Course Title: Comparing Policy

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Comparing Policy

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


365H Global, Urban and Social Studies


Sem 1 2007,
Sem 1 2009,
Sem 1 2010,
Sem 1 2011,
Sem 1 2012

Course Coordinator: Dr James Rowe

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 2319

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 37.2.8

Course Coordinator Availability: By appointment

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

Successful completion of Year Two of BP110 or equivalent.

Course Description

This course is a third year core social science course that introduces you to the history, methods, assumptions and modes of analysis involved in comparative policy analysis. The course will focus on themes like:

  • What comparative analysis is;
  • Why it matters as a source of innovation, critique and the propounding of alternatives;
  • Examples of comparative policy analysis;
  • The importance of political factors;
  • Use of comparative methods to analyse a current policy problem which interests you.

This course will address at the elements needed to create a framework for comparative policy analysis before looking at a number of contemporary social, economic and environmental policy that present as issues of concern both domestically and in an increasingly globalised world. When we undertake comparative policy analysis, we need to take into account the factors that lead countries, even those grouped together as ‘developed’ nations, to such different policy responses. This is what we are interested in as students of policy and research. What does looking at the examples of certain policies in Australia – as compared to such countries as New Zealand, Canada, the US and so on – tell us about the how policy is made and why it assumes the shape it does in Australia?

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

The course will develop your skills in comparing policies and policy-making processes in Australia with other countries.

By the end of this course you will be able to: understand and apply to policy analysis insights drawn from your study of the society, politics, history, and economics of Australia compared with other nations. You will understand some of the key methodological issues in comparative policy analysis and be better able to identify and evaluate different forms of evidence as part of your research into, and arguments about, policy. 

In doing so, you will be expected to be able to demonstrate the ability to:

  • Critically compare and analyse policies and demonstrate how the intersection of numerous factors engender contrasting policy responses to similar issues;
  • Lead workshops and engage fellow students in discussion and activity that demonstrates an awareness of comparative policy analysis;
  • Collect, collate, analyse and present policy-related research;
  • Discuss, debate and present material on policy alternatives and amendments on the basis of a comparative analysis of both international examples and domestic options.

Overview of Learning Activities

Learning will occur in a 3 hour weekly lecture/seminar format which will, when necessary, break into smaller groups for part of those 3 hours.

Overview of Learning Resources

You will be able to use a prescribed text and/or reading set.

Overview of Assessment

You will be assessed on the above learning outcomes and capabilities. There will be three assessment tasks with a total word length of 4,000 word or equivalent.