POLS2201 Foundations of Public Policy

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 2UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 2 option in the Political Science and International Relations major sequence
  • The area of knowledge for this unit is Society and Culture
  • Category B broadening unit for students
  • Level 2 elective
This unit examines the way that public policy is made and implemented in modern societies like Australia. How do problems come to the attention of government? How are they addressed? Who influences policy making? What are their interests and strategies? How is policy made? How is it evaluated? These are some of the broad questions that are addressed in the unit. The unit adopts the framework of the policy cycle in order to make sense of the wealth of material published on public policy. It covers the critical stages of policy making, from problem definition and agenda setting to options analysis, decision making, implementation and evaluation. Theoretical explanations are combined with practical examples from Australia and overseas to convey how policy is actually developed.
Students are able to (1) communicate an understanding of public policy as a field of study within political science, specifically the major concepts and the general approaches it adopts to the study of government; (2) describe major examples of research and major debates in the field, and have a capacity to engage critically with these; (3) apply methods of analysis to which they are introduced in the unit to investigations of particular issues in the real world of public policy; (4) demonstrate the relevance of theory and method in understanding and investigating public policy; (5) communicate information, ideas and argument related to the field in a coherent and logical manner in both written and oral forms; (6) work effectively in a collaborative manner as a member of a tutorial group; and (7) undertake enquiry-based learning and research on topics related to the field.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) written assignments; (2) tutorial presentation and participation; and (3) a final examination. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit except in the case of a bachelor's pass degree student who has obtained a mark of 45 to 49 overall and is currently enrolled in this unit, and it is the only remaining unit that the student must pass in order to complete their course.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Jordan Tchilingirian
Unit rules
any Level 1 POLS unit
POLS3301 Public Policy
Contact hours
up to 3 hours per week

Birkland, T. An Introduction to the Policy Process: Theories, Concepts and Models of Public Policy Making, 4th edn: Routledge, 2015

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