Online Academic Summer School

Project Programme and Policy Evaluation (Online) (2020 entry)

Key information

2 weeks
Start of programme
20 July - 31 July 2020
Attendance mode

Course overview


Evaluations play an increasingly important role in the policy process. Stakeholders, including the public in general, hold expectations that governments demonstrate the results and effects of public interventions and their capacity to deliver value-for-money services. Nowadays, evaluations are often made for projects and programmes funded by super-national organisations, international organizations and donor institutions. Evaluations are also increasingly required by governments and audit institutions in many countries.

Developing the knowledge and skills to design, execute and appraise evaluations is fundamental for everyone who works in or with the government nowadays. Managers who are responsible for a project or a programme, elected civil servants who are held accountable for public policies, and auditors who review and appraise the efficiency and effectiveness of public spending are expected to understand or carry out evaluations on their own.

This course will provide the theoretical and methodological foundations for conducting evaluations. Students will learn how to evaluate projects, programmes and policies from the very design until the reporting and dissemination stages. The course will make use of several cases and examples of evaluations from various countries and regions of the world.

For more information, please see the course handbook: Project, Programme and Policy Evaluation online handbook (pdf; 96kb)

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the course, a student should be able to demonstrate the ability to:

  • Understand what evaluation is and its role in the policy process
  • Explain how evaluations are designed, executed and appraised
  • Design evaluations and select appropriate methods to implement them
  • Carry out data collection and analysis for doing evaluations
  • Report and disseminate evaluations to stakeholders


This course is worth 15 credits in the UK system. 15 credits is equivalent to 4 credits in the US system and 7.5 ECTS in the European system. If you intend to transfer credit to your home institution, please check the requirements with them before you apply. We will be happy to assist you in any way we can, however please be aware that the decision to transfer credit rests with your home institution.

Current SOAS students selecting this course as an open option module will not be charged the tuition-fee. For further information and assistance, please contact


For more information, please fill out our enquiries form .


Programme Schedule

Week 1: Aims, functions and design of evaluations

  • History, types and uses of evaluations
  • Evaluation framework, programme theory and theory of change
  • The design of an evaluation project
  • Qualitative methods, quantitative methods and mixed methods

Week 2: Conducting and using evaluations

  • Data collection and analysis
  • Evaluations in the policy process
  • Reporting and disseminating evaluations
  • Being an evaluator

Indicative Reading Materials:

  • Athey S, and G W Imbens (2017) ‘The state of applied econometrics: Causality and policy evaluation’, Journal of Economic Perspectives, 31(2), 3-32.
  • Bamberger M, J Rugh and L Mabry (2012) RealWorld Evaluation: Working Under Budget, Time, Data, and Political Constraints, Second edition, London: Sage
  • Clifton J and D Diaz-Fuentes (2010) ‘Evaluating EU policies on public services: A citizens’ perspective’, Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, 81(2) 281–311
  • Flynn, N. and Asquer, A. (2017), Public Sector Management, 7th edition. London: SAGE
  • Hogwood B W and L A Gunn (1984) Policy analysis for the real world, Oxford UK: Oxford University Press
  • Nigel L and L Harrington (2012) ‘The challenges to effective outcome evaluation of a national, multi-agency initiative: the experience of Sure Start’, Evaluation, 18:93.
  • Osman F A (2008) ‘Health policy, programmes and system in Bangladesh: achievements and challenges’, South Asian Survey, 15(2) 263–88
  • van Oudenhoven N and R Wazir (2003) ‘Replicating social programmes: approaches, strategies and conceptual issues’ UNESCO Management of Social Transformations programme (MOST) Discussion paper 18:
  • Palfrey C, P Thomas and C Phillips (2012) Evaluation for the real world, Bristol UK: The Policy Press.
  • Roche C and L Kelly (2012) ‘The evaluation of politics and the politics of evaluation’, Birmingham University UK: Developmental Leadership Programme Background Paper No 11:
  • Staffan B, E Vedung and CG Larsson (2013) ‘A Triangulation approach to impact evaluation‘, Evaluation 19: 56.

Important notice

The information on the programme page reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session. If you are a current student you can find structure information on the previous year link at the top of the page or through your Department. Please read the important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules .

Teaching and learning


The programme is delivered online through a Virtual Learning Environment (intranet page) that sets out the readings for each week, the guiding questions for discussion and hosts the discussion boards. This page provides a platform to share other material such as videos, internet links, quizzes and feedback on assignments. Students also have access to a vast amount of academic and policy-related material through the SOAS library.


Time Commitment

Courses are taught intensively over two weeks between Monday - Friday.  Students should expect to spend between 4-6 hours per day completing course related activities including video lectures, live tutorials, readings, forum discussion and assignments.  Students studying for credit will submit a 2000-2500 word written assignment one week after the course finishes.



Each course is assessed by two online assessments (‘e-tivities’*) comprising of 30%, the remaining 70% is formed of a 2,500 word essay.  The e-tivities provide formative and summative feedback to students as a means of monitoring their progress and encouraging areas in which they can improve. E-tivities will vary in format but will include article reviews, quizzes, blog posts, essay plans and more. On successful completion of the assessments, students will receive a transcript confirming the credit awarded. Students that do not require credit are strongly encouraged to take part in the e-tivities, but are not required to complete the assessments.

* An 'e-tivity' is a framework for online, active and interactive learning following a format that states clearly to the students its 'Purpose'; the 'Task' at hand; the contribution or 'Response' type; and the 'Outcome' (Salmon, G. (2002) E-tivities: The Key to Active Online Learning, New York and London: Routledge Falmer.)


Students will require regular access to a computer with a good internet connection, and the following applications installed:

  • A word processor that accepts Microsoft Word formats (.doc and .docx)
  • A PDF reader

Navigating Time Zones

Courses have been designed with varying time zones in mind.  All lectures will be recorded for access at any time and the discussion forum is open to posts from students at all times.  The limited 'live' sessions will be scheduled between 13:00 - 15:00 BST and will be recorded for any students unable to attend.


Students that successfully complete all course assessments will be awarded 15 SOAS credits.  This is normally equivalent to 7.5 ECTS or 4 US credits.  If you intend to transfer credit to your home institution, please check the requirements with them before you apply.



Fees and funding


Application fee

A one-off, non-refundable application fee of £40 will be charged to cover administration costs. Please visit the SOAS online store to make your application fee payment.


10% discount if you apply for two courses over 4 weeks

15% discount for SOAS alumni (including Academic Summer School alumni)

20% discount for our partner institutions

Other discounts are available for groups. Please contact us for more information.


Academic Summer School Ambassador Scholarship 2022

Applications for our 2022 Ambassador Scholarship are now open.

The Ambassador Scholarship programme 2022 offers 3 full tuition fee waiver scholarships for highly morivated and academically driven students. Take a look at our Ambassador Scholarship page for more information on how to apply.

Application Deadline: 2022-04-30 00:00