Master of Politics and Policy

Postgraduate coursework

Focus on the development, implementation and politics of public policy with a Master of Politics and Policy at Deakin. Discover your study options here.

Key facts

English language requirements

IELTS overall score of 6.5 (with no band score less than 6) or equivalent


Depending on your research selection;

  • 1 year full time or part time equivalent (Research Paper)
  • 2 years part time (Minor Thesis)
  • Deakin courses can also be studied part time over a longer period.


Current Deakin Students

To access your official course details for the year you started your degree, please visit the handbook

Course overview

In the 21st century, the world faces an array of complex political problems including climate change, disease pandemics, ethnic and religious conflict, refugee crises and new forms of populism and authoritarianism. Deakin’s Master of Politics and Policy will equip you with the knowledge and practical skills needed to understand these complex global challenges and develop policy that will bring about positive social change. 

Are you committed to meeting the big challenges of the 21st century and to improving our society for the better? 

Deakin’s Master of Politics and Policy is one of the few courses in Australia that combine the two disciplines. In doing so, we unpack the political context in which public policy is developed.

You’ll gain real-world skills that reflect current industry practices, such as how to prepare policy briefing papers and how to develop political communication strategies. You’ll also explore how differing political perspectives shape the dynamics between government, the private sector and community.

The course equips early-to-mid stage career professionals with highly valued skills in leadership, critical thinking, problem-solving and communication. Prepare to graduate a more politically aware, socially conscious and policy driven individual.

You’ll undertake a wide range of study units that cover public policy analysis, development and implementation. The core units you’ll focus on include:

  • Policy lessons from overseas
  • Challenges to democratic governance
  • Research design.

A highlight of the course is having the freedom to choose your own elective units. This allows you to create a degree built for your interests and career goals. Your elective unit options include:

  • Governing the economy
  • Political competition
  • Intergovernmental relations
  • Political values and public policy
  • Making policy
  • Rethinking democracy
  • Governance and accountability.

We offer flexibility in being a fully online course via our premium online learning platform, making it possible for those living anywhere in Australia or overseas, or those wishing to balance other personal and work commitments, with postgraduate study.

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Course information

Award granted
Master of Politics and Policy

2022 course information

Deakin code
Higher Degree Coursework (Masters and Doctorates)
Approval status

This course is approved by the University under the Higher Education Standards Framework.

Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) recognition

The award conferred upon completion is recognised in the Australian Qualifications Framework at Level 9.

Course structure

To qualify for the award of Master of Politics and Policy, a student must successfully complete 8 credit points as follows:

  • 3 credit points of compulsory core units
  • Academic Integrity AAI018 (0-credit-point compulsory unit)
  • Up to 4 credit points of course electives
  • a 1 or 2 credit point research capstone


Core units




Total units

Core units

  • Policy Lessons From Overseas
  • Challenges to Democratic Governance
  • Research Design
  • Course Electives

  • Making Policy
  • Intergovernmental Relations
  • Governance and Accountability
  • Political Communication
  • Governing the Economy
  • Rethinking Democracy
  • Political Competition
  • AIP703 Political Values and Public Policy - no longer offered in 2022

    Research Capstone

    Option 1:

  • Research Paper
  • Or

    Option 2*:

  • Minor Thesis A
  • Minor Thesis B
  • *Option 2 will meet the thesis requirements for admission to a PhD pathway.

    Campuses by intake

    Campus availability varies per trimester. This means that a course offered in Trimester 1 may not be offered in the same location for Trimester 2 or 3. Read more to learn where this course will be offered throughout the year.

    Trimester 1 - March

    • Start date: March
    • Available at:
      • Cloud Campus

    Trimester 2 - July

    • Start date: July
    • Available at:
      • Cloud Campus

    Trimester 3 - November

    • Start date: November
    • Available at:
      • Cloud Campus

    Additional course information

    Course duration - additional information

    Course duration may be affected by delays in completing course requirements, such as accessing or completing work placements.

    Mandatory student checks

    Any unit which contains work integrated learning, a community placement or interaction with the community may require a police check, Working with Children Check or other check.

    Participation requirements

    Reasonable adjustments to participation and other course requirements will be made for students with a disability. Click here for more information.

    Work experience

    Elective units may provide the opportunity for Work Integrated Learning experiences.

    Entry requirements

    Entry information

    Admission to study postgraduate coursework at Deakin is based on recognition of your professional experience and previous qualifications. 

    • Bachelor honours (AQF8) degree in a related discipline or
    • Bachelor degree in a related discipline, plus two years relevant work experience or
    • Graduate certificate or graduate diploma in a related discipline or
    • Evidence of academic capability judged to be equivalent.

    IELTS / English language requirements 

    Please note that English language requirements exist for entry to this course and you will be required to meet the English language level requirement that is applicable in the year of your commencement of studies.

    It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the required IELTS score to register with any external accredited courses. (more details)


    Deakin University offers admission to postgraduate courses through a number of Admission categories. To be eligible for admission to this program, applicants must meet the course requirements.

    All applicants must meet the minimum English language requirements.

    Please note that meeting the minimum admission requirements does not guarantee selection, which is based on merit, likelihood of success and availability of places in the course.

