Public Policy Analysis

This information is for the 2023/24 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Edward Page


This course is available on the BA in Social Anthropology, BSc in Environment and Sustainable Development with Economics, BSc in Environmental Policy with Economics, BSc in History and Politics, BSc in International Social and Public Policy with Politics, BSc in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, BSc in Politics, BSc in Politics and Data Science, 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 Anthropology. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit. This course is available 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 50 hours across the Autumn, Winter and Spring Terms. There will be reading weeks in Week 6 of AT and WT.

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; A Hassel and K Wegrich, How to Do Public Policy (2022).


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


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

Key facts

Department: Government

Total students 2022/23: 86

Average class size 2022/23: 15

Capped 2022/23: Yes (85)

Lecture capture used 2022/23: Yes (MT & LT)

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

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.

Personal development skills

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