A world class graduate degree in public policy

Master of Arts in Public Policy is a 36-credit program, consisting of five compulsory courses with urban, climate, food, digital and wellbeing policy and governance in focus. The program is structured to be completed within 1 year, with additional one year grace period. Courseworks and academic activities provide training in critical thinking, design thinking, complexity thinking, and futures thinking in public policy analysis.

MA Course Structure

Independent Study Track (Plan 3 Profession Type )

5 Compulsory courses (15 credits)

  • Public Policy and Governance
  • Economics for Policy Analysis
  • Research Methodology for Public Policy
  • Data Analytics for Public Policy
  • Narrative Policy Analysis

5 Elective courses choosing from 4 tracks (15 credits)

  • Urban Policy Track
  • Environmental, Energy, Food and Climate Policy Track
  • Digital and Governance Policy Track
  • General Track

Total : Coursework (30 credits)

Independent Study / Thesis

Independent Study (6 credits)

Total credits

36 credits

Thesis Track

5 Compulsory courses (15 credits)

  • Public Policy and Governance
  • Economics for Policy Analysis
  • Research Methodology for Public Policy
  • Data Analytics for Public Policy
  • Narrative Policy Analysis

3 Elective courses choosing from 4 tracks (9 credits)

  • Urban Policy Track
  • Environmental, Energy, Food and Climate Policy Track
  • Digital and Governance Policy Track
  • General Track

Total : Coursework (24 credits)

Thesis (12 credits)

36 credits

The School of Public Policy, Chiang Mai University (SPP-CMU), and the Department of Political Science, Northern Illinois University (NIU), USA, signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on June 30, 2019. The MOA aims to exchange students, faculty, and experts to facilitate fair operations and promote educational activities and collaborative research with educational institutions abroad. Both parties have agreed to jointly develop a Double Degree Program to promote academic and research cooperation between SPP-CMU and NIU.

This agreement establishes an academic structure for collaboration, allowing SPP-CMU students to earn two Master of Arts (MA) degrees in two years. In the first year, students complete the MA requirements at Chiang Mai University within a 12-month program. Subsequently, their coursework will be transferred as 18 credits from CMU to NIU toward an MA in Political Science, which typically takes two years and requires 36 credit hours. As a result, with the 18 credits transferred from CMU, participating students effectively complete the first year of the NIU program and only need an additional 18 credits at NIU, achievable in one year. Upon successful completion of the program and degree requirements after two years, students earn an MA degree in Public Policy from SPP-CMU and an MA degree in Political Science from NIU.

Consequently, collaboration with Department of Political Science, NIU equips graduates with in-depth knowledge of governance systems and political science research methodologies, particularly in comparative politics. Students will study public policy theory and produce a policy brief at Chiang Mai University before delving into political science theory and completing a thesis at NIU.

Year 1 at CMU

5 Compulsory courses (15 credits)

  • 950701 Public Policy and Governance
  • 950702 Economics for Policy Analysis
  • 950703 Research Methodology for Public Policy
  • 950704 Data Analytics for Public Policy
  • 950705 Narrative Policy Analysis

1 Elective course (3 credits)

4 Elective courses (12 credits)


1 Independent Study (6 credits) 

Total: 36 credits

Year 2 at NIU

6 Graduate Level Electives

(18 Credits are transferred from CMU)

  • Usually, students are free to choose any electives offered at NIU

5 Compulsory courses (15 credits)

  • POLS 602 Scope and History of Political Science
  • POLS 603 Research Design in Political Science
  • POLS 641 Introductory Analysis of Political Data
  • POLS 690 Independent Study, Developing a Thesis
  • POLS 699 Master’s Thesis

1 Graduate Level Elective (3 credits)

Total: 36 credits

Year 1

Applicants must apply for admission as students of Chiang Mai University to obtain the first degree under the Master of Arts in Public Policy (International Program) Plan 3 (Professional Track). They can express their intention to participate in this Double Degree Program before traveling to study at Northern Illinois University.

The qualifications required are as follows:

  1. Comply with the announcement of Chiang Mai University regarding student admissions for each academic year.
  2. Hold a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent from a university or educational institution in Thailand or abroad.
  3. Have at least 3 years of relevant work experience in public policy until the application date.
  4. Have an English language test score that is valid for up to 2 years from the test date, with minimum scores as follows:
    • TOEFL-PBT 523
    • TOEFL-CBT 193
    •  TOEFL-iBT 69
    • IELTS 5.5
    • CMU-eTEGs 65
  5. Other qualifications beyond these criteria will be at the discretion of the SPP Selection Committee.

