Abronhill Dissertation

This course provides rigorous training in the analytical frameworks and methods required in the study of public policy.

It’s ideal for those wanting professional skills to become a policy practitioner, analyst or to proceed to a PhD.

You’ll explore the various methodological tools and their connections to real-world problems facing governments and related organisations. You’ll learn a range of key skills:

  • Analytical & Critical Thinking
  • Research Management
  • Data Analysis
  • Report Writing & Presentation

You can study this course full-time over 12 months or part-time over 24 months.

You’ll study

The MSc in Public Policy is organised into core and optional classes. The core classes provide an introduction to the theory and practice of public policy, as well as a range of skills and methodologies to design, conduct and report on social research.

After the coursework, you’ll also complete a traditional MSc dissertation supervised by an academic from the School of Government & Public Policy. The MSc in Public Policy also offers students the opportunity to write a Field Dissertation on a selective basis.

The Field Dissertation differs from the regular MSc Dissertation in that the student has two dissertation advisors:

one academic from the School of Government & Public Policy and a Professor of Practice: Professors of Practice are senior practitioners with a wealth of experience from the public and private sectors who are affiliated with Strathclyde's International Public Policy Institute (IPPI).

IPPI's Professors of Practice provide important links between the University's academic research and the world of practice in national and international organisations in the public and private sectors.

Learning & teaching

The MSc in Public Policy comprises of core and optional classes and a dissertation. The core classes provide an introduction to the theory and practice of public policy, as well as a range of skills and methodologies relevant to designing, conducting and reporting on social research.

All classes are taught in small-group seminars. You’ll receive considerable time and attention from our staff in the seminars and individual supervision sessions.

If you’re studying part-time you’ll attend classes across two academic years. You’ll work on a dissertation over 10 months.

Classes average 20 contact hours, with additional computer laboratory sessions for some methods classes. Part-time students attend classes across two academic years. They then work on their dissertation over the course of 10 months.

Course content

Compulsory classes

Semester 1

Semester 2

  • Comparative Public Policy

You'll also choose two classes from the following:

  • Principles of Research Design
  • Quantitative Methods I
  • Quantitative Methods II
  • Qualitative Methods

Elective classes

Choose two classes.

  • European Governance
  • European Political Economy
  • International Institutions & Regimes
  • Principles of Research Design (if not taken as core)
  • Quantitative Methods I (if not taken as core)
  • Quantitative Methods II (if not taken as core)
  • Qualitative Methods (if not taken as core)

Entry requirements

First or upper second-class Honours degree, or equivalent, in social science.

English language requirements

You're required to have a suitable minimum level of competency in the English language if your first language is not English or if you have not been educated wholly or mainly in the medium of English.

For postgraduate studies, the University of Strathclyde requires a minimum overall score of IELTS 6.5 (no individual test score below 5.5) or equivalent. Tests are valid for two years.

Pre-sessional courses in English are available.

If you’re a national of an English speaking country recognised by UK Visa and Immigration (please check most up-to-date list on the Home Office website) or you have successfully completed an academic qualification (at least equivalent to a UK bachelor's degree) in any of these countries, then you do not need to present any additional evidence.

If you are from a country not recognised as an English speaking country by the United Kingdom Vis and Immigration (UKVI), please check our English requirements before making your application.

Pre-Masters preparation course

The Pre-Masters Programme is a preparation course for international students (Non-EU/UK) who do not meet the entry requirements for a Masters degree at University of Strathclyde. The Pre-Masters programme provides progression to a number of degree options.

How much will my course cost?

All fees quoted are per academic year unless stated otherwise.


  • 2017/18 - £4,800 full-time
  • 2017/18 - £2,400 part-time

Rest of UK

  • 2017/18 - £4,800 full-time
  • 2017/18 - £2,400 part-time


  • 2017/18 - £13,500 full-time
  • 2017/18 - £6,750 part-time
This school offers programs in:

Last updated February 14, 2018

Everyone thinks that their home town is a dump, because the grass is always greener elsewhere, isn’t it? It seems that’s true as long as elsewhere is anywhere but Cumbernauld.

