SOAS University of London

School of Finance and Management

Public Policy: Perspectives, Issues and Strategies

Module Code:
FHEQ Level:
Taught in:
Term 1

The public sector plays a central role in any country. In developed countries, the government and other public sector entities account for a large share of the economy, sometimes up to about half of it. In developing countries, the public sector is called to play a greater and greater role in order to provide essential pubic services - from healthcare to education, from infrastructure development to welfare - that seem crucial for a sustainable and equitable growth. The organisation of the public sector and the processes through which the government makes policy decisions are extremely important in order to ensure that the society and the economy benefit from the unique resources and tools that public authories have at their disposal.

This module provides an understanding of perspectives, issues and strategies in the making and implementation of public policies. The module will tackle issues such as, for example: How are public policies made across different country contexts? Why are particular policy tools or instruments chosen to deal with contemporary policy issues like climate change, migration, and development? How are public policies converted into actual systems and practices for the delivery of public services and interventions? Students will learn about these and other issues through a combination of lectures, case studies and class activities.   

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

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

  • Understand the policy process in its structure, component parts, and dynamics
  • Critically appraise policy issues
  • Formulate policy choices and strategies
  • Explain the differences between different models of public service delivery and interventions



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.

Scope and syllabus

  1. The role of the state in the economy and the society
  2. Policy-making and implementation
  3. Policy tools or instruments
  4. Policy analysis and evaluation
  5. Strategic planning in the public sector
  6. Bureaucracy and post-bureaucracy
  7. The delivery of public services
  8. New Public Management and post-NPM
  9. Policy learning and policy transfer

Method of assessment

  • A Portfolio of 2,500 words at 40%
  • One essay of 2,500 words at 40%
  • One 30 minute presentation at 20%

All elements except the presentation may be resubmitted.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules