Public Policy Analysis, Social Science Research
Economic approaches to policy design and analysis
Public Policy Analysis teaches students to use economic tools to address broad societal problems. Studies extend economic analysis beyond the traditional focus on market interactions to examine the intended and unintended consequences of policies and to explore how and when individual self-interest among politicians, interest groups etc. help or hinder public interest.
Public policy analysis involves understanding institutional design, policy evaluation and implementation, and decision-making. The methods include microeconomics, game theory, experimental economics, spatial econometrics, social choice theory and econometrics.
Public policy studies prepare students for doctoral research or for careers as professional policy analysts in policy planning and evaluation units of government agencies or ministries, the staff of elected and appointed public officials, consulting firms, and non-government organisations. It also provides an essential background in policy for people wishing to work as translators for government institutions.
Master’s Programme in Social Science Research focuses on the contemporary issues and problems of governance, conflicts and policy in the globalizing world/society. The programme consists of the following academically independent specialisations with distinct study profiles:
- Comparative Social Policy and Welfare
- Gender Studies
- Global and Transnational Sociology
- Public Policy Analysis
Tampere University - Studying at the Faculty of Social Sciences
Link to scholarship programme
Combining economics with public policy, Public Policy Analysis studies provide students with a large set of skills in public policy analysis.
Upon completion of the Master’s Programme students will be able to:
- use analytical tools from economics (microeconomics, welfare economics, public economics, econometric analysis, cost-benefit-risk analysis), which are useful for evaluating public policies in terms of their absolute and comparative efficacy in meeting social objectives and in terms of identifying and addressing potential cases of market failure.
- to understand key issues in policy-making in a world of scarcity and potential effects of regulation, taxes and other legislative tools.
- to use research tools developed in the programme (mathematics, statistics, econometrics, spatial econometrics)
- use experimental economics and behavioral economics to test policies before implementation and to understand when and why people may not behave as theory predicts
- to identify, collect and test appropriate data to understand the effects of policies and programmes. The econometrics courses are designed to make students both intelligent consumers and producers of statistical evidence and analysis.
- to understand both the advantages of and barriers to social and political co-operation in predicting needs for and success of policies (theory of collective action, game theory, politics).
The language of the programme is English.
Public Policy Analysis teaches students to use the tools of economics to address broader social scientific problems. The analysis of public policy requires an approach that combines insights and techniques from economics and political science.
The methods used include microeconomics, game theory, experimental economics, spatial econometrics, social choice theory and econometrics. Specific courses (e.g. healthcare economics, crime and criminal policy) give the students practical applications for the tools learned in other courses.
Public Policy Analysis studies extend economic analysis beyond the traditional focus on market interactions to examine intended and unintended consequences of policies and to explore how and when individual self-interest among politicians, interest groups, voters, etc. can either help or hinder the public interest. Public policy analysis involves understanding institutional design, policy evaluation and implementation and decision-making. The programme also recognises that, while, ideally, policy is designed to incentivise or deter certain behaviour, the actors involved may react differently than anticipated. Therefore, the study of policy analysis must also include behavioural/experimental economics.
The coursework emphasises practical and theoretical understanding of these issues. In addition to building quantitative skills, Public Policy Analysis incorporates a comparative and multidisciplinary perspective drawn from case studies in North America and Europe.
Studies in specialisation of Public Policy Analysis in the Master’s Programme in Social Science Research consist of the following elements:
- Advanced Studies in Public Policy Analysis (90 ECTS) form the core of the degree. They enable the students to acquire in-depth theoretical, methodological and conceptual knowledge in public policy field. The studies include a Master’s thesis (40 credits) which is an individual research project that enables the student to demonstrate his/her in-depth knowledge in an area relevant to the content of this specialisation.
- Joint Studies (17-22 credits) focus on general orientation to studies, research methods, language studies and academic writing skills.
- Free Choice Course Units (8-13 credits)
For more information, please see the Curriculum.
