To effectively analyze social interventions and policy decisions, you need an understanding of the complex political, social, and economical factors that directly or indirectly influence public policy. It can also play a role in forming informed, meaningful policy recommendations.
With the right public policy online certificate, you can acquire practical techniques and skills for immediate application within the organization or to any policy-related governmental projects. Hence, if you wish to work as a prime policy-maker, you, too, can consider enrolling in one of the best public policy courses.
Top Eleven Best Online Public Policy Courses
- A. in Public Policy – Offered by O.P. Jindal Global University (MA PP) – [Coursera]
- Understanding economic policymaking – Offered by IE Business School – [Coursera]
- S. Public Policy: Social, Economic, and Foreign Policies – Offered by Harvard University – [edX]
- Systematic Approaches to Policy Design – [Harvard University]
- Public Policy Analysis – [The London School of Economics and Political Science]
- Tools for Academic Engagement in Public Policy – Offered by Massachusetts Institute of Technology – [edX]
- Social Policy for Social Services & Health Practitioners Specialization – Offered by Columbia University [Coursera]
- Public Policy Economics (Online) – Department of Continuing Education – [University of Oxford]
- Oxford online courses in public policy and government – [University of Oxford]
- Master Public Policy Analysis: Advanced – [Udemy]
- Public Policy 101 – [Udemy]
Why These Courses Stand Out?
We scouted the web for the top public policy certificate courses and found several options. So, we picked the best 50 listings on Google and screened them individually. In the process, we compared the classes on five parameters:
- The ratings and reviews on the course.
- The instructor’s background and experience
- The fee you pay
- The offerings from the class
- Is there a certification?
It helped us cut down the list of 50 to 25 best options. Then we presented this list to engineers, scientists, and policymakers who use this knowledge every day, and they helped us with the below-listed top 11 best courses. Let us address them one by one.
11 Best Public Policy Online Certificate Courses
1. M.A. in Public Policy – Offered by O.P. Jindal Global University (MA PP) – [Coursera]
|Accredited||O.P. Jindal Global University|
|Duration||24-36 months – 16 courses, estimated 10 hours a week|
|Who can take this class?||Students from diverse backgrounds can take this course. If you have an undergrad degree in any field of specialization from a recognized university in India or abroad, you can take this session.|
It is an accredited degree presented to you by O.P. Jindal Global University. It is India’s #1 University in Social Sciences, Arts & Humanities (QS University Rankings, 2022). These public policy classes online are offered in English. The online degree will be the same as the on-campus degree.
Across the session, you will engage in several group discussions with your peers and professors. It is a hands-on, 100% online class. So, you do not have to travel anywhere and can enjoy the course at your convenience, anytime and anywhere. So, this can be one of the best online public policy courses if you wish to further your career in policy making and change live positively, this could be your program.
You can select topics and classes that match your individual learning and career goals in this public policy certificate course. In addition, the session will also help you dig deeper into your preferred electives that include Economic Policy, Energy, Climate, Analytical Techniques, Health, and more. If public health & epidemiology are your interest area, do check out these online epidemiology classes for additional help.
Once you graduate and complete this program, you can go for a policymaking role in government, civil services, CSR groups, NGOs, educational sector, media, political organizations, think tanks, and more. As part of this class, you will study from both policy practitioners and academy experts.
What’s more? In this Coursera’s one of the top online public policy courses, you will be working on capstone projects, which encourage applying everything you have learned in this class. Another stand-out feature of this session is that every student is assigned a faculty member who offers supervision of the research project.
In this public policy online certificate, you will learn the following:
- Skills to build a successful career in the complex public policy sector
- With a focus on developing economies and an interdisciplinary approach, you will know how to analyze contemporary political, economic, social, and environmental issues.
- Skills to carry out policy formulation and analysis, and monitoring
- This opens avenues both in public and corporate sector
- Taking up a greater responsibility in leadership and policymaking roles. You can take these leadership courses as you climb up the ladder.
There is no prerequisite for this public policy certificate course. So, if you do not know social sciences or public policy, you can still take this session.
2. Understanding economic policymaking – Offered by IE Business School – [Coursera]
|Duration||Approx. 17 hours to complete|
|Who can take this class?||These public policy classes online will benefit:
1. Anyone interested in economic policymaking
2. People who wish to learn the bases behind policymaking
|Cons||This public policy certificate course is too short for the amount of technical knowledge implicit in the material.|
It is Part 1 of the three-part Globalization, Economic Growth, and Stability Specialization. In this public policy online certificate, you will discover how to apply a non-technical approach to understand how governments use them to influence the economy in a country.
