Policy Analysis

Academic Year: 
US Credits: 
Course Description: 

Mandatory for all Year 1 MPA, Mundus MAPP and One-year MAPP  students

This mandatory 2 credit course examines the policy process in different political and geographical contexts. The course considers how policy problems are identified and framed, and how responses are formed and evaluated. Through interactive seminars based on core literature, policy material and case study work, students learn and apply key concepts in policy studies, deepen their knowledge of the policy cycle from initiation implementation and evaluation, and examine the actors, interests and institutions (domestic and external) that shape policy processes and outcomes. 

Learning Outcomes: 

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • identify policy problems and critically engage with them with various analytical tools and methods.
  • understand key concepts in policy studies and apply them to/in specific problems/contexts
  • understand, articulate and critically discuss how policy issues are problematized and policy responses are designed, implemented, monitored and evaluated in different contexts
  • and identify key actors and institutions structuring the policy process

    Course Requirements

    • Regular participation in class discussions and group work (10 %)
    • Presentation/interactive student input, in teams (30 %)
    • Final paper/Policy Brief (60 %)

    Seminar participation: 10% Participation in class discussions and group work will be assessed on the basis of attendance, demonstration of engagement with the assigned readings, quality of contributions showing analytical insight.

    Presentation/interactive student input: 30%

    Small teams of students (two or three depending on class size) will provide structured input at the beginning of each seminar, which can take the form of a presentation and a discussant responding where student numbers allow (interactive formats are encouraged) or other formats the students find conducive for providing an illustration of the topic at hand and generating discussion. Presentations should be no longer than 15 minutes (in the case of more interactive formats additional time may be negotiated with the instructor in advance). They are guided by the questions provided in the syllabus. Presentations critically assess indicated readings (required and recommended) and provide clear added value, for instance by using an empirical example/case illuminating arguments in the core literature. Presentations are evaluated upon clarity and quality, time keeping, and upon the presenters’ ability to master the topic (an evaluation checklist is uploaded to the course e-learning site).

    Draft presentations or presentation outlines need to be sent to both the instructors and the TA at least 3 days before the session in which they take place so that feedback can be provided. Consultation with the TA is strongly encouraged.

    Final Paper: 60% The final paper is due at the end of the term (date TBA). The length of the paper should not exceed 3.000 words, excluding the bibliography (+/- 10% is acceptable). The assignment takes the form of a regular academic paper (discussing, e.g., one of the questions posed for the sessions through the literature) or a policy brief.

    Policy briefs are written to advise a governmental or nongovernmental body on a topic of the students’ choice. Papers define a clear policy problem, are characterized both by empirical and analytical rigor, and provide persuasive policy recommendations on the chosen topic.

    An abstract of the proposed final paper should be sent to the instructors and TA 3 weeks before the end of the course, with the proposed research question (academic papers) and with the following three components (policy brief) (bullet-point style is encouraged): i) To whom the policy brief is addressed? Ii) What is the policy problem at hand? and iii) Which of the theoretical models covered in the course does it apply? The criteria for assessment is uploaded to the course e-learning page in the form of a sample feedback and assessment form.

    The paper should be single-spaced, appropriately referenced, and include the word count on the title page. All written contributions must be original, i.e. produced exclusively by the student who submits the work. Any text reproduction which is not clearly identified and attributed to the original source will be considered as plagiarism, with the consequences described in the Student Handbook, CEU’s Code of Ethics and other relevant University policies and regulations.

    Please note that late papers will be marked down as per the penalty described in the Student Handbook and that failing any one of the grade components results in failing the whole course. 



    None. Students new to policy studies may wish to consult any of the standard textbooks on the subject in the library.