Studying online

There are now 3 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

Units available in Online Restricted mode have been adapted for online study only for those students who require the unit to complete their studies and who are unable to attend campus due to COVID border closures. To be enrolled in a unit in Online Restricted mode, students should contact their Student Advising Office through askUWA and include which of the below criteria applies:

  • You are a student who is currently offshore and unable to enter Australia.
  • You are a student in Australia who is impacted by state or regional border closures.

Click on an offering mode for more details.

POLS2201 Foundations of Public Policy

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1OnlineOnline timetabled
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 2 option in the Political Science and International Relations; Philosophy, Politics and Economics major sequences
  • Level 2 elective
Most of us experience the policy process post hoc. It is something done to us, by rich elites, shady politicians, and faceless bureaucrats. It often feels remote and obscure, even threatening. This unit aims to demystify public policy by examining the way that policy is made in contemporary societies. We start from the position that public policy is like any other human activity: it is the product of interests, conflicts, alliances, and inequalities between people. By the end of this unit you will be able understand and analyse these relationships at an advanced level.

The unit adopts the theory of fields in order to make sense of the wealth of materials, theories, and case studies published on public policy. We will explore policy making through key theories in the study of public policy and profiling the key ‘players' in the game of public policy, paying particular attention to their strategies and interests. The unit is will also offer a detailed case study on a particular struggle within policy making – the appropriate place of evidence in policy. In sum, this unit provides you with the analytical tools to conceptualise and critique the specific figurations that produce ‘policy'.
Students are able to (1) demonstrate advanced knowledge of public policy making; (2) critically explain the key actors and institutions involved in contemporary public policy; (3) demonstrate the ability to analyse how these actors produce, challenge and express policy preferences; (4) evaluate the extent to which theories of the policy process clarify or obscure our understanding of public policy; and (5) effectively communicate knowledge, ideas, analyses and arguments about public policy through oral and written formats.
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
12 points of Social Sciences and/or Humanities study at level 1
Advisable prior study:
Ideally students should have studied level 1 units of the Major
POLS3301 Public Policy
Contact hours
up to 3 hours per week
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.