Course Title: Ethics, Values and Public Policy

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Ethics, Values and Public Policy

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


365H Global, Urban and Social Studies


Sem 2 2007,
Sem 2 2010,
Sem 2 2011,
Sem 2 2012,
Sem 2 2013


City Campus


365H Global, Urban and Social Studies

Face-to-Face or Internet

Sem 2 2017


City Campus


365H Global, Urban and Social Studies


Sem 2 2014,
Sem 2 2015,
Sem 2 2016,
Sem 2 2018,
Sem 2 2019,
Sem 2 2020,
Sem 2 2021,
Sem 2 2022,
Sem 2 2023

Course Coordinator: Lisa Harris

Course Coordinator Phone: +(61 3) 9925 9959

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 37.2.9

Course Coordinator Availability: By appointment

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities


Course Description

In this course, you will explore the ways in which ethics and values come into play in the policy process. The course provides an introduction to key moral theories that feature in contemporary policy debates, and reflects on the tensions between ethics and politics. You will consider the principal values that animate Australian and international politics and how they shape policy and limit reform. Finally, this course examines the ways in which key issues and dilemmas raise questions about professional ethics and skills for policy actors.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development


Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Investigate and critically analyse the relationships between values, political power and public policy
  • Identify and critique the ways in which particular moral theories and privileged values have shaped contemporary policy initiatives
  • Identify and apply ethical thinking and values that support innovative policy and programs addressing complex social issues

You will be assessed on your development of the following program learning outcomes:

  • Critically analyse the social, political, organisational, economic and environmental drivers that both enable and limit public policy reform and apply to professional practice
  • Use appropriate ethical ideas and reflective practice skills to engage in professional policy practice and scholarship

Overview of Learning Activities

You will be engaged in learning that involves a range of face-to-face and online activities such as lectures, tutorials, group and class discussion, group activities and individual research.

Overview of Learning Resources

RMIT will provide you with resources and tools for learning in this course through our online systems. A list of recommended learning resources will be provided by your lecturer, including books, journal articles and web resources. You will also be expected to seek further resources relevant to the focus of your own learning.

Overview of Assessment


You will be assessed on how well you meet the course’s learning outcomes and on your development against the program learning outcomes. Assessment may include a combination of presentations, individual and group participation as well as academic essays. 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: