GV478E      Half Unit
Political Science and Public Policy

This information is for the 2017/18 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Simon Hix CON3.07


This course is compulsory on the Executive Master of Public Administration and Executive Master of Public Policy. This course is not available as an outside option.


There are no pre-requisites, but recommended advance reading is given below.

Course content

This course introduces students to core concepts and problems in politics and policymaking. Among the questions we address: What determines political preferences and electoral outcomes? How are interests represented? How do political institutions shape policy outcomes? We focus on tools that students should be able to apply broadly in analyzing the political world.


A one-week modular teaching block.

Formative coursework

One mock examination will be provided.

Indicative reading

Analyzing Politics: Rationality, Behavior and Instititutions by Kenneth Shepsle (W.W. Norton, 2nd edition, 2010) is an excellent starting point and reference for many topics. A full reading list will be distributed at the beginning of the course.


Essay (50%, 2000 words) and online assessment (50%).

Please note that online examinations take place on the third Friday after the module teaching concludes. Assessed essays are due on the sixth Friday after module teaching concludes. Further details will be provided at the Executive MPA/ Executive MPP programme inductions.

Student performance results

(2013/14 - 2015/16 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 21.4
Merit 70.6
Pass 6.3
Fail 1.6

Key facts

Department: Government

Total students 2016/17: 68

Average class size 2016/17: Unavailable

Controlled access 2016/17: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Problem solving
  • Communication