Why has the School of Public Policy decided to offer this new one-year programme?
Simply, because we think there is a need for a different type of public policy education; one that is designed for operating in today’s world. Public organisations today – and those organisations that interact with them – are faced with vast amounts of information and competing opinions with different calls to urgent action. The economists will advise whether a policy proposal idea is efficient; the lawyers whether it is permitted; the financiers whether it is affordable and the philosophers whether it is right. But as a mid-level or senior-level policy-makers need to understand and navigate between these different opinions in order to make ‘good’ policy. This is what we call the craft of government.
What are the key features of the curriculum?
Our MPP offers grounding in many key specialisms of policy-making. Since the degree is at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), we make economics and political science the core of what we teach, alongside quantitative methods of analysis. The MPP core also includes a ground-breaking course on the management of public organisations and an ‘Applications’ course at the nexus between frontier academic research and policy-making, showing how the two combine. Students then add electives – option courses as they are known in LSE – in law, philosophy, development and more, or other graduate courses from across LSE.
What types of student do you expect to see in the first class group in September 2019?
First, I expect the first cohort to be internationally diverse. All of LSE attracts a global mix of students, but the School of Public Policy does this more than most, bringing real richness to the group. Secondly, each member of the group will bring their own experiences – both policy successes and failures – to the teaching and interact with our faculty, and with other students, in mature and reflective way. Students’ previous educational achievements will likely become secondary to their experience of policy-making, the networks that they bring and their ability to grasp new and complex concepts quickly.
Why is now the right time to be studying policy at LSE?
As LSE’s Director, Dame Minouche Shafik has observed, the creation of the School of Public Policy and the appointment of Professor Andrés Velasco as Dean earlier this year will help us to do that. Our mission is more urgent than ever: the world economy has arguably never broken free of the 2008 crises and its shackles; shifting global fundamentals has seen a new type of politics has emerge in seemingly all global regions; forced migration from Latin America to the Mediterranean and beyond, millions face forced migration; the realities of climate change are hitting hard; and new challenges such as automation and labour market change are only now being fully understood. Somehow, policy-makers must find a way through, to improve the societies in which we live. I hope our MPP will become a powerful new tool in that effort.