Overall aim of program
The overall objective of the Erasmus Mundus MA Program in Public Policy is to provide scholarly education and practical training for future academic and policy leaders in the public, private and non-profit sectors. It aims to provide a detailed and systematic understanding of how political institutions, processes and public policies operate and interact from the global political economy through to national and local levels with a direct focus on European engagements at these levels of governance. The design of the program is based on the belief that future leaders need training in problem situating and problem solving approaches, and in order to situate and understand policy problems, experiences with concrete policy interventions. To achieve this ambition the Mundus MAPP consortium comprises four different institutions, with different historical trajectories, disciplinary strengths and areas of expertise.
The overall program is structured around a core of common subjects and skills, but also offers the opportunity for individual students to tailor their learning experiences to their own needs and interests by choosing different mobility tracks. Approximately 60% of the curriculum is common to all students regardless of mobility track, while 40% of the curriculum is delivered in track-specific modules (i.e. with content that differs across consortium institutions). The credit loads of all major curriculum components are harmonized across the four institutions, and the four institutions’ contribution is equal and symmetrical. In addition to joint admissions, over a quarter of the curriculum is jointly delivered by the consortium, most notably through the joint delivery and/or assessment of study trips; internships, and research work in year one and year two.
As compared to other programs in Public Policy that exist in Europe, the uniqueness of Mundus MAPP is related to the richness of the overall offering, in combination with the flexibility offered by the different mobility tracks. Mobility tracks in the new joint degree each allow for a different balance between problem situating and problem solving approaches, and, related to that, for a different substantive focus. Mundus MAPP also contrasts with other public policy programs in its focus on international and transnational policy issues: while most existing MA programs are empirically focused on the experience of one country, most commonly an OECD country, Mundus MAPP does not privilege any national context over another. Students are exposed to a variety of European academic traditions and policy contexts through the study visits and internships – the latter being an additional distinctive feature. Moreover, all mobility tracks include exposure to either development studies or to a careful consideration of the impact of economic and democratic transition, rather than merely the experience of Western European or North American countries.
Engagement with high-calibre internationally recruited faculty as well as practitioners, team-work, and interactive pedagogic methods help students achieve the learning outcomes of the program. Mundus MAPP aims at the following specific learning outcomes:
Knowledge and understanding
- Systematic understanding of current theories, paradigms, concepts and principles of policy studies;
- Systematic understanding of public policy formation at all levels of government, the functioning of supranational institutions and intergovernmental coordination mechanisms;
- Systematic understanding of national, transnational and international policy processes and principles in the European context and globally;
- Systematic understanding of the existing political, economic, legal, geopolitical, and social implications of the formulation of public policies;
- Conceptual advancement in social science theories of the policy process, international relations and international development and the increasing dynamics between these fields of study, often in a research context;
- Close familiarity with European and other international governance models and regimes.
Application of knowledge and understanding; problem solving abilities
- Critically analyse policy issues and develop holistic perspectives on European governance and global governance;
- Evaluate public policies and policy instruments with quantitative and qualitative methods;
- Independently formulate relevant research topics, develop preliminary hypotheses and ideas, conduct data collection and analysis, design investigation procedures and prepare scientifically sound and effective reports on research outcomes;
- Provide expert advice to decision makers in national and international fora, relying on a solid understanding of institutional contexts;
- Design and participate in the delivery of public policies in various sectors and (multi-disciplinary) institutional settings.
Integration of knowledge, handling complexity; making judgements
- Interact with expertise in various fields of the social sciences related to public policy and governance;
- Provide critical analysis of policy studies and related literature;
- Improve competence in using statistical data, quantitative methods, and qualitative methods and formulate judgments with incomplete data;
- Enhance their leadership skills and greater cultural sensitivity necessary as public policy becomes transnationalised and public actors interact through new modes of multi-level and networked governance;
- Better appreciate the need for public integrity and ethical conduct in public service; deepened understanding of diverse forms of accountability and transparency; representation and public participation in local, national, international and transnational policy making.
Learning skills and communication
- To undertake further studies in a manner that is largely self-directed and autonomous, using library, electronic and on-line information resources with confidence;
- Make written and oral presentations, not only on information, ideas, problems and solutions, but also their conclusions and the underpinning knowledge and rationale to specialist and non-specialist audiences;
- Work in multidisciplinary, multicultural teams;
- Speak, read and write English at professional and academic level;
- Continuously and autonomously improve professional skills through planning, time management, critical reflection and self-evaluation, and adoption of individual learning strategies.
This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This communication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.