Approaches and Issues in Public Policy and Administration

This information is for the 2023/24 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Edward Page


This course is compulsory on the 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 50 hours across the Autumn, Winter and Spring Terms. This course includes reading weeks in Week 6 of both the AT and WT terms.

Formative coursework

Two formative essays, one in the Autumn Term and one in the Winter 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.


Exam (75%, duration: 3 hours) in the spring exam period.
Essay (25%, 3000 words) in the WT.

Student performance results

(2019/20 - 2021/22 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 32.6
Merit 62.9
Pass 4.6
Fail 0

Key facts

Department: Government

Total students 2022/23: 40

Average class size 2022/23: 13

Controlled access 2022/23: Yes

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