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Public Policy and Values (EG)


Admission requirements

This course is for Master students Public Administration only.


Policy-makers respond to societal problems and decide on their solutions during the various stages of the policy cycle. At times, however, problems and their solutions disappear from the policy cycle or policy-makers avoid clear decisions. Policies may be successful, but often expected outcomes are not achieved. Assessments of possible solutions to a problem may appear too optimistic, political intentions may clash, or sudden events may make other problems seem more urgent. Competing perspectives among stakeholders may also jeopardize policy change during the implementation stage and policy evaluation.

In order to understand these processes we need a systematic approach to provide us with a sharper view at the world of policy making. This course presents such an approach by focusing on the following central elements in the policy process: (1) the attention to issues; (2) the portrayal of problems as they emerge and travel through the various stages of the policy cycle and (3) the role of different perspectives in policy change.

A better understanding of the role of values in the creation of policy from its emergence on the agenda until its ex-post evaluation is fundamental to any kind of professional work related to policy making, analysis, and evaluation that you may aspire after concluding your Master program.

Course objectives

This course aims to enlarge your conceptual, integrative and reflective skills when analyzing public policy. After successfully completing this course, you should be able to:

  1. understand and explain the conditions under which political attention to problems rises and falls, and major policy changes occur or are prevented;
  2. analyze public policies and their social construction by identifying how problems are portrayed, goals selected and solutions designed, presented and evaluated;
  3. apply key theoretical concepts to real life scenarios of public policy;
  4. effectively and independently carry out a policy analysis and communicate the results, both individually and in a group setting.


On the Public Administration front page of the E-guide you will find links to the website and timetables, uSis and Blackboard.

Mode of instruction

This course consists of interactive lectures and workgroup sessions. All meetings are compulsory.

Course Load

Total 140 hours of which: 14 contact hours, 56 self-study hours, 30 group project preparation hours, 40 final exam paper writing hours.

Assessment method

Group project (40%) and individual paper (60%). Both assignments need to be passed with a grade of 5,5 or higher in order to successfully complete this course.

Redoing an assignment in case of a grade lower than 5.5 must be done before the course end and final paper deadline. Redoing the final paper is only possible when the paper was submitted and graded (but had a score lower than 5.5).

You can find more information about assessments and the timetable exams on the website.
Details for submitting papers (deadlines) are posted on Blackboard.

On the Public Administration front page of the E-guide you will find links to the website, uSis and Blackboard.

Resit: Students will be permitted to resit an examination if they have a mark lower than 5.5 or with permission of the Board of Examiners.


Course information and a detailed course syllabus will be posted on blackboard in the week before the start of the course.

Reading list

During this course, we will use Deborah Stone (2011), Policy Paradox. The Art of Political Decision Making, New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 3rd edition.

Besides, we will make use of additional readings (articles and book chapters), that will be communicated prior to the start of the course via Blackboard. Additional readings should be located through the university library catalogue. Readings that cannot be found online will be provided by the course instructors.


Use both uSis and Blackboard to register for every course.

Register for every course and workgroup via uSis. Some courses and workgroups have a limited number of participants, so register on time (before the course starts). In uSis you can access your personal schedule and view your results. Registration in uSis is possible from four weeks before the start of the course.

Also register for every course in Blackboard. Important information about the course is posted there.


Dr. V.E. Pattyn
Prof.dr. A. Timmermans

Block 4:
Dr. N.A.J. van der Zwan