Policy Design: From Theory to Practice

Subject POLS30035 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2016.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 30 contact hours per semester. 2 x one hour lectures and 1 x one hour tutorial per week for 10 weeks. The lecture and tutorial programs are staggered and cover the 12 weeks of semester.
Total Time Commitment:

170 hours.

Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge:

Students are expected to be enrolled in the Politics and International Studies major or minor. It is recommended students have completed POLS20008 Public Policy Making.

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 Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support: http://services.unimelb.edu.au/disability


Professor Jenny Lewis

Email: jmlewis@unimelb.edu.au

Subject Overview:

This subject is designed to develop students’ knowledge of the theory and practice of making public policy. It provides a survey of the principal theories of the policy process, some of which emphasise a formal rational process and others of which emphasise the role of institutional process and discourse. By focusing on a range of international comparative experiences, the subject examines different governance systems and institutional changes. It includes a study of both conventional and emerging forms of public and community consultation and communication, including opinion polling, social media and crowd-sourcing.

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this subject students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate a sophisticated and critical and comparative understanding of key theories about the policy design process; and
  • Demonstrate conceptual sophistication in the analysis of the practical politics of the policy process; and
  • Develop an advanced knowledge of different practices of public consultation and communication strategies; and
  • Demonstrate advanced critical skills in the presentation of policy options, evidence and communication; and
  • Demonstrate the ability to critically evaluate different sources of evidence in the development of arguments; and
  • Work productively and collaboratively in groups with other students.

  • Critical evaluative paper of 1,000 words, 25% (week 4)
  • Group project on consultation and communication strategies,1000 words, 25% (delivered during weeks 2 - 10)
  • Research essay of 2000 words, 50% (due during the examination period)

Hurdle requirement: Students must attend a minimum of 75% of tutorials in order to pass this subject. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject. Regular participation in tutorials is required.

Note: 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.

Prescribed Texts:

M Considine, Making Public Policy: Institutions, Actors, Strategies. Polity, Cambridge 2005.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

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

On successful completion of this subject, students will be able to:

  • apply theory to analyse current events; and
  • write analytic documents for policy consumers in limited time frames; and
  • evaluate claims by competing theories and analytic frameworks for greatest explanatory power.

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