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The Mandela School Master's programme offers students a multi-disciplinary degree with a balance of theoretical and practical skills. The core curriculum is drawn from the disciplines of economics, political science and public management and is designed to address the challenge of driving effective reforms or establishing new public programmes.   

In 2014, while we were still known as the Graduate School of Development Policy and Practice, we initiated a two-year part-time degree aimed at senior officials from across Africa. This degree is still offered with a mix of intensive on-site and distance learning, ensuring participants need not reside in Cape Town.  From 2021, a full-time Master's degree  will be offered for high-achieving graduates who are aiming for senior positions in the public sector.

The Mandela School has capacity for a limited number of PhD students with preference given to those already familiar with the school's academic approach.


“It has been very, very helpful as it is all related to our work. The people who designed the course were really visionary. In South Africa today we are experiencing problems with policy implementation and this programme is coming up with those kinds of solutions.”
Mr Takalani Rathiyaya, Head of Economic Development Programmes, Ethekwini Municipality

 “The course easily translates back into the workplace. It is important for me that the people leading the course are practitioners and have had experience working in global organisations or within government departments, in our country and others. That experience has enabled them to make what they are teaching us very practical.”
Ms Lauren Uppink, Professional Officer - Projects, City of Cape Town Strategy and Investment Plan, City of Cape Town

“Being able to learn from the diverse participants and getting to learn about issues in Kenya, South Africa, Zambia and Namibia and the different ways that the public sector and private sector interact with each other in these countries has been quite an eye opener.”
Ms Michelle Ntukanyagwe, Senior Policy Analyst, Office of the President, Government of Rwanda

“The fact that it has a leadership module means that UCT is truly committed to creating public policy entrepreneurs.”
Ms Grace Wandera, Deputy Commissioner- Marketing and Communication, Kenya Revenue Authority