It is one of the best online public policy courses. Herein, you will learn the following:
- Ability to have rounded information on the national debts and deficits
- Examining monetary and fiscal policy and their effect on the economy
- Results of monetary and fiscal policy
- Impact of structural reforms on a country
With all the knowledge acquired in these public policy classes online, you can develop your position in the economic debates, such as the future growth path of many modern economies, the need for higher interest rates, the merits of quantitative easing, and fiscal stimulus vs. austerity.
I think in terms of easily understanding and learning it is suitable
for everyone to learn some basic macro economic knowledge and be able to use it in real life
3. US Public Policy: Social, Economic, and Foreign Policies – Offered by Harvard University – [edX]
|Who should take this class?||It is one of the introductory-level online public policy courses. So, anyone, sans any experience, can take the class.|
|Duration||4 weeks 2–4 hours per week|
|Instructor||Thomas E. Patterson|
|Paid||The free option is also available|
|Certification||Only in the paid version|
|Cons||It is a free public policy certificate course. But, in the free version, there is no certification and graded assignments. You will have to pay if that’s what you seek.|
Public policy is imperative in every country. It helps put legal aspects into action. The executive branch directs the collective activities of the federal government to put across several problems, from the economy to the environment. Public policy in America impacts economic growth, social issues, foreign affairs, taxes, and regulation. With this public policy online certificate, you will acquire a broader view of public policy in America.
The instructor employs specific examples from the country, such as the 2008 climate change and economic downturn, to study the impact of the applied policies. As you proceed with Harvard University’s one of the top accredited courses, you will also delve deeper into aspects such as same-sex marriage and abortion and their impact on the political arena.
Next, in the subsequent public policy classes online, you will study the income, welfare, monetary, and fiscal policy, and some vital details associated with them, such as:
- What are they?
- What political divisions do they create?
- What tools do they involve?
Then there is a discussion on the partisan divisions over regulatory policy and the cause of the divisions. Lastly, as you progress towards the last section in this one of the top-most comprehensive online public policy courses, you will trace the evolution of the US’s position as a trading nation.
So, you will study the trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the North American Free Trade Agreement.
This public policy online certificate covers:
- How politics and religion become a constant source of conflict
- Nature of the American monetary and fiscal policy
- Differences in America’s welfare policies and other Western democracies
- Politics and structure of America’s tax system
- Factors that make America an economic powerhouse
- Partisan divisions over regulatory policy and the basis for those divisions
These public policy classes online have no specific prerequisites.
4. Systematic Approaches to Policy Design – [Harvard University]
|Enrolment dates||Open June 17, 2020 – June 16, 2030|
|Cons||The class is expensive as it is offered by the prestigious Harvard University.|
Harvard University is one of the top platforms and a brand behind some of the best online public policy courses. It is one of the top contenders on that list. This free class from Harvard Kennedy School takes you through the analytical decision-making for policy design. The school also offers a detailed online session on this topic as part of the Public Leadership. You can explore that too.
It is not a public policy online certificate class. As part of this session, senior officials can employ the evidence and the data in their everyday decision-making. With this learning, you will find some over-arching frameworks that aid in complex decision-making.
In these public policy classes online, you will learn the following:
- A brief overview of three commonly-used approaches for analytical decision-making
- Organize your thinking
- Three types of Systematic approaches to decision-making
- How to break a problem down into parts
- How to figure out where evidence can be most useful in making a decision
- What are the pros and cons of these different systematic approaches
5. Public Policy Analysis – [The London School of Economics and Political Science]
|Program type||Online Certificate Course|
|Start date||14 Sept 2022|
|Duration||10 weeks with a commitment of 7 – 10 hours per week|
|Who should take this class?||These public policy classes online are beneficial for:
1. Individuals working in public policy – policymakers, civil servants, NGO staff
2. Those in the private and public sectors who wish to influence public policy
3. Professionals across a broad range of industries – including the public sector, non-profit, consultancies
It is one of the best online public policy courses from LSE. The class teaches you the following:
- Accentuating your practical policy communication skills. Since, you will be around so many people in policy making, these communication skills online courses will help you convey your ideas better.
