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Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS)


Ugonma Nwankwo, MPP Student 2018-19

The Cambridge MPP program dips into economics, politics, policy, and statistics, enough range to give students an understanding of the broad set of challenges facing governments and organizations today. It’s a short, but intense course that requires participants to put their best foot forward at all times. I began the program not having the vocabulary or framework for analyzing pressing public policy problems, but as I complete my work placement with UN Women UK, I can confidently say that I feel better versed in policy analysis. The professors are busy experts in the field, but students have the freedom to discuss with them and say, "this is what I am thinking, how I want to go about accomplishing this, do you think this is the best course of action?" and they are always incredibly helpful. If I had to do it all again, I would choose the Cambridge MPP a second time.

Onyinye Okakwu, MPP Student 2018-19

Deciding to pursue an MPhil in Public Policy at University of Cambridge was a leap for me, and a decision I am glad I made. The MPP cohort is extremely diverse and international consisting of people from different professional backgrounds, and countries with varied years of work experience. This provides the opportunity to discover and understand various policy areas and practices across the world. Having the liberty to choose specific areas of interest to explore practically with the work placement between Lent and Easter term, and the independent research paper which runs throughout the course, are two components I love. Although the course is intense, the course structure, teaching methods and teaching staff, the MPP forum, courses undertaken, and the guest lecturers are surely worth it! With members of staff who are helpful throughout the process and supervisions fortnightly, you would hardly be lost in the process. Being part of the MPP 2018 cohort has been an amazing experience!

Mira Naseer, MPP Student 2018-19

My favourite thing about the MPP has been the learning that happens both inside and outside the classroom from my peers. They constantly push me to challenge my own ideas, while at the same time inspiring me with their experiences, knowledge and support. I could not have asked for a better culture within the MPP cohort. Even though we’re only at Cambridge for a year, I know I have made lifelong friends who will be amongst my first calls whenever I need guidance in my future career. 

Simon Gallow, MPP Student 2017-18

Becoming part of the Cambridge MPP has had a huge impact on my personal and professional aspirations. The wealth of inspiring ideas, researchers and debates it gives you access too are unrivalled and the intimate classes allow you to challenge each other with rigour and openness. The MPP has opened my eyes to the world of policy, and how I could best make a contribution to the field. While working on my placement for UN Women in New York, I realised that I was able to tie in my personal passions around gender equality, with a career in this area, leading me to take up a role as Development Director at UN Women UK. Especially when changing career from the private sector, as I did, the insights and networks that the programme offers, are invaluable when making your future career choices - for those who are passionate about policy, and creating social change at the highest level, I cannot recommend the course highly enough!

Amandeep Singh, MPP Student 2016-17

I thoroughly enjoyed my time on the MPP programme, with classmates from varied backgrounds, all passionate about making a difference. The course offered a balanced mix of theoretical underpinnings of sound policy, and the innovative methods used to evaluate them. Also, through independent research projects, there was sufficient scope to revisit policy questions from my country, and to see them with a nuanced perspective - my favourite aspect of the MPhil. 

Magali Saul, MPP Student 2016-17

Reflecting upon my experience at Cambridge, there is no doubt that the MPhil in Public Policy differentiates itself from other similar programmes by its strong sense of community. The small but diverse group of students, coming from various disciplines and life experiences, not only engendered lively discussions but also allowed me to build strong, long-lasting friendships. This, combined with the faculty’s full-time dedication to the professional development of each and every one of us, made my experience at Cambridge a very rewarding one. 

Moreover, the practical nature of the course is what appealed to me in the first place. I am very grateful for the opportunities that the MPP offered me in this regard as I had the opportunity to work for two months at the Development Center of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris where I continued to work after the end of the programme.

Two years after completing the MPP, I am now working for a private sector firm assessing the state of gender equality in businesses worldwide. The MPP was invaluable in preparing me for this job, providing me with the exact skills to evaluate quantitative and qualitative information to provide evidence-based solutions to my clients. On a day to day basis, I rely on the knowledge I gained from many of my courses ranging from statistics to negotiation.

It was an absolute privilege to be part of this community and I would strongly recommend it to anybody seeking a career in the policy-making field.

Jesse Kancir, MPP Student 2014-15

My graduate experience at Cambridge in the MPP comes in between a transition from medical school to residency training in Canada. I made the decision to study an MPP during my clinical experience when I realized that my most meaningful contribution to patients and populations would be through developing and implementing healthy public policy rather than through procedures or pharmaceuticals; I already had a background in health policy and economics but realized that becoming a competent physician meant not only having ideas but having advanced policy capacities, too.

The decision to come to Cambridge was an easy one given that I wanted to study somewhere with equal strengths in public health, medicine, and economics. Within the classroom, at POLIS, and on campus I’ve found the right mix of experiences to develop new thoughts and skills to bring back to my professional practice. The one-year duration of the program has also been important. For a professional like me, leaving your training for any amount of time is challenging. Being able to complete the degree in one-year has allowed me to adapt this training into my professional life.

An essential part of the Cambridge MPP is work experience with some involvement in the policy process. My work placement has been with the UK’s National Audit Office (NAO) in evaluating the evidence-base for the outcomes and best practices of integration of health and social care systems. Integration was a central pillar of health platforms in the 2015 General Election and, in this sense, my work experience was rooted in practicality from the onset. Applicability has also helped shape the richness of the academic experience: the UK General Election over the past few months has provided examples within our lectures, seminars, extracurriculars, and informal meetings for our class to analyze and better understand the dynamics of public policy.