Master of Politics and Policy

Postgraduate coursework

Learn about the development, implementation and politics of public policy. You'll graduate a more socially aware and policy-conscious individual.

Key facts


The time and cost could be reduced based on your previous qualifications and professional experience. This means you can fast track the masters degree from 1.5 years down to 1 year duration. See entry requirements below for more information.


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 will 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

2025 course information

Deakin code
Higher Degree Coursework (Masters and Doctorates)
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 or 12 credit points (depending upon entry point) as follows:

  • 2 credit points of compulsory core units
  • Academic Integrity Module DAI001 (0-credit-point compulsory unit)
  • 6 or 10 credit points of study (depending upon entry point) from one of the Minor Thesis, Research Paper, or Professional Experience Pathways

Core units

  • Policy Lessons From Overseas
  • Challenges to Democracy
  • Course Electives

  • Making Policy
  • Intergovernmental Relations: Federalism, Power and Multi-Level Governance
  • Governance and Accountability in Turbulent Times
  • Political Communication: Public Watchdog Or Propaganda Machine?
  • Governing the Economy: Wealth and Inequality in Australia
  • Rethinking Democracy: Past, Present and Future
  • Political Competition: Rules, Actors and Dynamics
  • Research Design
  • Climate Change and Sustainability
  • Australian Foreign Policy
  • Internship A
  • Pathways

    Minor Thesis - PhD Pathway

  • Research Design
  • Plus 2 credit points of research units:

  • Minor Thesis A
  • Minor Thesis B
  • Plus 3 or 7 credit points (depending upon entry point) chosen from the course electives

    Research Paper – non PhD Pathway^

  • Research Paper
  • Plus 5 or 9 credit points (depending upon entry point) chosen from the course electives

    Professional Experience – non PhD Pathway^

  • Internship Capstone
  • Plus 4 or 8 credit points (depending upon entry point) chosen from the course electives

    ^ The Research Paper and Professional Experience options are not PhD Pathways.

    Intakes by location

    The availability of a course varies across locations and intakes. This means that a course offered in Trimester 1 may not be offered in the same location for Trimester 2 or 3. Check each intake for up-to-date information on when and where you can commence your studies.

    Trimester 1 - March

    • Start date: March
    • Available at:
      • Online

    Trimester 2 - July

    • Start date: July
    • Available at:
      • Online

    Trimester 3 - November

    • Start date: November
    • Available at:
      • Online

    Additional course information

    Course duration

    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. More information available at Disability support services.

    Work experience

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

    Entry requirements

    Selection is based on a holistic consideration of your academic merit, work experience, likelihood of success, availability of places, participation requirements, regulatory requirements, and individual circumstances. You will need to meet the minimum academic and English language proficiency requirements to be considered for selection, but this does not guarantee admission.

    Depending on your professional experience and previous qualifications, you may commence this course with admission credit and complete your course in 1 year full-time (or part-time equivalent).

    Academic requirements

    1 year full-time (or part-time equivalent) – 8 credit points

    To be considered for admission to this degree (with 4 credit points of admission credit applied^*) you will need to meet at least one of the following criteria:

    • completion of a bachelor degree in a related discipline and at least two years of relevant work experience (or part-time equivalent)
    • completion of a bachelor honours degree in a related discipline
    • completion of a graduate certificate or graduate diploma or higher in a related discipline

    1.5 years full-time (or part-time equivalent) - 12 credit points

    To be considered for admission to this degree (without admission credit applied*) you will need to meet at least one of the following criteria:

    • completion of a bachelor degree in any discipline and at least two years of relevant work experience (or part-time equivalent)
    • completion of a bachelor honours degree in a related discipline

    ^Recognition of prior learning into the Master of Politics and Policy may be granted to students who have successfully completed appropriate Postgraduate level studies.

    Related disciplines which may be considered include: Politics, Political Studies, Policy Studies, Government, Politics and International Studies, Political Science, Political Economy, Public Administration, History, Public Policy, International Relations.

    Relevant work experience which may be considered include: policy officer, policy analyst, government, parliament, political journalism, council, policy making.

    *Recognition of prior learning will also be considered on a case-by-case basis. Learn more below.

    English language proficiency requirements

    To meet the English language proficiency requirements of this course, you will need to demonstrate at least one of the following:

    Admissions information

    Learn more about Deakin courses and how we compare to other universities when it comes to the quality of our teaching and learning.

    Not sure if you can get into Deakin postgraduate study? Postgraduate study doesn’t have to be a balancing act; we provide flexible course entry and exit options based on your desired career outcomes and the time you are able to commit to your study.

    Recognition of prior learning

    The University aims to provide students with as much credit as possible for approved prior study or informal learning. 

    You can refer to the recognition of prior learning (RPL) system which outlines the credit that may be granted towards a Deakin University degree and how to apply for credit.

    Fees and scholarships

    Fee information

    Estimated tuition fee - full-fee paying place

    The tuition fees you pay are determined by the course you are enrolled in. The 'Estimated tuition fee' is provided as a guide only and represents the typical first-year tuition fees for students enrolled in 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 you have.

    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 this course. Eight credit points is used as it represents a typical full-time enrolment load for a year.

    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 international student 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.

    We recommend engaging with a Deakin Authorised Agent who can assist you with the process and submit the application.

    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, including required documents and important dates, visit the How to apply webpage.
    If you need assistance, please contact us.

    Research Information

    Students will complete a research pathway in 1 of the 3 following options:

    • Minor Thesis - PhD Pathway
    • Research Paper – non PhD Pathway^
    • Professional Experience – non PhD Pathway^.


    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 will 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