This course is available through clearing

If you already have your exam results, meet the entry requirements and hold no offers, then you can apply to this course now.

Contact the admissions team

If you're waiting for your results, then sign up to our clearing alerts to get all the information you need ahead of results day.

Sign up now

BA Politics and Russian / Course details

Year of entry: 2020

Coronavirus information for applicants and offer-holders

For the latest updates on how coronavirus will affect applicants and offer-holders, you can visit our FAQs.

Read our latest coronavirus information

Holding an offer for 2020 entry? Visit our dedicated offer-holders page.

Information for offer-holders

Course unit details:
Public Policy Problems

Unit code POLI30291
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Politics
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


The unit aims to: teach students key ideas in the field of public policy and give them an authentic experience of researching a public policy problem. The core of the course is learning the latest theories of public policymaking and governing. This will cover debates about the nature and scope of public policy problems, theories of the policy process, symbolic meaning and narratives in policy, theories of policy change, and the political power of government, business and non-government activists in policymaking. The research aspect of the course involves analysing a contemporary public policy problem, from its causes and effects through to possible solutions. Students will learn how to research a policy problem and produce practical recommendations to government for policy change. They will apply the theories learnt in the lectures to the case study, linking theory and practice. The course aims to give students a strong knowledge of public policy studies and also to train them to become policy analysts after graduation.

The case study for 2020-2021 is Manchester’s air pollution problem.


Knowledge and understanding

Knowledge and Understanding: 

  • Understand and critically analyse theories of public policy
  • Understand the institutional and political context of UK governance
  • Understand the dimensions and causes of a contemporary policy problem
  • Understand contemporary public policy solutions to that problem
  • Understand the political process of policymaking

Intellectual skills

Intellectual skills: 

  • Critically analyse a social problem
  • Critically analyse government policy on that problem
  • Discover knowledge for policymaking and assess its quality
  • Identify and reflect upon the exercise of power in public policymaking
  • Develop persuasive arguments for policy proposals
  • Understand and strategise for political contingencies

Practical skills

Practical skills: 

  • Conduct research into policy problems
  • Work collaboratively on a policy research project
  • Devise and justify a practical recommendation to government for policy change

Transferable skills and personal qualities

Transferable skills and personal qualities:  

  • Present ideas effectively to an audience of their peers
  • Use digital sources and software in research and collaboration
  • Work autonomously in an independent manner
  • Acquire skills in public policy analysis
  • Acquire skills in collaborative work and project planning

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 50%
Written assignment (inc essay) 50%

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 20
Tutorials 10
Independent study hours
Independent study 170

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Nicholas Turnbull Unit coordinator

Additional notes

Total Learning Hours = 200

Return to course details