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Public Policy Making (POLS20008)

Undergraduate level 2Points: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelUndergraduate Level 2
Subject codePOLS20008
Semester 2
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

This subject focuses on one of the tangible outcomes of the political process, with public policy often at the centre of contests for and over political power. Public policy has traditionally been designed and implemented by governments but increasingly market actors, non-government organisations, policy communities and networks are key actors, while many policy problems are global issues and beyond the purview of a single national government. Within governments, political advisors, lobbyists and interest groups are arguably usurping the influence of public servants, while politicians are answerable through the media and to the party and cabinet rooms, and less so to the parliament. Finally, the ‘public’ is not a homogenous group and certain forms of action privilege some groups over others. Using cases of both innovative and failed policies, this subject considers how problems are effectively framed and how ideas and evidence can be practically applied to policy solutions. The aim of this subject is to provide a professional grounding for future policy officers and analysts, political advisors and government relations practitioners as well as preparing students for undertaking internships.

Intended learning outcomes

On completion of this subject students should:

  • be able to explain, deconstruct and evaluate policy debates in terms of political interests, forms of evidence and media agendas;
  • be able to structure policy problems to resonate with different publics and politicians;
  • be able to assess and critique the power and influence of a range of political actors and institutional structures and how they can impede or facilitate effective policy making;
  • be able to identify, examine and appraise competing theories and models of policy making;
  • be able to design innovative policies and identify implementation challenges.

Eligibility and requirements





Non-allowed subjects


Recommended background knowledge

Politics and International Studies at Level 1

Core participation requirements

The University of Melbourne is committed to providing students with reasonable adjustments to assessment and participation under the Disability Standards for Education (2005), and the Assessment and Results Policy (MPF1326). Students are expected to meet the core participation requirements for their course. These can be viewed under Entry and Participation Requirements for the course outlines in the Handbook.

Further details on how to seek academic adjustments can be found on the Student Equity and Disability Support website: http://services.unimelb.edu.au/student-equity/home


Additional details

  • A policy brief of 1,500 words (40%) due mid-semester.
  • A policy research paper of 2,500 words (60%) due in 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 marks per working day. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked.

Dates & times

  • Semester 2
    CoordinatorEllie Martus
    Mode of deliveryOn Campus — Parkville
    Contact hours20 contact hours per semester. A 1 hour seminar on campus, a 1 hour online lecture, and a 1 hour tutorial per week for 10 weeks. The seminar and tutorial programs are staggered and cover the 12 weeks of semester.
    Total time commitment170 hours
    Teaching period29 July 2019 to 27 October 2019
    Last self-enrol date 9 August 2019
    Census date31 August 2019
    Last date to withdraw without fail27 September 2019
    Assessment period ends22 November 2019

    Semester 2 contact information

Time commitment details

Total of 170 hours

Additional delivery details

Ten one-hour online lectures

Further information

  • Texts

    Prescribed texts

    Readings will be provided online through the subject's LMS site prior to the commencement of semester.

  • Subject notes

    Available as a Breadth subject to non-Bachelor of Arts students.

  • Breadth options
  • Available through the Community Access Program

    About the Community Access Program (CAP)

    This subject is available through the Community Access Program (also called Single Subject Studies) which allows you to enrol in single subjects offered by the University of Melbourne, without the commitment required to complete a whole degree.

    Entry requirements including prerequisites may apply. Please refer to the CAP applications page for further information.

  • Available to Study Abroad and/or Study Exchange Students

    This subject is available to students studying at the University from eligible overseas institutions on exchange and study abroad. Students are required to satisfy any listed requirements, such as pre- and co-requisites, for enrolment in the subject.

Last updated: 14 October 2019