SOAS University of London

Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy

Risk and Policy Analysis

Module Code:
FHEQ Level:
Taught in:
Term 2

The Risk and Policy Analysis module teaches students core knowledge and skills required by public, private and non-profit sector policy professionals, including: analysing, assessing and managing risks, understanding cost-benefit analysis, analysing stakeholders, scenario mapping, writing policy analysis, assessing policy impacts, and strategically communicating (policy) positions.
Cases analysed are drawn from a wide range of policy fields ranging from digital technology, finance, climate change, health and biosecurity. The skills profile taught is transferable across sectors in both policy and corporate settings. The teaching is conducted through lectures and tutorials. External practitioners from government, NGO, think tank, risk advisory and business backgrounds will provide additional learning though case studies throughout the module.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

  • Excellent risk and policy analysis skills; formulate policy goals and
    objectives; identify risks, scenarios and policy options; propose deliverables
    and effective implementation strategies.
  • Excellent ability to conduct policy-relevant research; understand and utilize complex data sets; analyse, assess and manage risks.
  • Demonstrate an advanced critical understanding of cost-benefit analysis in theory and practice.


The module will be taught over 10 weeks with one 2 hour seminar per week.

Method of assessment

  • Assignment one (1500 words); 30%
  • Assignment two (3500 words); 70%

Suggested reading

Aven, T. 2014. Risk, Surprises and Black Swans: Fundamental Ideas and Concepts in Risk Assessment and Risk Management. Routledge.
Beck, U. 2009. World at Risk. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Fischer, F. and Miller, G.J. eds. 2007. Handbook of Public Policy Analysis: Theory, Politics, and Methods. Routledge
Manski, C.F., 2013. Public Policy in an Uncertain World: Analysis and Decisions. Harvard University Press
Renn, O. 2008. Risk Governance: Coping with Uncertainty in a Complex World. London: Earthscan.
Taleb, N.N. 2007. The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable (Vol. 2). Random house.
Zinn, J. 2020. Understanding Risk-Taking. Springer International Publishing.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules