These are the answers to our most frequently asked questions covering both the MSc in Public Policy Research and the Public Policy 1+1. Please also read the Oxford University Graduate Admissions website carefully as it contains more comprehensive information on the selection criteria and application process for the MSc and Public Policy 1+1.
We also suggest that you visit our Blavatnik School of Government Blog where we have posts about preparing your applications, searching for funding, moving to Oxford with your family and what life at the School is like.
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How do I apply for the Public Policy 1+1 programme?
If you wish to apply for the Public Policy 1+1 programme, you will need to apply for and be accepted for both the MPP and the MSc. You should mention in the personal statement for both your applications that you are applying for the Public Policy 1+1 programme.
The application and assessment processes for these courses are separate. Whether or not you have applied for the Public Policy 1+1 will not have an impact on your application to either course – we ask you to mention it to ensure that we identify your application as 1+1 as this would mean you are applying for the 2023 intake for the MPP and the 2024 intake for the MSc. You should expect to hear an outcome for both courses in late March 2023. More information is available on the Public Policy 1+1 graduate admissions website.
For the Public Policy 1+1, can I do the MSc first, and then the MPP?
No. Students who opt for a 1+1 admissions entry are required to take the MPP in the first year and the MSc in the second year. This sequencing is required because the MSc is designed for students who have already taken our MPP. The MSc builds upon pre-existing knowledge about the public policy process, training in leadership and the core skills of policymaking and implementation that the MPP provides.
For the Public Policy 1+1, can I apply for the MPP in January and the MSc in March?
No, to be considered for the Public Policy 1+1 programme, you must apply for both the Master of Public Policy (MPP) and the MSc in Public Policy Research at the same time using the January deadline for both programmes. You should state clearly that you wish to be considered for the Public Policy 1+1 programme in your personal statements.
Applicants accepted to the 2023-24 Public Policy 1+1 programme will undertake the MPP during the 2023-24 academic year and the MSc during the 2024-25 academic year.
All applications to the Public Policy 1+1 are initially managed by the University of Oxford’s central Graduate Admissions and Funding Office on our behalf. For more information about the criteria and how we assess against them please see the Oxford University Graduate Admissions website.
How many academic references to I need to submit?
As part of your application, you are asked to provide the names and contact details of three referees.
For the MPP, you are required to provide at least one academic reference and it is up to you if you would like the rest to be academic or professional according to what you feel best showcases your interests, achievements and abilities.
For the MSc, we prefer you to have two academic referees where possible. Your academic referees should be individuals who have experience teaching you in a higher education context including those that have taught you on the MPP. Please note that it is usual to obtain references from either your supervisor or the course director of your previous degree.
I cannot get an academic reference; can I submit only professional references?
No, you are required to submit at least one academic reference and you may be asked to provide one before your application can be assessed. Academic references are preferred but we will accept professional references which speak to your academic and analytical ability.
Can I use the same policy brief for my Public Policy 1+1 application?
If you are applying for the MSc at the same time as the MPP – through the Public Policy 1+1 route – then you can use the same 1,500-word policy brief for both applications. More information on the application criteria for supporting written work can be found on the Public Policy 1+1 graduate admissions website.
Should I submit an identical personal statement for my Public Policy 1+1 application?
No, we would strongly encourage you to tailor one personal statement for the MPP and one personal statement for the MSc. The application and assessment processes for these courses are separate. More information on the criteria for your personal statement can be found on the Graduate Admissions website for each course.
What guidance do you have for the short research proposal that forms part of the MSc application?
The short research proposal will be used only to help the Admissions Team assess applications for the MSc. The topic could be the one that you anticipate investigating for the research thesis or another topic in which you are especially interested. The proposal should briefly describe the policy problem to be researched, outline a research question to be investigated and propose the methods that would be employed to answer the research question (e.g. what sort of data do you want to make use of, how will you collect it and how do you envisage analysing it?). The research proposal must not under any circumstances exceed 1,500 words. Bibliographic references are not included in the word count.
Can I receive guidance on my suitability for the programme by submitting my CV?
No, the Blavatnik School of Government receives a very large number of applications and enquiries each year. In the interest of making the admissions process as impartial and fair as possible, it is not possible to offer feedback to some candidates when the privilege cannot be extended to all. Therefore, the department cannot provide individual guidance on suitability for the course, but would rather encourage you to read the selection criteria carefully.
