GV263GC      Half Unit
Public Policy Analysis (Spring Semester)

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Edward Page


This course is available to General Course ‘Spring Semester’ students.


GV101 Introduction to Political Science (or equivalent).

Course content

The study of public policy has been one of the key fields in political science, drawing, however, on many other social science disciplines, such as economics, law, sociology, and social psychology. The past two decades have witnessed considerable changes in public policies, whether in the field of economic, law and order or social policy. This course pays particular attention to underlying theories of policy-making and policy analysis rather than substantive policy domains and encourages both cross-national and cross-sectoral comparison.  It concentrates on a range of contested issues in public policy including the role of science, how policy disasters might arise, corruption, cross-national policy learning, the role of ICT and “nudge” theory.


This course is delivered through a combination of classes and lectures totalling a minimum of 20 hours in the Lent Term, and 2 hours in the Summer Term. Some or all of this teaching will be delivered through a combination of online and on-campus lectures and classes. There will be a reading week in Week 6 of the LT.

Indicative reading

P Cairney, Understanding Public Policy. Theories and Issues, Palgrave, 2012; BW Hogwood & A L Gunn, Policy Analysis for the Real World, Oxford University Press, 1984;  C Knill, and J Tosun, Public Policy. A New Introduction, Macmillan 2020.


Essay (100%) in the LT.


The Class Summary Grade for General Course 'Spring Semester' students will be calculated as follows:25% attendance, 37.5% formative essay (best essay), and 37.5% participation; the Exam Grade will be based on a summative essay due in the latter half of the LT.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Government

Total students 2019/20: Unavailable

Average class size 2019/20: Unavailable

Capped 2019/20: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

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