Public Policy Analysis studies prepare students for doctoral research or for careers as professional policy analysts, for policy planning and evaluation units of government agencies, governmental staff, the personal staffs of elected and appointed public officials, consulting firms, and non-government organisations. Area of study also provides an essential background in policy and other social science issues for people wishing to work as translators for governmental institutions.
Public Policy Analysis cooperates with Economics and with Master’s Programme in Public and Global Health at Tampere University. We invite experts from around the world to teach classes, providing students with cutting-edge approaches. The courses combine theory and practice.
The degree provides eligibility for doctoral studies in Social Sciences and Humanities. At Tampere University, students can continue, for example, to doctoral studies in the Doctoral Programme in Social Sciences.
Carefully read through the general eligibility criteria and the programme-specific eligibility criteria and see whether you meet them. For additional questions on applying, application documents and application process, please contact our Admissions office. For questions regarding the content of the programme, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click to see the admissions criteria
Eligibility criteria in the master's programmes consist of two parts: Tampere University's general eligibility criteria, and programme-specific eligibility criteria, which specify and/or add information to the general criteria. Applicant must meet both to be considered eligible. Applicants who do not meet both the general eligibility and the programme-specific eligibility criteria will not be selected as students in Tampere University.
To be eligible to apply to a master’s programme at Tampere University, you must have:
1. Bachelor’s degree - nationally recognized first cycle degree
- an applicable bachelor’s degree at a university or a university of applied sciences in Finland
- a bachelor's degree completed in a university outside Finland which provides eligibility for equivalent University master’s degree studies in the country in which it was awarded.
- with a minimum scope of 180 ECTS credits, three to four years of full-time study
- from a relevant field for the master’s degree programme that you’re applying to
- from a recognised institution of higher education
2. A good command of the English language for academic purposes. For more information, please see Language requirements.
Applicants in their final year of the bachelor’s degree, who are due to graduate in the spring of 2022, are eligible to apply if the degree will be completed by 31 July 2022, provided that you fulfil all other requirements and deliver officially certified copies of educational documents by 22 August 2022. In this case, they would be accepted conditionally. Their applications will be assessed based on the officially certified transcript of records which they submit at the time of applying. Please see special instructions for applicants in the final year of the Bachelor's degree.
Admission to studies leading directly to a master's degree will be based on the applicant’s bachelor's degree conferred by a university or a university of applied sciences. Depending on programme-specific admission requirements, the programme may take into account skills previously acquired by applicants when considering applications.
Please see detailed information on the General eligibility criteria web page.
Programme specific eligibility criteria
To be eligible to apply to the specialisation of Public Policy Analysis in the Master's Programme in Social Science Research, an applicant must have a successfully completed Bachelor’s degree or equivalent in an area appropriate for the content of this specialization. A degree in a relevant field of study, e.g. Economics, Business Administration, Political Sciences, Social Sciences, Humanities, Cultural Studies, English Philology is helpful but not required.
When applying to a master’s programme at Tampere University, you must submit evidence of your good command of the English language for academic purposes. You have two options of demonstrating your English language proficiency: language tests or previous studies.
In both cases you must submit a document as a proof of language skills. Please see detailed instructions and additional information on the language requirements web page.
Tests and the required minimum results
TOEFL iBT/ TOEFL iBT Home Edition/ TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition
92 overall with no section below 20
IELTS Academic/ IELTS Indicator
6.5 overall with no section below 5.5
62 overall with no section in Communicative Skills below 42
C1 Advanced, previous as CAE
C2 Proficiency, previous as CPE
National Certificate of Language, Proficiency (English)
Proficiency level 5 on all the subtests (reading, writing, listening and speaking).
Please see detailed instructions and additional information on the language tests accepted on the language requirements web page.
It is possible to be exempted from submitting a language test score if you have completed particular studies listed by Tampere University that demonstrate your good command of English for academic purposes. Only studies that fulfill the criteria will be accepted, so if you apply without a valid language test result, carefully examine the exemptions listed by Tampere University and how to submit documents.
Students are selected to the programme from those applicants who submit a complete application (application and sufficient application documents) by the deadline and fulfil the official eligibility criteria.
The student selection is made by an admissions committee based on the academic qualifications and merits shown in the application documents. Please note that not all applicants fulfilling the requirements can be admitted.
As a part of application process you will be asked your contact information and the programme may ask you to attend an interview. Please note that only a selection of applicants may be interviewed.
Students admitted to a Master’s Programme may be required to complement their earlier degree with complementary studies. The complementary studies will be decided at the faculty case by case (maximum 60 ECTS credits).
The number of eligible applicants annually exceeds the number of students that can be accepted. The student selection is made by an admissions committee on the basis of the academic qualifications and merits shown in the application documents.
In the selection process, the following judgmental requirements are evaluated as a composite:
- High enough academic performance in Bachelor’s degree studies
- General quality of all previous university studies
- Specific quality of all previous university studies: documented interest in public policy studies
- Evidently high academic and professional motivation to study in this specialisation at Tampere University
The applicants with the best combination of merits will be selected.
Admissions step-by-step checklist
- Check the general eligibility and programme-specific eligibility criteria of the programme/s you wish to apply. You are allowed to apply to three programmes at the same time.
- Read through the instructions on how to apply and start preparing your application documents as early as possible!
- Take a language test if required, please see the language requirements.
- When the application period opens, fill in the online application at Studyinfo.fi during the application period and upload required enclosures to the application. The application period is 8 December 2021 at 8.00 (UTC+2) - 12 January 2022 at 15.00 (UTC+2).
- Upload all required enclosures and send the educational documents by post to Tampere University Admissions Office within two weeks, by 26 January 2022 at 15.00 (UTC+2). The documents must reach the University by the given deadline and they must be delivered according to the country-specific requirements, if applicable.
- You can apply for a scholarship on the application form, if applicable.
- Wait for the admission results to be announced at early April 2022 (Originally end of March. Information updated on 23.2.2022).
- If you are offered a study place, remember to accept it by the given deadline. Pay the tuition fee, if required.
- Start preparing for your arrival in Finland well in advance.
- Register as a student and join the Tampere University community when the studies start in August 2022!
Online application form
The online application form will be available only during the application period at Studyinfo.fi. The application period starts on 8 December 2021 at 8.00 (UTC+2) and ends on 12 January 2022 at 15.00 (UTC+2).
You will need to upload copies of all required documents as enclosures on the application form. In addition to the general application enclosures, some programmes have listed additional programme-specific enclosures that are needed when applying to these specific programmes.
In addition to uploading the application documents as enclosures to your application form in Studyinfo.fi, you must submit the officially certified copies of your educational documents to Tampere University Admissions Office by post according to the Tampere University instructions. Applicants whose degrees have been awarded in certain countries need to pay special attention to the documentation and documents from these countries must be submitted in a particular way. These country-specific requirements must always be followed first and foremost, prior to the regular requirements.
Applicants must post the educational documents to Tampere University Admissions Office so that they arrive by 26 January 2022 at 15.00 (UTC+2). Please see the list of the required general application enclosures and detailed instructions on the Application documents webpage.
In addition to Tampere University general application enclosures, for the specialisation of Public Policy Analysis in the Master's Programme in Social Science Research you also need to submit:
8. Letters of Recommendation: Two signed and scanned recommendation letters by academic/professional persons
In addition there are programme-specific questions on the application form and you will be asked to provide:
- Contact information for two academic/professional persons who provide recommendation letters for you. Please give the name, organisation, position and contact information including an e-mail address that if needed, we may contact them.
There is a small delay in the admissions process and the admission results will be published in early April 2022 (Originally end of March. Information updated on 23.2.2022). All applicants will be informed about the admissions results.
Please see additional information regarding the publication of student selection results and Tampere University rectification procedure.