I have a GPA of less than 3.7; can I still apply?
Yes, all applications are considered holistically against our selection criteria of academic excellence, commitment to public service and demonstrable leadership and impact. However, we would stress that the MSc and Public Policy 1+1 are very intensive programmes designed for students with a high level of academic ability. Please note also that the Blavatnik School of Government receives a very large number of applications and entry is extremely competitive.
Do I need to submit an English language test?
You do not need to provide evidence of English language proficiency if you meet one of the following criteria:
A. Your first language is English and you have always been a resident and citizen of a majority English-speaking country recognised by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI); or
B. You are a current Oxford student applying for re-admission.
C. You have completed a minimum of three years of full-time higher education in English in a UKVI country, completing your course within approximately two years of the start date of the MPP. We will consider any degrees which finished in May 2021 or later for our 2023 intake.
If you do not meet one of the criteria above, you will have to provide evidence that you meet the English language requirement for the MSc or Public Policy 1+1.
Please see the central University application guide for full details of this requirement – please note that the School requires the higher level scores outlined. Where possible you should submit an English language proficiency test by the application deadline; if you have not yet taken a test or received your results your application will still be considered as long as all other required documents have been submitted. Any offer of a place will require you to submit English language test results at the required level by 31 May 2023. Please note that the Blavatnik School has a higher waiver standard than the central university and waivers are granted at the discretion of the department. If you wish to apply for a waiver you can submit this request either with your application or after you receive an offer.
Can I change from full-time to part-time?
Both the MSc and MPP are full-time programmes only. Due to the intensive nature of the courses, part-time study is not possible.
Can I take a gap year between the MPP and MSc?
No, the Public Policy 1+1 is a consecutive two-year programme of study. If you wish to have a gap year between the MPP and the MSc you should first apply for the MPP only. Then in the admissions cycle prior to the MSc, you should apply again.
I am experiencing technical difficulties with the online application form, should I contact the Blavatnik School Admissions team for help?
No, all applications are initially processed by the central Graduate Admissions office and the Blavatnik School of Government Admissions team cannot access applications until after the deadline has passed. For any technical difficulties or queries, you should request support from the Graduate Admissions and Funding office.
Will all applicants be interviewed?
Applicant interviews may be conducted as part of our admissions process. If we’d like further information at the time of assessing your application, we may get in touch via email to request this from you.
Can the Blavatnik School admissions team update me on the status of my application before decisions are announced?
No, we aim to get decisions out as soon as possible but are unable to comment before all decisions have been communicated. All candidates will receive a notification via email. For information on the timetable for admissions decisions please refer to the 'After you apply' pages on the Graduate Admissions and Funding website.
Can the Blavatnik School admissions team update me on the status of my funding applications before decisions are announced?
No, for University-managed scholarships in most cases funding decisions are made by external bodies, who will contact shortlisted candidates directly or through us. We are unfortunately not in control of this process and can therefore not guarantee when decisions will be made by.
Is it possible to reapply next year if I am unsuccessful this year?
Yes, each year is a separate admissions cycle and being unsuccessful in one year does not mean that an application would also be unsuccessful in the next.
I am considering bringing my partner/family to Oxford, what facilities are available?
There are facilities available across the University for students with partners and families. Limited accommodation is available from colleges and the University Accommodation Office, and we would encourage you to investigate this once a college place has been confirmed. The University Student Union offers advice to students with families which provides information on childcare and schooling.
Which college can I apply to?
What is the purpose of a college for a graduate student?
Colleges act as a base for the duration of your time as a graduate student. They provide meals, chapels, social events, sporting clubs, and each has its own library (of varying degrees of size and specialism). Several colleges also provide accommodation for graduate students, either for one year, two years and exceptionally, three years. For further information please check the individual college websites for further details.
Can I come and visit the Blavatnik School to find out more?
All the information you require about the MSc and Public Policy 1+1 is available on our website. However, it is possible to visit and speak to the admissions team about your application to the course (subject to COVID-19 restrictions in place at the time). If you are going to be in Oxford please email the Blavatnik School of Government admissions team (email@example.com) to book an appointment. Please note that it is not possible to meet with faculty to discuss your application and that appointment slots with the admissions team are limited.