Before your arrival
You will have the opportunity to prepare for your degree by carrying out pre-reading and introductory classes.
London School of Economics and Political Science - Year one
In the first year, you will take four compulsory courses, in micro- and macro-economics, political science, quantitative methods of analysis, and philosophy for public policy. These provide a rigorous foundation to support you during the rest of the degree.
(* denotes a half unit course)
Micro and Macro Economics for Public Policy
You will learn macro- and micro- economic concepts, models and methods suitable for appraising policy, applicable in a wide variety of contexts. This includes the study of demand and supply, the labour market, public goods, market failure, inflation and monetary policy, fiscal policy and debt, and exchange rates.
Political Science and Public Policy
You will learn concepts and models for understanding the behaviour of political actors and why they lead to particular outcomes. This includes the study of voting, political parties, interest groups, legislative politics, corruption, democratisation and ethnic conflict. These tools are essential for designing policy interventions to achieve desired future outcomes.
Quantitative Methods for Public Policy*
You will learn skills for the quantitative evaluation of public policies, such as causal relationships; randomised control trials; difference-in-difference estimation; instrumental variables; regression discontinuity designs and cost-benefit analysis.
Philosophy for Public Policy *
This course has been designed to help you develop the skills and insight to apply philosophical reasoning to your understanding and practice of the 'craft of government'. It includes a strong grounding in moral and political philosophical principles and emphasises their application in modern policy-making toolkit. You will study a range of philosophical theories and concepts, then discuss and learn to evaluate them by focusing on specific policy proposals. Taught by leading LSE philosophers, the emphasis is on applying theory and concept in practical and policy-relevant ways.
You are also required to choose one unit of courses from a list of choices to further develop core skills but in a direction you choose – see below. Your choice of option courses (electives) should be based on your academic strengths and interests.
Course options/electives: Courses to the value of one unit from the following course options.
For the most up-to-date list of optional courses please visit the relevant LSE School Calendar page.
You must note however that while care has been taken to ensure that this information is up to date and correct, a change of circumstances since publication may cause the School to change, suspend or withdraw a course or programme of study, or change the fees that apply to it. The School will always notify the affected parties as early as practicably possible and propose any viable and relevant alternative options. Note that the School will neither be liable for information that after publication becomes inaccurate or irrelevant, nor for changing, suspending or withdrawing a course or programme of study due to events outside of its control, which includes but is not limited to a lack of demand for a course or programme of study, industrial action, fire, flood or other environmental or physical damage to premises.
You must also note that places are limited on some courses and/or subject to specific entry requirements. The School cannot therefore guarantee you a place. Please note that changes to programmes and courses can sometimes occur after you have accepted your offer of a place. These changes are normally made in light of developments in the discipline or path-breaking research, or on the basis of student feedback. Changes can take the form of altered course content, teaching formats or assessment modes. Any such changes are intended to enhance the student learning experience. You should visit the School’s Calendar, or contact the relevant academic department, for information on the availability and/or content of courses and programmes of study. Certain substantive changes will be listed on the updated graduate course and programme information page.
Columbia University - School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) - Year 2
Concentration and Specialization courses
All students have to choose one concentration, consisting of five courses and one specialization, consisting of three courses. Students can choose to concentrate in Economic and Political Development, Energy and Environment, Human Rights and Humanitarian Policy, International Finance and Economic Policy, International Security Policy, or Urban and Social Policy. The list of specializations can be found at the following link: https://bulletin.columbia.edu/sipa/specializations/. The student’s second year curriculum will therefore be dependent on what they choose to concentrate and specialize in.
SIPAU9000 Capstone Workshop
All students are required to enrol in a faculty-supervised Capstone workshop which give them an opportunity to put learning into practice. More information can be found here: https://www.sipa.columbia.edu/academics/capstone-workshops
Most courses are assessed with a combination of exams, written assignments, class participation, and group projects depending on what is best suited to the subject matter.
More information on assessment can be found here: https://bulletin.columbia.edu/sipa/teaching-guide/#teachingtext