POLS206-21S1 (C) Semester One 2021

Introduction to Public Policy

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 22 February 2021
End Date: Sunday, 27 June 2021
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 7 March 2021
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Friday, 14 May 2021


This course introduces concepts of and approaches to public policy analysis and evaluation. Focusing on policy areas such as health, genetic engineering, human reproduction, the environment, and new technology, the course examines the interaction of expertise, society, and public policy and clarifies the intricacies of the policy process in light of technological and social change.

We are often overwhelmed by information from the media, internet and social media on a range of public policies from environmental regulations, to health policies, to educational reform and to gun control. Public policy matters to us and affects every aspect of our daily lives. The study of public policy seeks to understand the processes and decisions that are shaped by the political system and how these decisions impact on our lives. To understand public policy, we need to give attention to the analysis of government institutions and behaviour, the role of political parties, interest groups and many other actors. This course introduces students to concepts and approaches to public policy analysis and evaluation in the light of technological and social change. It will combine both lectures and readings and will use comparative case studies to analyse contemporary policies and issues from a variety of perspectives.

Learning Outcomes

  • Learning Outcomes
    Upon successful completion of the course, students will
  • understand core concepts and major approaches of public policy analysis and decision-making;
  • understand the relationships between actors, institutions, and public policy processes;
  • be able to conduct policy research and issue analysis and write an effective policy paper;
  • be able to apply policy tools and concepts to real-world controversies;
  • understand public policy analysis as both an applied/professional field and as an academic discipline;
  • be able to identify tensions between science, expertise, policy-making and democracy in specific cases;
  • be able to articulate the values and interests that underpin their own policy views;
  • recognize alternative cultural viewpoints and how these might interact with the policy process in Western democracies;
  • understand how globalization challenges public policy and decision-making processes.


Any 15 points at 100 level from HLTH, HSRV, or
POLS, or
any 60 points at 100 level from the Schedule V of the BA, or
the Schedule V of the BCom.

Course Coordinator

Naimah Talib


Assessment Due Date Percentage  Description
Final exam 40%
Mid-term test 29 Mar 2021 25%
Policy paper 28 May 2021 35% 2,000 words

Textbooks / Resources

Required readings will be made available on Learn or through the library

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $785.00

International fee $3,500.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

For further information see Language, Social and Political Sciences .

All POLS206 Occurrences

  • POLS206-21S1 (D) Semester One 2021 (Distance) - Not Offered
  • POLS206-21S1 (C) Semester One 2021