Oxford online courses in public policy and government

Study from anywhere, anytime, and help create a world better served, better led and better governed. 

Eight-week short courses developed and delivered by the Blavatnik School of Government, Oxford University, and Pearson.

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Our government and public policy short courses

As one of the University of Oxford’s newest and most vibrant departments, the Blavatnik School of Government’s mission is to inspire and support better government and public policy around the world.

Delivered in partnership with Pearson, our online short courses aim to give you the government and public policy qualifications you need to join an elite group of change-makers who are having an impact in their sector.

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Cyber Security for Public Leadership: Planning, Policy and Strategy

Build the cyber security knowledge you need to confidently and safely lead your organisation.

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Values and Public Policy: Political Philosophy in Practice

Gain the skills to understand the key moral and ethical value concepts that should inform public policy.

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Evidence in Public Policy

On this policy development course, learn to hone the critical skills needed to design and implement policies informed by facts.

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Economics for Public Policy

Develop the skills you need to apply an economic context to policymaking and become a critical consumer of economic analysis.

Are these online short courses right for me?

Our government and public policy short courses are for you if you’re a professional looking to enhance your knowledge of policymaking or public leadershipwhether you work directly or indirectly with policy.

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Early-to-mid-career civil servant

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Experienced NGO professional

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Experienced professional in a public sector or related private organisation

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Public service representative or candidate

Courses designed for you, by us

Pearson and the University of Oxford’s partnership is founded on a mutual goal to provide excellent, yet accessible, learning opportunities to busy professionals around the globe.

Oxford University’s Blavatnik School of Government is a global school committed to improving the quality of government and public policymaking worldwide. The School combines the academic rigour of the top-ranked university in the world (The Times Higher Education World University Rankings, 2023) with an applied, real-world approach to government and public policy studies.

As the world’s leading learning company, Pearson works with higher education institutions around the world to deliver degree programmes, certificates, non-credit-bearing credentials. Our commitment to providing quality online higher education helps preserve Oxford University’s academic integrity while generating positive outcomes for our learners.

Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxford ©Hufton+Crow
©Hufton+Crow

Advantages of studying online with Oxford University

These Oxford online short courses are perfect if you’re a professional who needs to fit your studies into a busy schedule, without compromising on academic quality.

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Study from anywhere

Taught 100% online, you can benefit from the Blavatnik School of Government’s expert teaching and gain government and public policy qualifications from anywhere in the world.

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Learn from the best

You will be taught by the world’s top academics and study alongside peers who are passionate about making an impact on policy around the world.

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24-hour access to learning material

The online learning platform is easy to use, easy to navigate and accessible via your computer, tablet or mobile phone, 24 hours a day.

Top FAQs

Public policy is a set of laws, regulatory measures and actions taken by governments in response to specific public issues. These issues may be economic, social or political, and are often prioritised based on the political ideologies of a dominant political party.

Studying public policy can help you better understand how governments operate and why they make certain decisions. It can also give you the skills needed to get involved in and inform public policy effectively yourself, whether in a professional capacity or simply as a citizen. Furthermore, studying public policy helps you to understand the thought processes behind certain government decisions, even those you may not agree with personally.

Public policy aims to capture the intentions of a government; without policy, there can be no governance. Public policy often addresses social issues to drive societal progress, such as in the economy, education or healthcare.

Typical careers that may require public policy knowledge include: 

  • the civil service – with the choice of various departments, agencies and public bodies; 
  • health, social and community work – organisations managing or delivering healthcare, social care or youth services; 
  • education – teaching or supporting the provision of education in primary, secondary, further or higher education; 
  • politics – employers may include political parties, trade unions, public affairs consultancies and activist organisations. 
  • the third sector – such as charities and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

To prepare for a career in public policy, before seeking a role where you will receive a grounding in the field, you could first lay the foundations by educating yourself. This might be through a full degree that gives you an overview of the field, or a short course in a particular area you would like to upskill in (for example, one of our online short courses in government and public policy). Beyond this, it’s important to: 

  • understand the different public policy sectors, including public, private and third sector (non-governmental, non-profit); 
  • focus your efforts on what you are passionate about; 
  • know your skills and strengths and identify potential roles based on these; and 
  • gain public policy experience, prioritising the organisations that interest you the most.

Online courses are beneficial in many ways. 

  • Affordable – unlike an in-person course, when you study online, you’re not paying for a physical study space, for travel or for accommodation near campus. Plus, you often don’t need to spend extra on study materials, because everything you need can be found in the virtual learning environment. 
  • Flexible – most online courses give you the ability to study at times and places that suit you. With our online short courses, you can choose from a range of intakes throughout the year. What’s more, although you are required to dedicate 3-5 hours a week to your studies, you can choose when these hours fall based on your own schedule. This also means that you should not need to pause your career or current commitments to upskill in a particular area. 
  • Study from anywhere in the world – through completely remote study, an online course breaks down geographical barriers and allows anyone from any part of the world to participate. This provides greater accessibility to people in different countries and enriches peer networking, with intakes of students offering a variety of global perspectives. 

Learn more in our blog post about the benefits of studying online.

Yes! An online short course means you can upskill while you study flexibly and affordably without interrupting your career. It allows you to learn while you work, meaning you can directly apply your new practical skills and expertise to your role as you acquire them. Furthermore, its remote nature allows you to connect with likeminded people from around the world and build your professional network. 

To find out more, read our top five reasons to study a government and public policy course online.

There are no specific entry requirements for our online short courses in government and public policy. However, all of them require a certain level of commitment. Learners are expected to dedicate 3-5 hours a week to their studies, with all activities and tasks taking place online.

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