Innovative Masters programme has 100 graduates and 400 students in just three years!

The Partnership for African Social & Governance Research (PASGR( is working with thirteen [1] universities in 7 African countries to implement a collaborative Master of Research and Public Policy Programme (MRPP).

The MRPP is a unique graduate programme with a dual focus on social science research and public policy (as distinct from public administration or public management).  It is a full-time 2-year programme, including a field experience and thesis.  It uses a common curriculum developed collaboratively by teaching staff, incorporating case studies, group work as well as conventional lectures.

The approach to features like credit weighting, eligibility criteria, thesis guidelines, minimum cohort and maximum class size is harmonized across partner universities.  The MRPP degree is granted by each university using common assessment standards and thesis requirements.

Designed to produce the next generation of public policy leaders and researchers, the MRPP is breaking new academic terrain in Africa.   Course content does not only encompass perspectives from multiple social science disciplines but is also informed by Africa’s public policy challenges.  The MRPP builds competencies on two career trajectories:  scholarly research and teaching in academia, and policy practice within government bodies, think tanks, civil society, regional and international organisations as well as media.

A 2013 Independent External Review of PASGR characterised the MRPP as follows:

The MRPP has put in place an architecture for a collaborative MA in Research and Public Policy that is international standard and highly innovative for Africa, and probably the world.”

To date, the MRPP has enrolled over 415 students and graduated more than 100 students. Student profiles indicate a rich mix of backgrounds from public administration and politics in central and local governments to a cross section of sectors including: health, environment, agriculture, education, security as well as media, research and a wide range of Non-Governmental Organizations.  The students are enthusiastic and highly motivated to build the desired competencies.

Sound public policy can be an enabler for stimulation of appropriate responses to the continent’s complex socio-economic and political challenges and is often under-utilized in this sense. The MRPP cuts a niche by equipping graduates with requisite skills, knowledge and experience to design and execute policy relevant research; and to use research evidence to shape, analyse, implement, monitor and evaluate public policy.  Graduates are therefore uniquely positioned to earn a place at the table of nations and to define the future of the continent as it tackles 21st century challenges.

The founder universities formed a network following regional consultations as well as agreement on a set of guiding principles which, among other things, included acceptance of bearing the full operational cost of programme delivery.  PASGR mobilises resources for programme development and supports activities that benefit all partner universities equally such as: professional development of teaching staff; preparation/acquisition of crucial teaching and learning materials including e-cases and core textbooks; facilitating access to electronic teaching and learning resources; quality assurance; and,  strengthening mechanisms of sharing best practices across participating universities.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) involving PASGR and all universities sets out respective roles and responsibilities, including agreement that once the programme was fully launched, new entrant universities will be accommodated.  Participation of new entrant universities will be conditional on acceptance of the same guiding principles as all other MOU signatories.

[1] University of Dar es Salaam and Mzumbe in Tanzania; University of Ghana in Ghana; University of Ibadan, Lagos and Jos in Nigeria; University of Nairobi, Egerton and Maseno in Kenya; Uganda Christian University and Uganda Martyrs University in Uganda; University of Sierra Leone in Sierra Leone; and, University of Botswana in Botswana