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Theories of the Policy Process - POL00012M

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  • Department: Politics
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Bernardo Rangoni
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2022-23

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2022-23

Module aims

This module explores how and why public policies emerge. It introduces a wide range of theoretical models that helps us to make sense of the policy process . It specifically focuses on exploring how policy agendas are set and how policies are shaped through policy formulation and decision-making processes. It also includes the study of different modes of policy implementation and policy evaluation, as well as discussing policy transfer between sectors and countries. Different models and theories of the policy cycle are linked to ‘real world’ policy examples in order to foster a critical understanding of how and why policies emerge and what makes policies "succeed" or "fail".

  • Learning Objectives:
  • - To explore the concept of 'policy' and 'policy analysis'.
  • - To consider how policy problems and agendas are framed.
  • - To consider the actions and processes that shape decision-making.
  • - To explore how policies are implemented and evaluated, and how they may be transferred between different settings

Module learning outcomes

  • To identify the types of actors and influences that shape public policies;
  • To identify factors that are relevant to understanding policy 'success' or 'failure';
  • To critically evaluate how policies emerge on the agenda, how decisions about policies are made, and how policies are implemented and evaluated;
  • To critically assess the models and frameworks developed to assist in the analysis of the policy process.


Task Length % of module mark
Policy Analysis - Essay
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Policy Analysis - Essay
N/A 100

Module feedback

Students will receive timely written feedback on their formative assessment. They will also have the opportunity to discuss their feedback during the module tutor's feedback and guidance hours.

Students will receive written feedback on their summative assessment no later than six weeks after submission; and the module tutor will hold a specific session to discuss feedback, which students can also opt to attend. They will also have the opportunity to discuss their feedback during the module tutor's regular feedback and guidance hours.

Indicative reading

Baumgartner, J. and Jones, B. (2009). Agendas and Instability in American Politics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Cairney, P. (2012). Understanding Public Policy : Theories and Issues. Basingstoke : Palgrave Macmillan.

John, P. (2012). Analyzing Public Policy. Abingdon, Oxon : Routledge.

Kingdon, J.W. (2011). Agendas, alternatives and public policies. Boston, London: Longman.

Moran, M., Rein, M. and Goodin, R. (2006). The Oxford Handbook of Public Policy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.