Lutz Krebs Lutz Krebs Sacha Ruland

Top position for Master in Public Policy and Human Development

Written by  Graziella Runchina Wednesday, 28 May 2014 13:10
It is the only master’s programme in the world where graduates receive a degree from both the United Nations University (UNU) and Maastricht University (UM): Public Policy and Human Development (MPP). The programme was awarded the top position in this year’s guide to master’s programmes in the Netherlands, the Keuzegids Masters 2014, in the category Political Science and Public Administration. Director Lutz Krebs explains the success of ‘his’ programme.
Krebs is, naturally, pleased with the top ranking in the Keuzegids – but not in the least surprised. “We’re happy, but had secretly been hoping for it a bit”, he admits. “We’ve always scored well on the quality of our lecturers, and they, after all, play a major role in the success of the programme. It will be clear to anyone who looks at our records that we attract the most experienced and engaging policymakers in their respective fields. This year we have 90 tutors for a group of 94 students, all of them with outstanding backgrounds. Take Dr Michael Cichon, former head of the Department of Social Protection at the International Labour Organisation, for instance, or Dr Hein de Haas, co-director of the International Migration Institute at Oxford University.”
These lecturers explicitly link the curriculum to current events. Krebs: “More than half of the courses are now linked to topical issues that UM and the UNU see as important today. New topics that we’ve recently introduced range from ‘Regionalism and Multi-level Governance’ to ‘Innovation Systems in the Global Economy’.”

Flexible and multidisciplinary

The aim of the intensive, one-year MPP programme is to produce flexible and multidisciplinary graduates who can work as policymakers or policy analysts at the regional, national and especially international level. “They typically end up in fields like social security, migration, trade and development, innovation, regional integration, and risk and vulnerability”, Krebs explains. “We place high demands on our students, but in principle all bachelor’s programmes offer toeholds for students keen to join Public Policy and Human Development. What’s important is that the student is highly motivated and able to play different roles after graduation. You have to be able to persuade a minister with a policy proposal, but also negotiate with major interest groups.”

Broad scope

In addition to political, social and economic issues, the broad-based master’s programme pays special attention to statistical and econometric techniques. “Our graduates often end up at international organisations, such as UNICEF, the World Bank and the United Nations, or in national ministries or national banks. They’re the experts that institutions call on when they need additional expertise”, says Krebs. “For instance, we have a graduate in Spain who’s developing a programme to give the many young people there who are well educated, but unemployed, faster and better access to the labour market.”


Launched in 2006, the MPP programme has the most international student population at UM. “Our students come from five continents and represent forty different countries. A third of them already work in political policy and have around five years of professional experience before they start the programme. The remainder are bachelor’s graduates from different fields.”
Despite the recession, recent years have shown that MPP graduates find suitable jobs relatively quickly. “Last year more than 95% of our alumni were working”, says Krebs. “On average they find good jobs within about three months – something we’re very proud of.”

Iga Prokopowicz (24, student, Finland)
After graduating from European Studies I was looking for a high-quality programme in Maastricht with a more global scope. I decided to opt for MPP, because in addition to its broad international perspective, it offers a wide range of skills and good teaching. What I like most is the programme’s truly multinational environment with students and lecturers from all over the world, which allows you to build great friendships and networks.”

Nikki Arya (25, student, India)
“If you choose this highly recommended master’s programme, be prepared to devote your days and weekends to it! The courses are fast paced and you’re exposed to a plethora of information, case studies, articles and debates in a short period of time. It might seem overwhelming at first, but time management is the key. This one-year programme provides you with a double degree from Maastricht University and United Nations – and is guaranteed to pay off in the long term!”

Lutz Krebs (1978) is a political scientist specialising in international relations and conflict research. He is the programme director for the MSc in Public Policy and Human Development at Maastricht University and United Nations University. He also teaches at the School of Business and Economics, supervises bachelor’s, master’s and PhD students, and is the Dutch representative on the management committee of the European Network for Conflict Research. 

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