GV4F4      Half Unit
Policy Advice in Theory and Practice

This information is for the 2015/16 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Eva Heims


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 with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

This course is capped at 2 groups. The deadline for receipt of applications will likely be between Friday 25 September and Friday 9 October 2015, depending on the course. The exact deadline for applications will be confirmed at your programme induction.

Course content

Many masters graduates in public policy and administration go on to work in organizations that produce or consume policy advice. With this in mind, this course will look at how policy advice is produced and used. It has three objectives: to introduce students to a range of theoretical and empirical scholarship on the issues involved in producing and using policy advice; to develop the practical policy analysis, advice and communication skills required of policy advisors; and to expose students to practitioners who produce and use policy 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.


8 hours of lectures and 16 hours and 30 minutes of seminars in the LT. 1 hour and 30 minutes of seminars in the ST.

In addition there will be between three and five guest speaker sessions.

Formative coursework

One formative essay (policy memo and analysis) (2,000 words) designed to help students in developing their project work  and either a mock examination or a second policy memo and analysis (2,000 words).

Indicative reading

Bardach, Eugene (2009) A Practical Guide for Policy Analysis, Third Edition. Washington, DC: CQ Press.

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.

Stone, D.A., (2002). Policy paradox: The art of political decision making, New York: Norton.

Scott, C. and Baehler, K. (2010) Adding Value to Policy Analysis and Advice, Sydney: University of New South Wales Press

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).

Student performance results

(2011/12 - 2013/14 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 8.8
Merit 78
Pass 13.2
Fail 0

Key facts

Department: Government

Total students 2014/15: 26

Average class size 2014/15: 13

Controlled access 2014/15: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

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