diverse vulnerability and resilience dimensions, components, databases, assessment frameworks and analytical techniques. The specialisation is taught in collaboration with the UNU Environment and Human Security institute (UNU-EHS) in Bonn, Germany. In addition, students benefit from first-hand practical sessions with visiting disaster-risk experts and practitioners working for governments, financial institutions, private companies, civil society and research institutes nationally and internationally.

Master's student Akorshi Sengupta: "The specialisation begins with understanding what regions are, how they function, how they can be used as a tool for development, and it goes on to identify the institutions, their structures, and integrating all of these aspects together so that we are actually able to do something fruitful for the society."

This Master's specialisation in Regional Integration and Multi-level Governance explores how regionalism and multi-level governance transform the ways in which public policy is designed and executed in different world regions: Europe, Asia, Africa, South and North America. The four courses of the specialisation investigate challenges to governance in complex environments and analytical approaches used to address them. Current practices of regional governance and regional solutions for the implementation of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals are investigated both from an academic and practical perspectives.

What is the impact of new technologies on society? What is the role of public policy in the knowledge economy?

This specialisation will help you to acquire an in-depth understanding of the economic fundamentals of innovation and how new technologies affect the workplace, households and society more generally; gain the necessary analytical and practical skills to become an actor in the knowledge economy; and bridge theory and real world experiences interacting with policymakers around the world.

How can you and I become impactful change makers and make a living through practising social entrepreneurship? How can social entrepreneurship be leveraged to tackle contemporary global challenges? How can novel public-private partnerships, entrepreneurial ventures, social enterprises, NGOs and civil society cooperate and coordinate for sustainability?

This specialisation in Social Entrepreneurship & Public Policy provides students with the knowledge and practical experience to mobilise and manage entrepreneurial processes to tackle contemporary global challenges, as embodied in the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Videos produced by Jascha Neutelings.
Shorthand summary by
Howard Hudson.