Course Title: Policy Making

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Policy Making

Credit Points: 12

Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


365H Global, Urban and Social Studies


Sem 1 2007,
Sem 1 2008,
Sem 1 2009,
Sem 1 2010,
Sem 1 2011,
Sem 1 2012,
Sem 1 2013,
Sem 1 2014,
Sem 1 2015,
Sem 1 2016,
Sem 1 2017

Course Coordinator: Kate Driscoll

Course Coordinator Phone: +(61 3) 9925 8287

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Availability: By appointment

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities


Course Description

This course is about making sense of how public policy is made. Public policy is the collection of decisions and instruments used by governments to respond to the diverse and complex mix of social, environmental, economic and cultural problems, issues and circumstances which confront and challenge communities, regions and nations. There are a number of models which attempt to explain how policy making happens which typically adopt sausage factory production or cyclic modes of analysis, reducing policy making to a rational, objective process of steps and stages.

Deborah Stone, and others, suggest we use other forms of analysis to understand the paradox and ambiguity of policy making. This course takes Stone’s advice and so is designed develop your policy analysis capacity so that you can engage with the complexity and challenges of developing political responses to a diverse range of often enduring and difficult problems and issues.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

Upon successful completion of the course you will be able to:

  • critique and apply public policy processes, policy theory and policy practice
  • critically analyse the interplay between social, economic, political, global and cultural circumstances, and the policy responses developed by contemporary policy-makers
  • examine, debate, prepare and critique policy documents and policy research

In this course you will develop and be assessed on the following graduate capabilities:

  • Policy development and management
  • Critical analysis and conceptual development
  • Policy making
  • Ethics and values

Overview of Learning Activities

Lectures and tutes provide the key sequential learning space for the course. Moreover they are the primary point of connection and engagement with you.  Lectures and tutes open up key ideas and themes for thinking about policy making, providing an overview of relevant research and literature for each topic, an opportunity to discuss the course reading and enabling you to use the concepts to inform both your case study analysis and final paper. The tutes are designed to be interactive and draw upon the wealth of policy expertise within the student group. Tutes also provide a space for you and your team members to work on your case study presentation.  You are expected to attend all lectures and tutes.

Overview of Learning Resources

A course reading pack is provided. A range of books, newspapers and other media, journals and websites should be used throughout the course and in preparing assessment tasks. In addition RMIT will provide you with resources and tools for learning in this course through our online systems.

Overview of Assessment

You will be assessed on the above learning outcomes and capabilities. Assessment tasks may include but are not limited to a policy case study and a policy analysis paper. Feedback will be given on all assessment tasks.

  • If you have a long term medical condition and/or disability it may be possible to negotiate to vary aspects of the learning or assessment methods. You can contact the program coordinator or the Disability Liaison Unit if you would like to find out more.
  • A student charter summarises your responsibilities as an RMIT student as well as those of your teachers.
  • Your course assessment conforms to RMIT assessment principles, regulations, policies, procedures and instructions which are available for review online: