SOAS University of London

School of Finance and Management

Public Policy and Management: Perspectives and Issues

Module Code:
FHEQ Level:
Taught in:
Term 1

Perspectives and Issues is a core module within the Public Policy and Management MSc. We live in an era of frequent and sometimes radical change in what governments do and how they are organised to do it. Sometimes the changes are generated within countries as responses to social, political and economic developments and sometimes they originate outside the country. The purpose of this module is to provide an analytical framework for understanding public policy and management in a variety of historical and comparative contexts. It will enable you to formulate your own judgement about how to develop policy and to organise and deliver public services.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

On successful completion of this course a student will be able to:

  • Define key concepts such as the State, Government and Policy and how they might be interpreted differently in different situations.
  • Discuss the variety of approaches to public policy and management in different parts of the world and periods.
  • Analyse the elements of the social, economic, political and cultural contexts in which governments operate and the influence of these elements on approaches to management and policy.
  • Explain how ideal types of government arrangements have influenced government policy.
  • Advise on some of the major choices that governments have to make when making management arrangements.
  • Evaluate the applicability of ideas about policy and management developed in one jurisdiction to another.
  • Assess claims that the role and function of the state is everywhere in decline.


This module consists of a 1-hour weekly lecture over 10 weeks of term plus a revision lecture in term 3 as preparation for the final examination. Students will be supplied with a syllabus with a breakdown week by week of required and additional reading. Reading materials are usually accessed electronically from the BLE and students should come to class prepared.

This module also has a weekly 1-hour tutorial where the questions posed by the tutor relevant to the lecture are explored and discussed by the students. Students also prepare and deliver a short presentation.

Total Work load:
Students on this module will have 2 taught hours each week. Additionally, adequate personal study time should be allocated for reading and class preparation.

Method of assessment

Assessment for this module is in three elements:

  1. One tutorial presentation at 10%
  2. One essay of 2,500 words at 30%
  3. One unseen 2-hour written examination at 60%

All elements except the presentation may be resubmitted.

Suggested reading



Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules