Module code: POL2047

Module Overview

This module will introduce students to the main debates and methods associated with policy analysis. It covers key traditional theoretical concepts used in public policy analysis such as pluralism, elitism as well as more contemporary approaches and developments such as evidence based policy making. To that end, students will be called to apply the theoretical concepts and ideas around public policy making and the research design techniques for public policy analysis into real-life scenario based exercises, risk management and mitigation of policy implementation, agenda-setting and problem solving exercises in a variety of policy areas of their choice. They can draw examples from different national and international settings, touching upon any policy area, from sustainability and environmental protection, to security, immigration, asylum, foreign policy, education and welfare provision, public health and institutional design for policy making. Students will get the opportunity of analysing data and evidence that they collect in traditional and digital ways, enhancing their resilience in facing research caveats and their resourcefulness in thinking about workarounds to problems. Finally, the module provides students with transferable skills in policy analysis and policy briefing applicable to a range of Level 6 modules, their dissertation projects and other policy related assignments, as well as in their quest for future career and placement prospects in policy-related workplaces.

Module provider


Module Leader

EXADAKTYLOS Theofanis (Politics)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 5

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 106

Seminar Hours: 22

Guided Learning: 11

Captured Content: 11

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

The module introduces students to some of the key debates and concepts associated with the analysis of public policy.

The course is structured around the following themes:

1.         Introduction

2.         Key concepts in policy analysis

3.         The policy process: theoretical underpinnings 1

4.         The policy process: theoretical underpinnings 2

5.         The development of the policy network approach

6.         Policy formulation and policy implementation

7.         The policy cycle and research practice: what influences policy making?

8.         Methodologies for policy evaluation

9.         Sources of evidence 1: media and policy documents

10.       Sources of evidence 2: introduction to Impact assessment

11.       Drafting policy recommendations


Weekly sessions will cover the topics listed above. Each topic will also be the focus of one of hands-on exercises in the context of our seminar work. The seminars will provide an opportunity for students to analyse, in considerable detail, policy document produced by: government departments; political parties; think tanks; and non-governmental organisations.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework PLAN FOR PROJECT (1,500 WORDS) 30

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate

  • An understanding of traditional and/or contemporary theories of public policy

  • The ability to use these theories to analyse contemporary public policy making

  • The ability to apply theory in real-life problems

  • The ability to secure evidence and data to analyse contemporary policies

  • Their understanding of challenges and opportunities as policies operate in a diverse environment affecting different citizens groups differently

  • Their ability to handle complex policy issues applying across different public policy areas, from agenda-setting, to policy formulation, to decision-making, to implementation and monitoring / evaluation of public policy aims, objectives and targets.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • Plan for Project (1,500 words)

  • Final Project (3,000 words)

Formative assessment and feedback

Verbal feedback will be given from module leader and peers during seminar discussions and activities around the research plan/projects as well as brief written feedback on planned research questions in the module discussion forum on Surrey Learn. Every weekly session is coupled in a step-ladder type of way with progress milestones towards the assignments and with peer feedback and group discussions to enhance resourcefulness in finding solutions to the research problems they are exploring.

Module aims

  • Develop students' understanding of some of the main concepts and key debates in public policy making, gauging the diversity of policy areas and actors involved in the process of.
  • Introduce students to some of the main methodologies to analyse public policies, developing digital skills in obtaining primary source evidence to support assignments
  • Consolidate students' ability to apply theoretical models to real-life examples, through authentic assessment, scenario based exercises, risk-management exercises, role-playing examples
  • Learn to translate theoretical elements of public policy theories into real-world applications
  • Think about policy problems, ranging from public health to climate change, welfare provision to education, foreign policy to security and immigration
  • Understand the caveats of the research process to enhance resilience and resourcefulness to find solutions to real-life problem

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Discuss some of the main concepts and key debates associated with the analysis of public policy making to associate real-life problems with policy solutions KC
002 Apply different methodologies to the analysis of public policies developing digital and non-digital techniques to find primary evidence KCPT
003 Gather, organise and deploy evidence, data and information from a variety of primary and secondary sources, developing a good understanding of how to use data and information to support policy solutions. KCPT
004 Employ relevant research skills to investigate a policy-related area, ranging from welfare policy, environmental and sustainability policy, public transport, public health, education, security, economic policy, legal frameworks development, among many others of their choice, non restricted to the UK but drawing examples from around the world KCPT
005 Access relevant policy-related datasets and be able to retrieve data from them, enhancing digital capabilities and employability skills for policy analysis related careers. KCPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

Introduce students to some of the key concepts in public policy analysis and to enable them to discuss these theories with contemporary case studies of policy areas in preparation for carrying out their own independent research on a piece of public policy. This module helps students develop resilience and resourcefulness in tackling real-world problems, develop sustainable thinking in terms of the impact of public policies, enhance their global and cultural capabilities in drawing examples from various local, national and international contexts and learning new transferable skills to enhance their digital capabilities and acquire tools for employment prospects in relevant sectors of policy analysis.

The learning and teaching methods include:

  • 11 x 2 hour workshops (including a mixture of lectures and seminar discussions) plus independent study, guided discussions on SurreyLearn, additional captured content and digital resources and consultations in preparation of own individual research projects.


Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: POL2047

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Public Affairs MPA 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Politics BSc (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
International Relations BSc (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Politics and Sociology BSc (Hons) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2025/6 academic year.