Public Policy

Postgraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content

The focus of the course is on what governments do, why they do it, and how they do it. The aim is to give the students an overview of different traditions, perspectives, problems and possibilities of public policy analysis and governance. It does so by providing an examination of the broad approaches to the subject matter, and inventories of the relevant policy actors, institutions and instruments that are involved in the public policy making from agenda setting, policy adoption, policy implementation, policy evaluation, and system of governance. In this regard, policies aimed at administrative reforms and organizational change as well as different policy areas such as, administrative policy, education, health, and social welfare will be studied. Emphasis will also be given to complex and not easily resolved policy issues often called "wicked" problems. The course begins with policy studies and ends with the analysis of recent policy trends and reforms in public administration with emphasis on "quality of government", "good governance", and "New Public Management" and "Post- New Public Management".

Learning Outcomes

A student who has completed the course should have the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:


The student

  • has developed advanced knowledge of "the state of the art" as well as recent developments in the field of public policy and governance
  • has acquired relevant knowledge on how public policy and governance issues are analyzed from different perspectives
  • can use the knowledge in analyzing different and new areas of public policy and governance
  • can provide empirical and theoretical analysis on the basis of the history and distinct character of the academic field


The student

  • has developed critical thinking and can conduct independent analysis in assessing, diagnosing and addressing policy and governance related challenges
  • can provide independent analyses and applications of existing theories, approaches and empirical work within the research field
  • can use the knowledge to develop and conduct independent research

General competence

The student

  • can discuss, analyze and apply the course materials to answer relevant research questions and objectives
  • can apply the knowledge and skills to various areas of public policy
  • can communicate and identify relevant problem issues and how to analyze them with regard to public policy and governance to different stakeholders of public policy and administration
  • can contribute to the theoretical development of the academic field and the application of different methods in conducting research

ECTS Credits


Level of Study


Semester of Instruction

Required Previous Knowledge
Recommended Previous Knowledge

AORG101, AORG104, AORG103 / AORG107, AORG215


GOV101, GOV104, GOV103 / GOV107, GOV215

Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap
  • AORG322A (10 ECTS)
  • AORG322B (10ECTS)
  • AORG318 (10 ECTS)
  • AORG320 (10 ECTS)
  • Access to the Course

    The course is open for students who have been accepted to Master programmes at the Department of Government.

    Exchange students at master level may be accepted upon application. Applications may be rejected due to capacity.

    Teaching and learning methods
    6-8 lectures and 3-4 seminars. Students are expected to actively participate in the discussion.
    Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

    Presentation of a shorter essay (about 2000 words) based on a syllabus related topic. In addition, each student is required to at least one time comment on another students' oral/written presentation.

    The compulsory assignment must be approved in order to take the exam. Approved compulsory assignments are valid in the current and following two semesters.

    Forms of Assessment

    A four-hour school exam.

    The exam will be given in the language in which the course is taught.
    The exam answer can be submitted in Norwegian, Swedish or Danish. It is also possible to submit in English.

    Grading Scale
    Graded A-F 
    Assessment Semester

    Assessment in teaching semester.

    A retake exam is arranged for students with valid absence according to § 5-5 in the UiB regulations.

    If there is a retake exam, this will be available for students with the follow results/absences:

    • Medical certificate/valid absence
    • Interruption during the exam
    • Fail/failed

    If you have the right to take a retake exam and a retake exam is arranged for students with valid absences, you can sign up yourself in Studentweb after January 15.

    Reading List
    The reading list will be ready before 1 July for the autumn semester and 1 Decemeber for the spring semester. 
    Course Evaluation
    All courses are evaluated according to UiB's system for quality assurance of education.
    Examination Support Material
    Programme Committee
    The Programme Committee is responsible for the content, structure and quality of the study programme and courses.  
    Course Administrator
    Department of Government at the Faculty of Social Sciences has the administrative responsibility for the course and the study programme.