PIM49-Politics of Public Policy

Module Provider: Graduate Institute for Politics and International Studies
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Dr David Marshall

Email: d.j.marshall@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module introduces students to the nature of the processes through which policy decisions are made and implemented. It considers how these vary across policy areas and policy-making venues.

The aims of the module are to:
•develop students’ understanding of the nature of policy-making, including the roles of actors, institutions, ideas, and interests in policy-making and the stages of the policy process;
•develop students’ critical engagement with policy-making processes, for example, through consideration of theories of power and the challenges created by democracy;
•give students a foundation in the practicalities of policy-making that will help their engagement with other parts of the programme.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module, it is expected that students will be able to:
•analyse how various actors, institutions, ideas, and interests can affect policy-making processes and how their roles may differ at different stages of the policy process;
•analyse how policy-making may differ across different policy areas and different policy-making venues;
•appraise and critically assess different understandings of policy-making processes through engagement with both theory and empirical evidence;
•locate, assemble, and analyse relevant information through their own research, using a variety of sources;
•organise material and articulate arguments effectively, both orally and in writing.

Additional outcomes:
Students will develop the ability to work productively both on their own and in small groups. They will be encouraged to use time effectively, both in seminars and in their own study.

Outline content:
This module introduces students to the politics of public policy: the processes through which policy decisions are made and implemented. It looks at theories of policy-making, stages in the policy process, and the actors, institutions, ideas, and interests involved in the policy process. It includes both domestic and international domains and highlights the particular character of policy-making in a democratic context.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

The module is taught through ten two-hour seminars: one per week over one term. Students are asked to read for all seminars and should expect to be asked to contribute to seminar discussions at any time. Students will also give  individual or group presentations in some seminars. For these presentations and for essays and reports, they are expected not only to read assigned texts, but also to go beyond these in identifying materials relevant to their own approach to the questions being addressed. 

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Seminars 20
Guided independent study 180
Total hours by term 200.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 40
Written assignment including essay 25
Report 25
Oral assessment and presentation 10

Summative assessment- Examinations:
2 hours

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:

Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information: http://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/exams/student/exa-guidePG.aspx

Assessment requirements for a pass:
50% overall module mark

Reassessment arrangements:
Reassessment is in the same form as the original assessment. Re-sit examinations take place in August/September of the same year, or in April/May of the following year.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

1) Required text books: Public Policy. A New Introduction. Knill &Tosun. £27 on Amazon

Understanding Public Policy: Theories and Issues. Paul Cairney. £31 on Amazon

2) Specialist equipment or materials: 

3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear: 

4) Printing and binding: 

5) Computers and devices with a particular specification: 

6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

Last updated: 20 April 2018


Things to do now