Department of Political Science


POLS0009 Public Policy - 2nd Year BSc PPE students only

Course Code: POLS0009

Course Tutor:  Dr Tim Hicks (Department of Political Science)

Length: One Term (Autumn Term)

Teaching: 30 contact hours

Assessment: One 2000 word essay (policy brief) and one unseen two hour examination (50/50%)

Credits: 15 credits/4 US Credits/7.5 ECTS Credits

Module Level: L5 (Intermediate)

About this course

This module is a core module for second year students enrolled on the BSc Philosophy, Politics and Economics degree and is not open to external students.

This course aims to introduce students to the process of public decision-making in modern democracies, and explains how decision-makers formulate and implement public decisions that have consequences for the everyday lives of citizens, such as over transport, energy or the environment. The course sets out the main theories of decision-making, such as rational or boundedly rational, and reviews the role of different actors in the policy process as they seek to influence public policy. Topics include the role of bureaucrats, politicians, and then case studies of implementation, such as local employment policies. The context is decision-making in the countries of the European

Union and the USA.

On successful completion of this module students should have an understanding of:

• the basic features of the public policy process in ‘developed democracies’;

• the interplay between the different actors in the policy process;

• how policy-makers make policy decisions;

• how political factors relate to the policy process;

• how to critically read and evaluate social scientific arguments and evidence.