    For more information on the Admission Criteria and Selection (Higher Education Courses) Policy visit the Deakin Policy Library

    Recognition of prior learning

    If you have completed previous studies which you believe may reduce the number of units you have to complete at Deakin, indicate in the appropriate section on your application that you wish to be considered for credit transfer. You will need to provide a certified copy of your previous course details so your credit can be determined. If you are eligible, your offer letter will then contain information about your credit transfer. Your credit transfer is formally approved prior to your enrolment at Deakin during the Enrolment and Orientation Program. You must bring original documents relating to your previous study so that this approval can occur.

    You can also refer to the Recognition of Prior Learning System which outlines the credit that may be granted towards a Deakin University degree.

    Fees and scholarships

    Fee information

    Estimated tuition fee - full-fee paying place

    The 'Estimated tuition fee' is provided as a guide only based on a typical enrolment of students completing the first year of this course. The cost will vary depending on the units you choose, your study load, the length of your course and any approved Recognition of Prior Learning.

    One year full-time study load is typically represented by eight credit points of study. Each unit you enrol in has a credit point value. The 'Estimated tuition fee' is calculated by adding together eight credit points of a typical combination of units for your course.

    You can find the credit point value of each unit under the Unit Description by searching for the unit in the Handbook.

    Learn more about tuition fees.

    Scholarship options

    A Deakin scholarship might change your life. If you've got something special to offer Deakin – or you just need the financial help to get you here – we may have a scholarship opportunity for you.

    Search or browse through our scholarships

    Postgraduate bursary

    If you’re a Deakin alumnus commencing a postgraduate award course, you may be eligible to receive a 10% reduction per unit on your enrolment fees.

    Learn more about the 10% Deakin alumni discount

    Apply now

    Apply through Deakin

    Applications can be made directly to the University through StudyLink Connect - Deakin University's International Student Application Service. For information on the application process and closing dates, see the How to apply web page.

    Deakin International office or Deakin representative

    Fill out the application form and submit to a Deakin International office or take your application form to a Deakin representative for assistance

    Need more information on how to apply?

    For information on the application process and closing dates, see the How to apply webpage
    If you’re still having problems, please contact Deakin International for assistance.

    Research Information

    Students will complete a research capstone in one of the two following options:

    • a one credit point research paper; or
    • a two credit point minor thesis.


    Career outcomes

    You’ll graduate ready to become involved in politics and policy making within the public, community and business sectors, domestically and internationally.

    If you’re already in industry, your acquired skills, knowledge and qualifications will improve your career standing and equip you for senior roles that take a bigger-picture approach to policy-making.

    As a graduate of the masters, you’ll have the expertise and practical skills to confidently enter a role as policy officer, analyst, consultant or adviser in a variety of professional fields, including:

    • local, state and national government
    • political office
    • international relations
    • industry and the private sector
    • stakeholder engagement
    • communication and training

    An early exit of this course still awards you the Graduate Certificate of Politics and Policy, ensuring you have a solid foundation of knowledge to begin your political and policy-making journey. Completion of the course can be used as a pathway to PhD through research training and a two-credit point research minor thesis.

    For more information go to DeakinTALENT

    Course learning outcomes

    Deakin's graduate learning outcomes describe the knowledge and capabilities graduates can demonstrate at the completion of their course. These outcomes mean that regardless of the Deakin course you undertake, you can rest assured your degree will teach you the skills and professional attributes that employers value. They'll set you up to learn and work effectively in the future.

    Deakin Graduate Learning Outcomes

    Course Learning Outcomes

    Discipline specific knowledge and capabilities

    Use advanced knowledge of, and expert, specialised cognitive skills in Politics and Policy in professional practice or scholarship and apply this knowledge and skills to different contexts.

    Gain an advanced understanding of Public policy analysis frameworks and the development and implementation of public policy under conditions of democratic governance and accountability within contemporary contexts characterised by rapid change and globalisation


    Acquire communication skills to design, evaluate analyse and disseminate the findings of research that deploys political concepts, theories and technical knowledge, in a selection of written, digital and oral formats, to a range of specialist and non-specialist audiences. 

    Digital literacy

    Employ a range of generic and specialist politics-specific digital communication technologies to apply political knowledge, to conduct political research, and to deliver reports and presentations to a diverse range of specialist and non-specialist audience. 

    Critical thinking

    Analyse and critically evaluate different interpretations of political phenomena.

    Demonstrate mastery of the research methods used to investigate political phenomena and technical skills in the design, evaluation, analysis of developments that contribute to professional practice or scholarship in governance and policy. 

    Problem solving

    Utilise advanced understanding of the process of government and public sector management in professional practice and/or scholarship to generate approaches and solutions to complex problems of politics and governance.

    Demonstrate advanced skills in investigating and analysing complex political phenomena using qualitative methodologies including textual, discursive and historical analysis, process tracing, and ethnographic techniques.


    Demonstrate the application of skills and knowledge in Politics and Policy with high level personal autonomy, responsibility, accountability in situations of professional practice and/or for further learning.


    Work and learn collaboratively with others in the field of political science and from different disciplines and backgrounds while still maintaining responsibility for one’s own learning.

    Global citizenship

    Analyse and address political issues in both domestic and global contexts as a reflective scholar and practitioner, taking into consideration cultural and socio-economic diversity, social and environmental responsibility and the application of the highest ethical standards.

    Approved by Faculty Board October 2015