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Course Description

This course covers the dominant theories that explain the origins and character of public policy in Canada, and other countries. The focus will be on both governmental and nongovernmental actors.

Note: This course can be taken individually or as a part of a certificate program.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, the learner should be able to:

  • Deconstruct a policy case decision by differentiating between different theories used in public policy, the contexts where they may apply, the ways in which they are used in whole or part and the categories by which they can be organized, at a beginning policy level of analysis
  • Demonstrate a synthesis of theory with appropriate application to the context at a beginning level of expertise
  • Evaluate an existing public policy decision for its success in light of specific tools of policy evaluation and criteria (efficiency, effectiveness, cost, advancement of the public good) at a beginning level of expertise
  • Evaluate different types of public policy cases in regards to the significance of the particular context in light of the specific trajectories, continuities and divergences at a beginning level of expertise
  • Develop a policy brief for a given public policy issue according to specific criteria (identification of the problem, options, pros and cons, political implications) by the end of the course
  • Debate a public policy issue by constructing reasoned and persuasive arguments to support a particular point of view by the end of the course

Course Topics

  • What do we mean by Public Policy: Definitions and Concepts
  • Modern Governance and Redefining Policy Analysis
  • Problem Definition in Policy Analysis
  • Policy Instruments and Policy Design
  • Policy Implementation
  • Actors in the Policy Process: Policy Communities and Networks
  • Policy Evaluation
  • Policy Making under Pressure
  • Policy Communication
  • Accountability and Responsibility in Policy Making

Additional Requirements

Prerequisite(s): POLS*2230 or POLS*2250



Weight %

Unit Exercises (3)


Discussion Reflection Reports (2)


Midterm Exam


Policy Brief


Applies Towards the Following Certificates

Technical Requirements

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*Course details are subject to change.


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