GV4F4      Half Unit
The Politics of Policy Advice

This information is for the 2013/14 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Kira Matus CON6.10


This course is available on the MSc in International Migration and Public Policy, MSc in Public Administration and Government (LSE and Peking University) and MSc in Public Policy and Administration. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Available as an outside option where regulations permit.

Course content

Many masters graduates in public policy and administration go on to work in organizations that produce or consume policy advice. The course will look at how policy advice is commissioned, produced, managed and used. This course has three objectives: it introduces students to a range of theoretical and empirical scholarship on the issues involved in producing policy advice, it develops the communication skills required of policy analysts, and exposes them to practitioners who produce and commission advice. Students will develop their policy analysis and communication skills by working through real-world cases during the seminars and in the formative and assessed coursework.


5 hours of lectures and 15 hours of seminars in the LT. 3 hours of seminars in the ST.

In addition there will be five guest speaker sessions.

Formative coursework

One formative essay (policy memo and analysis) (1500) designed to help students in developing their project work (middle of LT) and one mock examination or a second policy memo and analysis (end of LT)

Indicative reading

Bardach, Eugene (2009) A Practical Guide for Policy Analysis, Third Edition. Washington, DC: CQ Press.
Gross, M., 2010, Ignorance and surprise; science, society and ecological design, The MIT Press.
Hilgartner, S., (2000), Science on stage: expert advice as public drama Orig. print., Stanford, Calif.: Stanford Univ. Press
Jasanoff, S.S., (1987), 'Contested boundaries in policy-relevant science.' Social Studies of Science, 17(2), p.195.
Lindblom, C E and Cohen, DK (1979) Usable knowledge: social science and social problem solving (New Haven and London: Yale University Press).
Majone, Giandomenico (1989) Evidence, argument and persuasion in the policy process, New Haven: Yale University Press.
Weiss, C (1997) Evaluation. New York: Prentice Hall.
Stone, D.A., (2002). Policy paradox: The art of political decision making, New York: Norton.
Weimer, David L. and Vining, Aidan R. (2005) Policy Analysis: Concepts and Practice, Fourth Edition. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.


Exam (50%, duration: 2 hours) in the main exam period.
Project (50%, 3000 words) in the ST.

Key facts

Department: Government

Total students 2012/13: 36

Average class size 2012/13: 17

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills