Course Description

This mandatory 2 credit course examines the policy process in different political and geographical contexts. The course considers how policy problems are identified and framed, and how responses are formed and evaluated. Through interactive seminars based on core literature, policy material and case study work, students learn and apply key concepts in policy studies, deepen their knowledge of the policy cycle from initiation implementation and evaluation, and examine the actors, interests and institutions (domestic and external) that shape policy processes and outcomes. Different traditions in policy analysis and normative aspects of the policy process are critically examined, as well as the impact different contexts (geographical and political) have on policy-making.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

·         identify policy problems and critically engage with them with various analytical tools and methods.

·         understand key concepts in policy studies and apply them to/in specific problems/contexts

·         understand, articulate and critically discuss how policy issues are problematized and policy responses are designed, implemented, monitored and evaluated in different political and geographical contexts 

·         engage with normative aspects of policy design, including strategies to mainstream rights, evidence-based and gender and conflict sensitive approaches 

·         identify key actors and institutions and entry points for advocacy and engagement in the policy process in divergent policy contexts, 

·         write about public policy for different audiences.

Course Requirements and Assignments

Seminar participation:                                                                 10%. 

Participation in class discussions and group work will be assessed on the basis of attendance, demonstration of engagement with the assigned readings, quality of contributions showing analytical insight.

Presentation/interactive student input:                               30%

Small teams of students (two or three depending on class size) will provide structured input at the beginning of each seminar, which can take the form of presentations (interactive formats are encouraged) or other formats the students find conducive for providing an illustration of the topic at hand and generating discussion. Presentations should be no longer than 15 minutes (in the case of more interactive formats additional time may be negotiated with the instructor in advance). They are guided by the questions provided in the syllabus. Presentations critically assess indicated readings (required and recommended) and provide a clear added value consisting of an empirical example/case to the audience, which goes beyond the arguments/facts provided in the specified literature. Presentations are evaluated upon clarity and quality, time keeping, and upon the presenters’ ability to master the topic.

Draft presentations or presentation outlines need to be sent to both the instructor and the TA at least 3 days before the session in which they take place so that feedback can be provided. Consultation with the TA is strongly encouraged.

Final Paper (policy brief):                                                            60%

The final paper is due at the end of the term (date TBA) and takes the form of a policy brief. The length of the policy brief should not exceed 3.000 words, all inclusive. Policy briefs are written to advise a governmental or nongovernmental body on a topic of the students’ choice. Papers define a clear policy problem, are characterized both by empirical and analytical rigor, and provide persuasive policy recommendations on the chosen topic. The paper is evaluated on the basis of its substance, insight, clarity, its link to policy practice, the quality of writing and overall presentation. The paper should be single-spaced, appropriately referenced, and include the word count on the title page.

All written contributions must be original, i.e. produced exclusively by the student who submits the work. Any text reproduction which is not clearly identified and attributed to the original source will be considered as plagiarism, with the consequences described in the Student Handbook, CEU’s Code of Ethics and other relevant University policies and regulations.

Please note that late papers will be marked down as per the penalty described in the Student Handbook and that failing any one of the grade components results in failing the whole course.



None. The following texts are recommended as general introduction to policy studies:


·         Bacchi, Carol. 2009. Analysing policy: what's the problem represented to be? Frenchs Forest, N.S.W. : Pearson.

·         Bardach, Eugene and Eric Patashnik. A Practical Guide for Policy Analysis. The Eightfold Path to More Effective Problem Solving. Los Angeles : CQ Press, 2016.

·         Cairney, Paul. 2011. Understanding public policy: theories and issues. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire; New York : Palgrave Macmillan.

·         Fischer, Frank, Gerald J Miller and Mara S Sidney, 2007. Handbook of Public Policy Analysis: Theory, Politics and Methods, CRC Press.

·         Hill, Michael. 2012. The Public Policy Process. New York : Pearson, 2012.

·         John, Peter. 2011. Making Policy Work. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.

·         Knill, Christoph and Jale Tosun. 2012. Public Policy. A New Introduction. Palgrave Macmillan Majchrzak, Ann M. Lynne Markus. 2014. Methods for policy research: taking socially responsible action. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: SAGE Publications, Inc,

·         Parsons, Wayne. 2005. Public Policy. An Introduction to the Theory and Practice of Policy Analysis. Edward Elgar.

·         Peters, B. Guy. 2015. Advanced introduction to public policy. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

·         Weimer, David L and Aidan R. Vining. 2011. Policy Analysis. Boston: Longman.

·         Christopher Pollitt. 2016. Advanced Introduction to Public Management and Administration. Edward Elgar