- How to leverage quantitative techniques
- Researching methodologies to conduct evidence-based impact evaluations
- Learn to make important proposals to a policy organization or stakeholders
- Building practical skills for application in policy-related projects or within your organization
- Forming an analytical framework to think about the policy process
- Performing evidence-based policy evaluations using quantitative tools available – including basic statistical methods, regression analysis, and causal inference
Across this public policy online certificate, you will get an opportunity to communicate with a global cohort of like-minded individuals and learn with an expert LSE faculty.
6. Tools for Academic Engagement in Public Policy – Offered by Massachusetts Institute of Technology – [edX]
|Who can take this class?||Learners residing in Iran, Cuba, and the Crimea region of Ukraine will not be able to register for this course. Rest people from all nations can access this class.|
|Duration||3 weeks – 1–3 hours per week|
|Instructor||Chappell Lawson and Daniel Pomeroy|
|Paid||A free option is also available|
|Certification||Only in the paid version|
|Cons||In the free version, there is no certification and graded assignments. You will have to pay if that’s what you seek.|
Engineers and scientists are supposed to work closely with policymakers, and there is a definite need for them to do so. But, regardless of how imperative it is, not many receive the required training to impact public policy. If you are in the same situation, this can be one of the top-recommended online public policy courses.
In these public policy classes online, you will discover the following:
- Introduction to the policymaking processes through the lens of the US federal government
- Practical tips for engaging with the policy community
- Making scientifically-informed solutions to public policy challenges
- How to identify and prioritize policy stakeholders
- Specific steps researchers can take to engage policy stakeholders
- Understanding the complex public policy ecosystem
- Role research and evidence play in the creation of public policy
- Strategies for informing the policymaking community with research results
- Importance of building two-way dialogues with policymakers
It is an introductory-level public policy online certificate course, and there are no prerequisites associated with it.
7. Social Policy for Social Services & Health Practitioners Specialization – Offered by Columbia University [Coursera]
|Who should take this class?||This class will benefit teachers, health care workers, police, and social workers who directly interact with policy daily.|
|Duration||Approximately six months to complete – Suggested pace of 3 hours per week.|
|Cons||Several slides have typos and even outright errors or wrong word choices.|
In America, social policy accounts for about seventy-five percent of government spending. Understanding policy formation, the underlying values, how they fail or succeed, and influence how people are in their civic roles or at work. In these public policy classes online, learners will find a comprehensive professional social policy analysis.
There are 5 Courses in this Specialization:
- US Social Services Compared US Social Services: Where did they come from?
- Poverty & Population: How Demographics Shape Policy
- Social Services for Families, Seniors, and Those with Disabilities
- Health, Housing, and Educational Services
Next on our list for online public policy courses is another Coursera class. In this course, you will learn the following:
- Comparing intellectual, historical, and cross-national perspectives on the size, structure, and outcomes of US social policy
- Showcasing knowledge of the US social welfare policy and its economic, social, and political contexts, to be an engaged citizen
- Drafting practice strategies to overcome the archaic biases in the social welfare programs
- Differentiating between the different structures and levels of public benefits
- Social justice impact on people receiving public benefits
- Formulating the skills in social policy implementation to be more effective in the task
- Differentiating the values inherent in every social policy initiative
- Discussing the alternative approaches to social policy problems
- Critique components of a social policy based on their effectiveness at meeting the goals stated in the initiative
- Developing reform proposals
- Performing social welfare policy analysis
- Formulating the practice strategies to overcome ancient biases in the social welfare program
For this public policy online certificate, you need:
- A basic understanding of the US government
- Concerns about the needs of fellow residents
- Interest in understanding the US social policy system
8. Public Policy Economics (Online) – Department of Continuing Education – [University of Oxford]
In this class, you will discuss some vital questions about the tools and the aims of the economic policy, which will educate the students to evaluate the economic argument about the public policy choices.
You will study everything from the industrial to regulation policy, from incorporating behavioral psychology nudges in policy decisions to spending choices. It also covers the impact of state vs. the market and the government’s responsibility towards sustainability. It can also help learners study the economic arguments about public policy choices.
It is one of the top online public policy courses where you will learn the following:
- The original purpose of economic policy
- Aims of public policy
- The range of economic policies
- Rationales for economic policies
- Taxing, borrowing, and spending
- The boundary between government and the market
- Financial policy in the twentieth century
- Social welfare versus growth
- Growth and sustainability
- Market failure and government failure – the public choice revolution
- Congestion externalities
- This public policy online certificate course introduces you to the concept of inequality and social welfare
- The limits of market solutions
- Dashboard approaches to measurement
- What are market failures?
