Approaches and Issues in Public Policy and Administration

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Edward Page and 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 not available as an outside option.

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 to four 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.


This course is delivered through a combination of seminars and lectures totalling a minimum of 40 hours across the Michaelmas, Lent and Summer Terms. This year, some or all of this teaching may be delivered through a combination of online and on-campus lectures and seminars. This course includes reading weeks in Week 6 of both the MT and LT terms.

Formative coursework

Two formative essays, one in the Michaelmas Term and one in the Lent Term.

Indicative reading

Christoph Knill and Jale Tosun (2020) Public Policy; Paul Cairney (2019) 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.


Online assessment (75%, duration: 7 days) in the ST.
Essay (25%, 3000 words) in the LT.

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

(2017/18 - 2019/20 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 35.5
Merit 55.9
Pass 8.6
Fail 0

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: 59

Average class size 2020/21: 14

Controlled access 2020/21: Yes

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Problem solving
  • Communication