Public Policy Analysis

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Edward Page


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 International Social and Public Policy with Politics, BSc in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, BSc in Politics, BSc in Politics and Economics, BSc in Politics and History, 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 policy learning.


This course is delivered through a combination of classes and lectures totalling a minimum of 40 hours across the Michaelmas, Lent and Summer Terms. Some or all of this teaching may be delivered through a combination of online and on-campus lectures and classes. There will be reading weeks in Week 6 of MT and LT.

Indicative reading

Christoph Knill and Jale Tosun, Public Policy, Macmillan, 2020; Hal Colebatch and Robert Hoppe, Handbook on Policy, Process and Governing, Edward Elgar, 2018; P Cairney, Understanding Public Policy. Theories and Issues, Palgrave, 2019;  BW Hogwood & A L Gunn, Policy Analysis for the Real World, Oxford University Press, 1984; J W Kingdon, Agendas, Alternatives and Public Policies (2nd edn), HarperCollins, New York 1995.


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



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

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Student performance results

(2018/19 - 2020/21 combined)

Classification % of students
First 34.7
2:1 60.5
2:2 3.2
Third 0
Fail 1.6

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2021/22 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 differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching 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 2020/21: 52

Average class size 2020/21: 18

Capped 2020/21: No

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

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