International Policymaking in Practice

Subject POLS90034 (2015)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2015.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2015:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 02-Mar-2015 to 31-May-2015
Assessment Period End 26-Jun-2015
Last date to Self-Enrol 13-Mar-2015
Census Date 31-Mar-2015
Last date to Withdraw without fail 08-May-2015

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A 1-hour lecture and a 1-hour seminar per week for 12 weeks.
Total Time Commitment:

170 hours

Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge:

Politics and International Studies at Undergraduate Level

Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Ms Estelle Parker


Ms. Estelle Parker

Subject Overview:

How is foreign policy made? What factors determine which issues and problems get priority government attention? What determines success or failure in areas such as external interventions, conflict prevention and resolution, multilateral organisation building, bilateral initiatives and treaty negotiations? Who are the key actors involved in foreign and trade policymaking? What factors and information sources do they consider? How do new ideas, and new approaches to problem solving, gain traction with international policymakers? What strategies are most useful in building support in the multilateral organisations? How much influence do non-governmental organisations and other civil society actors have in international policymaking? What are the frames of reference that national and international policymakers bring to bear, the obstacles they confront, and the strategies and techniques of diplomatic persuasion they are most likely to find effective in moving issues forward? This subject is based around a series of case studies taught by the Subject Coordinator as well as a number of senior guest lecturers from the sector. In previous years, guest lecturers have included a former Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs who has chaired international panels and commissions, senior diplomats, officials and advisers in the sector and an Ambassador to Australia. The subject has a very practical focus, and all lecturers speak from their own extensive and diverse experience. The subject focuses on Australian foreign policy and national interest; however, it is not necessary for students to have extensive prior knowledge of Australian foregin policy or politics to successfully complete the subject.

Case studies will include:

the development of Asia-Pacific economic and security architecture; the G20 Australia’s bid for a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council; Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI): bilateral relationship development and management; Australia’s bilateral relationship with Fiji; the international response to genocide and other mass atrocity crimes; and trade policy. The subject examines the roles and opportunities of various actors in the sector, such as advisers and MPs, diplomats and departmental officials, and the intelligence community.

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this subject students should be able to:

  • Develop a closer understanding of the way in which real-world international policymakers think and act, and the elements that inform decision-making; 
  • Develop a specific understanding of the practical dynamics of foreign and trade policymaking, foreign and trade policy implementation and international norm-building;
  • Develop an understanding of the roles of different actors and agencies in Australian foreign policymaking; 
  • Develop the skills needed to become effective practitioners in foreign policymaking, both nationally and internationally

1. A 1,000 word paper in form of a ministerial or cabinet submission on an international policy issue, (25%) due mid- semester.

2. A 1,000 word paper in form of a 3 member team-prepared NGO submission to government on an international policy issue, (20%) due towards the end of semester.

3. A 3,000 word research paper, in form of a briefing to government for a UN conference on appropriate response to report and recommendations of a major high-level international commission, from an approved list, (55%) due during the examination period.

Hurdle Requirement: Students are required to attend a minimum of 75% of classes in order to qualify to have their written work assessed. Regular participation in class is required.

Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per working day. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.

Prescribed Texts:

Subject reading pack, available on the LMS, drawing inter alia on international policy texts, think tank analyses and reviews, international commission reports, government documents and practitioner speeches.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

On completion of this subject students should be able to:

  • apply research skills and critical methods in developing persuasive arguments on a given topic;
  • communicate oral and written arguments and ideas effectively and articulately;
  • write professionally in a variety of governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental policymaking contexts.
Related Course(s): Master of Public Administration
Master of Public Administration (Enhanced)
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: 100 Point Master of Criminology
100 Point Master of Development Studies
100 Point Master of International Relations
100 Point Master of Public Policy and Management
100 Point Master of Social Policy
150 Point Master of Criminology
150 Point Master of Development Studies
150 Point Master of Public Policy and Management
150 point program - full time over 18 months
200 Point Master of Criminology
200 Point Master of Development Studies
200 Point Master of International Relations
200 Point Master of Public Policy and Management
200 Point Master of Social Policy
200 point program - full time over 18 months
200 point program - full time over 24 months

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