- Distribution and social welfare
- Measuring welfare
- How to tackle externalities
- The well-being revolution in public policy
- Competition and regulation
- Strategic innovation policies
- Regulating privatized industries
Further, it is also one of the best online public policy courses to learn:
- Nationalisation and privatisation
- The Coase theorem
- What can go wrong? The example of UK rail privatization
- Government investment in R and D
- The dangers of the states versus markets’ perspective
- Horizontal industrial policy
- The Asian model of industrial policy
- Government’s role in the internet and the World Wide Web
- Positional goods
- Exit, voice, and loyalty
- Institutions and public sector reform
- Inequality and redistribution
- Behavioral regulation
- Behavioral economics in development
- Minimum wages
- Social capital and social norms
- Contingent valuation and stated preference
- Social security in the development
- And more
If you wish to earn CATS points for the public policy online certificate course, you should register and pay an additional £10 fee for every class you enroll in. Assignments are not graded. But, students will receive a pass or fail on them. Whether registered for credit or not, you can avail of a Certificate of Completion after completing the class.
9. Oxford online courses in public policy and government – [University of Oxford]
Who should take this course?
Their short public policy certificate courses will benefit you if:
- You are a professional seeking knowledge to accentuate your skills of public leadership or policymaking
- You are an early to mid-career civil servant
- You are an experienced NGO professional
- You are a public service representative or candidate
- You are an experienced professional in a public sector or related private organization
The University of Oxford has eight-week public policy online certificate courses. These are delivered to you by Oxford University, Blavatnik School of Government, and Pearson. The University’s mission is to support and inspire better public policy and government globally.
The classes have been designed and delivered in partnership with Pearson. You can browse through their offerings and make your selection.
10. Master Public Policy Analysis: Advanced – [Udemy]
|Who should take this class?||Anyone interested in policy analysis will appreciate this class.|
|Duration||1.5 hours of on-demand video|
|Return or refund policy||30-Day Money-Back Guarantee|
|Cons||Though it is advanced, it is only an elementary class.|
Next, we have a Udemy class. It has over 21 lectures comprising 1.5 hours of content. The material across the course is easy to learn. In the session, you will find project-based learning. So, you will learn by doing.
In this public policy online certificate course, you will learn the following:
- How to collect, organize and systematize data
- Writing a policy brief
- This course tells you the difference between policy and To deepen your knowledge, you can also pursue these online law courses.
- Basic steps of policy analysis
- Using a policy matrix to confront policy trade-offs
- Applying subsidies and taxes to control demand and supply
- Using price ceilings and price floors to support or curtail cost
- Performing a cost-benefit analysis
For this public policy certificate course, you will need:
- Preparedness to engage and learn
- Working internet connection
Review Udemy User.
This is good content and helpful to me for public policy to understanding.
11. Public Policy 101 – [Udemy]
|Who should take this class?||This course will benefit:
1. Mid-level Policy Professionals
2. NGO Leaders looking to address or change a policy
3. Business Leaders looking to save money or address a regulation
|Duration||1 hour of on-demand video|
|Return or refund policy||30-Day Money-Back Guarantee|
|Cons||The class is very elementary.|
Last on our list for online public policy courses is this Udemy class.
In this class, you will discover the following:
- How to interact with the government to address a policy or regulation
- What public policy is
- How to use public policy to your organization’s advantage?
- Setting a meeting with an elected official
- Through this public policy online certificate course, you study multiple examples, case studies, and templates that will directly shape your work
- How to build a coalition/campaign and get media attention
- Background Reading and Content
- How to set up a meeting with an elected official’s office and execute that meeting
- Engaging media and knowing when to engage them
- How to lobby and advocate effectively
- Networking and identifying policy issues your organization faces
- Tips, tricks, and hacks that are often not discussed in formal political science/policy programs
As such, there are no prerequisites for this class.
Review Dilip Harel Mitra C.
Hi it would be great if below the video the text of what the instructor is saying appears. It would help.
So, these are the top 11 best public policy classes online. Though they are all top-notch courses, we have a personal recommendation for our readers. It is the MA in Public Policy – Offered by O.P. Jindal Global University (MA PP) – [Coursera]. It is comprehensive, credible, and has top-notch information delivered by quality alumnus. So, you will enjoy your learning experience.