Foundations of Public Policy

Winter 2015 quarter

Taught by

political science, public administration, women's studies
Policies can be regulatory, distributive, or redistributive; material or symbolic; substantive (what government intends to do) or procedural (how something will be done and who will do it). They can provide collective goods or private goods and can be liberal or conservative. Public policies are not limited to governing public life: Our "public life" relates to how, when, and why we engage with the public sphere and this often involves our private life. For example, the materials used in your home can be regulated by public policies developed and enforced by public servants. This is known as entering into a "Ulysses contract" whereby I grant policies and government legitimacy by agreeing to allow government policies to stop me from harming myself.  Therefore, public policies can be a goal or value of one entity and not representative of an entire "public". Finally, while a policy can be driven by law or actually influence law, policy cannot do less than law requires. As noted by Schneider and Ingram, the key is for any public policy to solve problems.

This course provides an overview of the concepts and issues at the heart of public administration: public policy. One of the texts you will read is Policy Paradox by Deborah Stone who stated, “policy is the struggle over ideas and these ideas are the stuff of politics." This course is intended to provide an introduction to the study of public policy processes and the practice of public policy analysis. By comparing and contrasting various approaches, we seek to provide guidance for future policy makers and policy analysts. To accomplish this, students will become policy designers and functional critics who recognize the social constructs and subjective limitations of policy creation, implementation, and evaluation.

Program Details

Location and Schedule

Campus location



Offered during: Evening and Weekend

Advertised schedule:  Jan 13, Mar 3, Tues 6-10p, Jan 31-Feb 1, Feb 21-22, Sat/Sun 9a-5p


Buy books for this program through Greener Bookstore.

Online Learning

Enhanced Online Learning: Access to web-based tools required, but use of these tools does not displace any face-to-face instruction.

Registration Information

Credits: 4 (Winter)

Class standing: Graduate

Maximum enrollment: 20


Course Reference Number

(4 GR credits): 20286

Go to to register for this program.