SOAS University of London

Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy

Global Public Policy

Module Code:
FHEQ Level:
Taught in:
Term 1

The Global Public Policy module 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 module 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. 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 module adopts an approach which treats policy as the outcome of politics, and analysis of the former as inseparable from the latter.

The module is compulsory for MSc Global Energy and Climate Policy students, but is open to all other SOAS students with permission from the module convenor.

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
• Excellent ability to engage with the intersectional impacts of policy processes and decisions, in particular with regards to race, class, and gender.


The module will be taught over 10 weeks with one 2 hour 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).
  • Kingdon, John W. 2013. Agendas, Alternatives, and Public Policies, 2nd edition. (Pearson).
  • Sabatier, Paul. 2014. (ed) Theories of the Policy Process. 3rd edition. (Westview Press).
  • Fisher, Frank and Herbert Gottweis. 2012. The Argumentative Turn Revisited: Public Policy as Communicative Practice (Duke University Press).
  • Wagenaar, Hendrik. 2011. Meaning in Action: Interpretation and Dialogue in Policy Analysis (M E Sharpe).
  • Stone, Deborah. 2012. Policy Paradox and Political Reason 3rd edition (Scott, Foresman & Co).


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules