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Core courses

The MPhil in Technology Policy programme's core courses introduce students to key concepts and tools, building on a firm grounding in economics and policy, ranging from problem framing and systems analysis through to complexity, decision-making under uncertainty and strategic thinking.

Throughout the core courses there is an emphasis on real world applications through case study materials on policy issues in a wide variety of areas (e.g. the Internet, transport, space policy), taught by senior practitioners from both the academic and business worlds.

Introduction to Microeconomics

An introduction to microeconomics designed to familiarise you with some basic concepts, tools and models relevant to management, business and technology policy. Topics covered include basic price theory, the firm, market structure, game theory, transactions costs, and market failures emanating from market power and externalities.

Technology Policy: Concepts & Frameworks

The course introduces you to some of the central themes of the MPhil in Technology Policy. It provides policy-related knowledge and skills for those planning careers in the area of technology and policy, and theoretical and empirical insights into how we might think about a given technology. A central idea is that a good student of current technology policy should be aware of key insights about technology from relevant social science and humanities disciplines. Technology policy is as much about economics, law, history, morality and human behaviour etc., as it is about the technology itself.


The course gives you an introductory understanding of public policy, an appreciation of the processes of policy-making and its analysis, competence in communicating with policy makers, and insights into leadership in technology strategy.


Economic Foundations of Technology Policy

You will be equipped with the economic principles that explain the rationale of policy and related instruments. This would require an understanding of microeconomics, with its welfare implications, some notions of industrial economics to understand where and when policy is necessary, and a good understanding of (selected) macroeconomic topics, with special emphasis on the role of government, investment, and growth. Infrastructure involves long-term, capital-intensive assets and almost always some state involvement. The course examines the underlying economic problems in such investments, the policies that governments can use to attract investment, the ways that private investors can raise finance and manage risk, and competing models for infrastructure investment, financing and operations. All topics are treated in a way that helps to identify the role and governance of technology in the economy.

Technology Policy: Case Studies & Simulations

The module explores a range of real challenges from the world of management, technology and policy, exposing you to examples of real decision-making and effective communication of complex messages. Much of this experience involves the key reality of uncertainty in policy-making and business strategy. By ensuring that you have experience of the reality of such decision-making, you will be better placed to confront such difficulties in your future career.

Our objective is for you recognise and appreciate the role of key stakeholders in policy making, as well as the need to confront the limits of your own knowledge and the limits of your responsibilities in various situations. As a result, you should be able to perform effectively in strategic and tactical management under turbulent conditions and with technical uncertainties.

Business, Government & Technology in Emerging Markets

This module is a survey of three distinct yet related forces - business, government and technology - in the context of emerging economies. Each of these forces individually plays an important role in how emerging economies in Asia, Africa and Latin America are striving to grow while controlling inequality and ensuring sustainability. Increasingly these forces also interact with each other in both positive and negative, predictable and unanticipated ways.

In this module we discuss real life cases of business-government relations. These may include instances of privatising state owned enterprises (which has implications for investment in technological capabilities), inviting foreign direct investment to develop particular sectors of the economy, incentive regimes for the development of science and technology, government decision making on issues such as genetically modified organisms (factoring in lobbying by powerful players), the development of pharmaceuticals and the role of governments, and usage of technologies in education amongst others. By engaging in discussion on such issues we try to develop a larger perspective in which to analyse such issues. We familiarise ourselves with key concepts and opposing arguments that are often overlooked in popular media.

You will analyse and discuss selected papers, book chapters, case studies and actual government or industry briefings on the role of business, government and technology in emerging markets. The course takes an interdisciplinary perspective and helps you develop your research skills, as well as helping you formulate and inform policy on these topics. Having completed the course, you should be able to review and write high quality academic and policy papers on topics related to business, government and technology in emerging economies.

Policy Design & Evaluation

The module focuses on social cost benefit analysis (CBA) of policy and the econometrics of policy evaluation. The first half of the course covers how to do the analysis - evaluation of outputs, inputs and their discounting - looking at how to handle risk and distributional issues within the analysis and going on to examine a number of case studies (such as the evaluation of a national smart energy meter roll out, or investments to increase internet speeds).

Once you've learned where to start with doing a cost benefit analysis, and also how to read impact assessments and government CBAs of policy and challenge them appropriately, we then focus on those applied econometric methods that are used in evaluating the impacts of programmes/policies. Through case studies you are equipped with a clear understanding of the data requirements, assumptions, and types of conclusions that can be drawn from i) randomised and natural experiments, ii) difference-in-difference analysis, iii) regression discontinuity design approaches, and iv) instrumental variable estimation.

Deciphering the European Union: Business-Government Relations

The course examines the role of European institutions in shaping policy on issues across a range of sectors, including ICT, energy, transport, trade, development, defence, research and development and education. The course provides direct exposure to EU policy-makers drawn from across a range of perspectives, sectors, institutions and ideologies. Aside from Cambridge-based lectures, the course involves an intensive field trip to European institutions for meetings with European parliamentarians, Commission officials and others involved in European science and technology policy. Students are provided an opportunity to investigate in depth a specific area of technology policy that falls within the broad remit of European science and technology policy.

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Our application process is divided into two steps:

  1. Minimum requirements check
  2. Complete & submit your application

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Closing dates

Deadline for applications: 28 Jun 2019
However we recommend you apply before December.

Cambridge Trusts funding deadlines are 11 October for Gates US applicants, 5 December for applicants from all other countries.

Alumnus Ed Klinger explains what made him choose the Cambridge MPhil in Technology Policy.

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Funding available to our MPhil in Technology Policy students includes University of Cambridge scholarships, Cambridge Judge Business School bursaries, and external scholarships.

Find out more about scholarships