Public Policy Analysis

This information is for the 2017/18 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Edward Page CON3.05


This course is available on the BSc in Environmental Policy with Economics, BSc in Government, BSc in Government and Economics, BSc in Government and History, BSc in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, BSc in Politics and International Relations, BSc in Politics and Philosophy and BSc in Social Policy with Government. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit and to General Course students.


GV101 Introduction to Political Science (or equivalent)

Course content

A systematic examination of the policy process in the context of developed nations. This course introduces key theories and models in the study of public policy and encourages a critical appreciation of the main trends in contemporary public policy-making. The course looks at the different stages of the 'policy cycle' (e.g. agenda-setting, implementation and evaluation), the determinants of public policy (for example, public opinion, political parties, technology) as well as central themes in the study and practice of public policy, such as corruption and risk management.


10 hours of lectures and 9 hours of classes in the MT. 10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of classes in the LT. 1 hour of lectures and 1 hour of classes in the ST.

There will be reading weeks in Week 6 and Week 17.

Indicative reading

P Cairney, Understanding Public Policy. Theories and Issues, Palgrave, 2012; K Meier, The Politics of Sin, ME Sharpe 1994; M Hill, The Policy Process in the Modern State, (3rd edn), Prentice Hall, New York, 1997; F Fischer, G Miller and M Sidney Handbook of Public Policy Analysis, CRC Press, 2006; BW Hogwood & A L Gunn, Policy Analysis for the Real World, Oxford University Press, 1984; C Hood, The Limits of Administration, Wiley, 1976; B D Jones, Reconceiving Decision-Making in Democratic Politics: Attention, Choice, and Public Policy, University of Chicago Press, 1994; J W Kingdon, Agendas, Alternatives and Public Policies (2nd edn), HarperCollins, New York 1995; J L Pressman & A Wildavsky, Implementation (3rd edn), University of California Press, 1984; R Rose, Learning from Comparative Public Policy, Chatham House, 2004; CH Weiss, Evaluation: Methods for Studying Programs and Policies (2nd edn), Prentice Hall, 1998.


Exam (75%, duration: 3 hours) in the main exam period.
Essay (25%, 2500 words).



The Class Summary Grade for General Course students will be calculated as follows:25% attendance, 37.5% formative essay (best essay), 37.5% participation

Student performance results

(2014/15 - 2016/17 combined)

Classification % of students
First 6
2:1 83.3
2:2 10.7
Third 0
Fail 0

Key facts

Department: Government

Total students 2016/17: 41

Average class size 2016/17: 15

Capped 2016/17: No

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

PDAM skills

  • Self-management
  • Problem solving
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills

Course survey results

(2014/15 - 2016/17 combined)

1 = "best" score, 5 = "worst" score

The scores below are average responses.

Response rate: 66%



Reading list (Q2.1)


Materials (Q2.3)


Course satisfied (Q2.4)


Lectures (Q2.5)


Integration (Q2.6)


Contact (Q2.7)


Feedback (Q2.8)


Recommend (Q2.9)