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Course Description

The course introduces students to public policy, including the differences between applied and explanatory policy analyses, within the larger context of politics and government. Case studies of different policy areas are used to illustrate the challenges of developing, implementing, and explaining policy in various (and often interrelated) contexts from the local to the global.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Describe how public policy studies fits within the field of political science;
  2. Describe how public policy fits within the broader system of government (legislative, executive, judicial branches) and politics (ideology, public opinion, parties and elections, interest group mobilization, etc.);
  3. Select and apply theoretical approaches to policy problems and selected case studies using critical analysis;
  4. Locate and analyze policy information from source documents and secondary literature;
  5. Identify different challenges that policy issues pose to different actors (local, provincial, national, international); and
  6. Distinguish between a more applied policy brief and a more theoretical policy analysis and identify the main arguments for each type of analysis.

Course Topics

  • Introduction to Public Policy
  • Public Policy Context
  • Public Policy Theories
  • Public Policy Agenda
  • Decision-Making Process
  • Implementation Process
  • Public Policy Evaluation
  • Indigenous Policy
  • Environmental Policy
  • Social Policy
  • Drug Policy

Additional Requirements

Pre-requisite(s): 2.00 credits


Assessment Item Weight Learning Outcomes
Discussions 25% 1, 2, and 3
3 Quizzes  30% 1, 2, and 3
Policy Critique OR Memorandum to Cabinet 20% 4, 5, and 6
Final Exam 25% 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6
Total 100% 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6



Additional Technical Requirements

This course will use the following:

  • Respondus tool to invigilate one or more exams. 

Please view the Technical Considerations.

Applies Towards the Following Certificates

Technical Requirements

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*Course details are subject to change.


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