Approaches and Issues in Public Policy and Administration

This information is for the 2019/20 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Edward Page

Dr Daniel Berliner


This course is compulsory on the 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.

The deadline for applications is 17:00 on Tuesday 1 October 2019. You will be informed of the outcome by 17:00 on Wednesday 2 October 2019

Course content

The course is designed to introduce MSc students to major issues in understanding public administration and policy. Students will be divided into two or three classes depending on the number of students taking the course. 18 of the lectures will reflect the topics to be covered in the weekly classes (18 plus 1 revision class) addressing key themes in Public Policy and Public Administration. Some of the lectures may be given by other colleagues teaching on the MSc degree as well as by outside speakers.  2 lectures and classes will cover dissertation writing (for GV499) in the field of public policy and administration. Compulsory for students on MSc Public Policy and Administration and the LSE-PKU Double Degree in Public Administration and Government.


10 hours of lectures and 15 hours of seminars in the MT. 10 hours of lectures and 15 hours of seminars in the LT. 1 hour of lectures and 1 hour and 30 minutes of seminars in the ST.

There will be a reading week in week 6 of the MT and the LT for private study and assessment preparation.

Formative coursework

Two formative essays, two in the Michaelmas Term and one in the Lent Term.  A third, optional, formative essay will take the form of a mock essay written under exam conditions.

Indicative reading

Paul Cairney (2012) Understanding Public Policy; Merilee Grindle (2012) Jobs for the Boys; B Guy Peters (2018) Politics of Bureaucracy (7th edn); David L Weimer and Aidan R Vining (2016) Policy analysis: Concepts and practice; Steve Balla, Martin Lodge and Edward C Page (eds)(2015) Oxford Handbook on the Classics of Public Policy.


Exam (75%, duration: 3 hours) in the summer exam period.
Essay (25%, 3000 words).

Student performance results

(2015/16 - 2017/18 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 19.7
Merit 66.4
Pass 13.8
Fail 0

Key facts

Department: Government

Total students 2018/19: 42

Average class size 2018/19: 14

Controlled access 2018/19: No

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Problem solving
  • Communication