Year 2

After completing the first-degree Master of Arts (Public Policy) at Chiang Mai University, applicants must apply for admission as students of Northern Illinois University in the Master of Arts (Political Science) program to obtain the second degree. The qualifications required are as follows (as stated in the MOA):

  1. Attain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.00 for the first degree from Chiang Mai University or a GPA of at least 3.00 for 6 courses (18 credits) to be transferred to NIU.
  2. Achieve a TOEFL-iBT score of at least 80 for unconditional admission.
  3. Provide proof of financial status or scholarship acceptance.
    Apply within the application period specified by NIU and the Department of Political Science.

Selection Process for the Double Degree Program:

Applicants must apply for admission as students of Chiang Mai University to obtain the first degree under the Master of Arts program in Public Policy (International Program) Plan 3 (Professional Track). For those who want to apply for the double degree, they can express their intention to participate in this Double Degree Program before traveling to study at Northern Illinois University (notification can be made from the beginning or during their studies at CMU).

The Selection Committee of the School of Public Policy will evaluate qualifications according to the criteria and conduct interviews.

Admission : Click

950701 : Public Policy and Governance

Introduction to public policy and governance, Different approaches in understanding public policy: Stages approach, Institutional approach, Group and networks approach, Exogenous approach, Rational actors’ approach, Ideas-based approach, and Synthetic approach, Basic tools for policy development, Design thinking tools for policy development, Future thinking tools for policy development, Critical thinking tools for policy development, Governance in practice

950702 : Economics for Policy Analysis

Introduction to Economics and Public Policy, Development Economics and growth policy, Behavioral Economics for public policy, Economics of governance, Fiscal and monetary policy, Economic recession and financial crisis, Project feasibility and project evaluation, Economic impact assessment

950703 : Research Methodology for Public Policy

Nature of policy knowledge, Ontological and epistemological foundations of policy research, Research strategy, Research design, Research questions and purposes formulation, Theoretical conceptualization, Development of arguments, assumptions or hypothesis, Analytical framework, Methodology, Research tools and quality justification, Research ethics

950704 : Data Analytics for Public Policy

Introduction to data analytics for public policy, data for decision making, quantitative analysis, data management, big data for policy analysis, policy evaluation through data, platform analytics

950705 : Narrative Policy Analysis

Introduction to policy narratives, Interpretation in policy analysis, Narrative policy analyst as interpretive mediator, critical friend and deliberative facilitator, Number, shared meaning, better argument, and collective reason as grand narratives, Expert narrative, Politically-sensitive narrative, Normative narrative, Emotional narrative, Critical perspectives for narrative debates in policy analysis, Deliberative process for narrative exchanges in policy analysis

Admission Required Documents

  • Letter of Intent/ motivation letter stating the type of policy interest
  • CMU-SPP Master Program Application Form
  • Curriculum vitae
  • One copy of official Bachelor’s Degree certificate and transcript
  • Certified proficiency in English, awarded within the last 2 years: choices are between TOEFL (523 points paper-based; 193 computer-based; 69 iBT) or IELTS (score 5.5) and CMU-eTEGS (score 65).
    *This is not necessary for native English speakers or students who have had English as language of instruction at the university they previously studied at (certified by the university).
  • Two letters of recommendation from people who are familiar with your academic and/or professional background.
  • One copy of Thai National ID or Passport
  • Test results such as GRE, GMAT, list of publications (optional)

Urban policy track

950712 : Urban Planning and Design for Policy Makers

Introduction to urban planning and design, and planner and designer roles, Definitions of city, Human settlements, Urban origins,  Urban evolution, Urban culture and society, Urban quality of life in urban design, Public space and public life, Cities in the global context, Global cities, Global economy and localism, History of planning, Models of planning, Types and styles of planning, Conflict of interest, priorities, and debates in planning, Planning process, Levels of planning and locational theory, Planning into practice and implementation

950713 : Urban Habitation and Housing Policy

Housing Definition, its role and stakeholders, Housing as driver of urbanization and shaper of neighborhood, Slum and intervention into housing, Housing and discrimination, Trends shaping housing, planning and policy interventions: community land trust, inclusionary zoning, creating diverse communities, and new urbanism, Demographic shifts, mismatches housing supply, deficient resources, and climate change

950714 : Sustainable Urban Governance

Course introduction to sustainable urban governance, Project and process for urban development in theory and practices, Concept and practices of sustainable urban development, Different indicators of urban sustainability, Forms of stakeholder collaboration in urban development, Contemporary debates in sustainable urban governance

950717 : Cities Sports and Tourism

City and the world today, City life, Traveling and mobilities, The city as a special place, Sports and urban life, Sports, public place, and city revitalization, Arts in the city, Museum and tourism, Neighborhoods, communities, and suburbanization, City dwellers, travelers, and the tourists in a global city, Sports, tourism and city development in the global age

Environmental, Energy, and Climate Policy Track

950721 : Environment Policy and Governance

Introduction to Environmental Politics and Policy, History of Global Environmental Change, Environmental Impact of human Activity, Seminar on Global Environmental Change and Case study, Institutional Setting of Environmental Policy, Air Pollution and Policy, Water Pollution and Policy, Ground Pollution and Policy, Biodiversity and Forest Conservation, Seminar on Pollution Control and Environmental Conservation, Environmental Law and Institution, Environmental Economic Tools, Environmental Risk Assessment, Comparing Environment Policymaking around the World, Energy and Environment

950722 : Global Climate Policy and Governance

Introduction to Climate Change and Its Relationship with Science and Society, The Emergence and Politicization of Climate Science, Institutionalisation and Governance of Climate, Economic and Development Challenges of Climate Change, Lay worldviews, perceptions and knowledges of Climate Change, Media Reporting of Climate Change, The Future Roles of Climate Experts, Institutions and the Public

950724 : Energy Policy and Governance

Introduction Energy system and development, Imbalance resource allocation, Energy supply, Energy demand, Energy markets, Securing energy system and policy measures, Policy and planning of energy efficiency and conservation, Assessing energy policy

950726 : Risk and Disaster Governance

Investigation on definition, Types and causes of risks, Impacts of risks and disasters on multi-dimensions of security, Human security, National security, International security, Ecological security, Types of disasters, Causes from natural factors, Unsustainable development, Preparedness and prevention plan, Recovery plans, Key actors and stakeholders, Budget allocation, Governmental structure, Public-private-partnership in risks and disaster governance

950727 : Food Policy and Governance

Global food regime, Food supply chains, Food-water-energy nexus, Food efficiency, Food security, Food sovereignty and right to food, Food democracy and food freedom, Fair food chains and food justice, Food miles and ecological footprint, Food and rural-urban relations, Local food systems, Urban agriculture, Food innovation, Food and bio-circular-green economy, Smart-sustainable food policy and governance

Digital and Governance Policy Track

950732 : Digital Society and Governance

Overview of digital society, Internet of things in the networked world, Roles of big data in society, Smart city development, Privacy and digital society, Theorising digital society, Current issues and trends of digital society, Case studies of digital society practices

950733 : Intellectual Property Policy and Governance

Creations of Intellectual Properties, Acquisition of Intellectual Properties, Modern Intellectual Property Rights– Copyright and Related Rights, Patents, Trademarks, Trade Secrets, Geographical Indications, Layout-Designs of Integrated Circuits, Plant Variety Protection, Traditional Intellectual Property Rights – Traditional Knowledge, Folklore, Biological Diversity, Planning for Intellectual Property Rights, Misuse of Intellectual Property Rights, Monopolization using Intellectual Property Rights, Dispute Resolutions and Litigations of Intellectual Property Rights, Intellectual Properties and International Trades

Other Elective Courses

950742 : Gender and Public Policy

From women to gender: development of the gender and development studies, Sex, Gender, Gender’s role, and gender equality, Theoretical perspectives of gender and development, The United Nations’ policy on gender equality (the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and the Sustainable Development Goals), Education policy, Health/maternal health policy, Work policy, Legal and civil rights, Property rights, Society and culture, state mechanism for promoting women’s rights

950743 : Integrated Impact Assessment

Background, concept, law, policy and the steps of environment impact assessment (EIA), social impact assessment (SIA), health impact assessment (HIA), and emotional impact assessment, Screening, Scoping, Impact analysis, Mitigation, Impact management, Reporting, Evaluation, Decision making, Case study, Integration between EIA, SIA, HIA and EIA

950789 : Selected Topic in Public Policy

Contemporary topic selection based on emerging debates and current controversies in relation to public policy, Case-based learning on the selected topic, The analysis of the complexity of the topic, Critical assessment of real-world policy and governance in the selected topic, Policy analysis and design for the better development in that particular topic towards just sustainable futures

950798 : Independent Study

950799 : Master's Thesis

Is School of Public Policy Chiang Mai University appealing to you?