It’s a dump, apparently 

“What’s it called?” Very funny. For anyone lucky enough to not understand that joke, it’s a reference to an obnoxiously optimistic ad for the town that was made during the eighties. I’m sorry torture you with it, but here it is:

However, I’ll tell you what it doesn’t say:

Cumbernauld is the most frequently nominated town in Scotland for the Plook on a Plinth award. It’s where Craig Ferguson moved away from. It’s where they filmed Gregory’s Girl – not that you’d know now since they knocked the school (which I went to) down. I used to be able to see it from my bedroom window but now all I see is a fenced off empty lot – well, empty apart from the cans, bottles and (probably) a used condom or two.

Because Cumbernauld is a dump, didn’t you know?

The site where Abronhill High used to be

But it’s not a bad place to live 

Everyone thinks where they come from is the worst. I think it’s built into us – that need to keep moving, to constantly continue bettering ourselves and our surroundings. It could be an admirable trait if we actually did anything about it. Instead, we sit, we whinge and we moan about how everything around us is shit, how there’s nothing to do and how everyone who lives here is a joke. It’s a depressing state of mind to match a depressing looking place. Grey buildings, a grey sky and grey moods.

I’m sick of it. I’m sick of walking around with my fists plunged deep into my pockets, staring at the ground. I’m sick of writing about how “depressing” it is to live here. Why? Because that’s bullshit in itself.

As I look out of my bedroom window even now I see trees and leaves painted in rich, dark autumn colours. Admittedly, they are surrounded by bare trees, dull grey houses, dirty lampposts and an overcast sky, but to call everything I see outside of my window horrible is bullshit.

People don’t hate it as much as they make out

Dare I say, without throwing up, that I actually like my home town? Yeah, I’ll say it. I like Cumbernauld (overall) and I think a lot of other people do too. Now, of course, I know people my age who decided they’d had enough of this place and moved on – to go to university elsewhere, to join the army… but I also know many people who stayed.

At times I think about what it’d be like to live somewhere else and eventually my mind comes to what I’d miss. I’d miss my friends, my (parents’) house, the places I go for a walk, the shopping centre across the road from my house where I can get a box of chips, cheese and curry sauce for one pound fifty. To put it succinctly, Cumbernauld has a character. He’s a moody bastard but there’s a certain charm to be found if you look under the grime and filth.

Abronhill Shopping Centre

From Abronhill High to Cumbernauld Academy 

I was in fourth-year when Abronhill High School closed. People who couldn’t care less about the school before came to campaign against the closure. A few threatened to move elsewhere if it happened.

For a year or so, the fight against the council continued but, ultimately, there was nothing to be done. In August 2014, I was set to attend the newly titled ‘Cumbernauld Academy’ for what would be my last two years of high school.

During those final few days of Abronhill High, people wept like the world was coming to an end and, a few months later, the demolition crew arrived to tear that building down. Almost two years later, I saw people crying again – this time because they were leaving Cumbernauld Academy. After all the doubts, after all the tears and after the fear of being stabbed on the walk to school (because apparently Cumbernauld is more dangerous than Mogadishu), people were sad to leave it all behind.

Cumbernauld Academy – also set to be demolished to make way for a new, modern campus

It’s home

I’m not saying Cumbernauld is perfect. I’m also not saying it deserved to be the Plook on a Plinth. Part of me wants to kill myself for writing something so soppy but, ultimately, it’s the people that matter: the staff at the schools, your friends, family and neighbours, and even the folks who run Dee’s Rolls across the road from my house. Perhaps being here is like getting used to life in prison. Instead of walls, there’s a big, grey dome over all of us.

An old photograph of the demolition of Abronhill High

Ultimately, there are worse places to live than Cumbernauld.

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