Foundations in Politics and Policy

Subject PPMN90042 (2015)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2015.

Credit Points: 25
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

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 27-Jul-2015 to 25-Oct-2015
Assessment Period End 20-Nov-2015
Last date to Self-Enrol 07-Aug-2015
Census Date 31-Aug-2015
Last date to Withdraw without fail 25-Sep-2015

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 2 x 2-hour seminars per week
Total Time Commitment:

340 hours

Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects:
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:


Dr Damon Alexander


Dr Damon Alexander


Subject Overview:

This subject is designed to introduce students to key ideas from political science, providing a foundation for further study in governance, public policy and public management. This subject is highly recommended for those students accepted into the 200-point Master of Public Policy and Management who do not have a major area of study related to political science or policy and for those undertaking the Postgraduate Diploma in Arts.

Students will begin by exploring fundamental political concepts such as rights, liberalism and democracy and will consider how these concepts have and continue to shape the practice of politics and government in Australia and elsewhere. We will then focus in on the role and function of key political actors and institutions paying particular attention to how they influence and impact on public policy processes and outcomes. Upon completion of this subject, students will be familiar with the major theoretical concepts, institutions and actors in political science that are most relevant to policy and management.

Learning Outcomes:

On successful completion of this subject students should:

  • be able to understand, explain and engage with major political ideas;
  • have a solid understanding of the institutional structures and key actors in politics;
  • be able to understand and critically apply competing theories to political questions and problems;
  • be able to engage with contemporary political issues and debates;
  • be able to argue a considered position in oral and written presentations; and
  • have developed a solid background for further studies in governance, public policy and public management.

1. Seminar presentation (oral/1,000 words), students allocated to different weeks (10%)

2. Reflective Essay (written paper based on presentation/1,000 words), students allocated to different weeks (10%)

3. Minor Essay (2,000 words), due Week 7 (20%)

4. In-class written test (2,000 words), due during final week of semester (20%)

5. Major Essay (4,000 words), due during the examination period (40%)

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:

Required readings will be available from the subject’s LMS site prior to the commencement of the subject.

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 demonstrate:

  • competence in critical, creative and theoretical thinking through essay writing, seminar discussion and presentations, conceptualising theoretical problems, forming judgments and arguments from conflicting evidence, and by critical analysis;
  • proficiency in the application of policy analysis skills to empirical problems;
  • an understanding of the academic protocols of research and presentation.
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: 200 Point Master of Public Policy and Management
Public Policy and Management
Public Policy and Management
Public Policy and Management
Public Policy and Management

Download PDF version.