SOAS University of London

Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy

Global Public Policy

Module Code:
Taught in:
Term 1

The Global Public Policy course teaches a core set of skills required of policy professionals in the public, corporate and not-for-profit sectors at international and national levels. Policy analysts identify policy problems, formulate, evaluate and recommend possible solutions. Policy analysts thus help make policy. The course covers key concepts and theories that enable critical analysis of a given policy space and the complex and fractious processes by which policy is formulated, adopted and implemented. In particular, students will learn to be cognisant of the impact of relations of power, including those between the global North and South, and to question the assumptions inherent to conventional approaches to policy analysis and management. As such, the course adopts an approach which treats policy as the outcome of politics, and analysis of the former as inseparable from the latter.

The course is compulsory for MA Globalisation and Multinational Corporations and MSc Global Energy and Climate Policy students, and will not be open to other CISD students. Lectures for this course take place at 6pm.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

  • Excellent foundational knowledge of public policy theory, including public choice and its criticisms, agenda setting and advocacy, policy change and stability, decision making, policy implementation, bureaucracies, and new public management
  • Excellent ability to critically evaluate a given public policy issue and the assumptions on which it rests, identify and design innovative and practical solutions to policy problems


The course will be taught over 10 weeks with one 90 minute lecture and one 1 hour tutorial per week.

Method of assessment

  • Assignment one (4000 words); 40%
  • Unseen written examination; 60%

Suggested reading

  • Howlett, Michael, M. Ramesh and Anthony Perl 2009. Studying Public Policy. 3rd edition (Oxford University Press).
  • Sabatier, Paul. 2006. (ed) Theories of the Policy Process (Westview Press)
  • Fischer, Frank, and John Forrester (eds.) 1993. The Argumentative Turn in Policy Analysis and Planning (Duke University Press).
  • Kingdon, John W. 1995. Agendas, Alternatives, and Public Policies, 2nd ed. (Addison-Wesley).


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules