PP401      Half Unit
Political Science for Public Policy

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Mathilde Emeriau and Dr Joachim Wehner


This course is compulsory on the Master of Public Policy. This course is not available as an outside option.

Course content

The course will introduce students to how to understand the political context of policymaking, using the latest theoretical and empirical knowledge in modern political science.  The course will cover, among other things, political behaviour (such as voting behaviour, elections and lobbying), political institutions (such as electoral systems, parliamentary and presidential government, and central banks) and political outcomes (such as economic policies and public services).  The course will combine a review of the main empirical regularities across time and across country in each of these areas, with an introduction to key theoretical arguments about how actors interact and how institutions shape strategic behaviour, and an introduction to the latest empirical (and causal) estimation techniques for testing theoretical propositions.


This course is delivered through a combination of lectures and seminars totalling a minimum of 35 hours across Michaelmas Term. This year teaching will be delivered through a combination of online lectures, with seminars taking place in person where possible and where conditions allow.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce one formative assignment in the MT.

Indicative reading

W. R. Clark, M. Golder, & S. N. Golder (2018). Principles of Comparative Politics. Third Edition. CQ Press.

This book provides an excellent starting point and can be used as the main reference for many topics. A full reading list will be distributed at the beginning of the course.


Essay (70%, 2000 words) in the LT.
Presentation (30%) in the MT.

Application exercises will be carried out in groups and assessed on the basis of one group presentation in the Michaelmas Term. Assessment will be as a group but there may be an individual component within the mark.

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.

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: School of Public Policy

Total students 2020/21: 47

Average class size 2020/21: 12

Controlled access 2020/21: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Specialist skills