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Approaches to Policymaking

Key information

Subject area:

Public Policy, Politics & Security

Course type:

Executive Education

Credit level:


Credit value:



4 weeks

Available course dates:

From: 07 May 2024 To: 31 May 2024
Application deadline: 09 April 2024

Course overview

Students will be introduced to the policy process: how public policies are decided upon and implemented. Making policy requires the agreement and participation of many actors, such as politicians, bureaucrats, agency heads and staff, interest groups representatives, journalists, judges, local government heads, and citizen groups as well as international actors. 

Students are introduced to the process of making policy in this complex world. This requires an understanding of the stages of the policy process, the difference between policy outputs and policy outcomes, and how agenda-setting takes place.

The module also covers the interface between politics and policy, especially the relationship between politicians and civil servants, and the role of ideas in public policy.

What does this course cover?

Week 1: Key concepts in the policy process

In this week you’ll be introduced to some of the key concepts that will help you understand the policy process. This will enable you to critically appraise key terminology used to study policymaking, describe the policy process and explain or discuss different elements in the stages model of policy formulation.

Week 2: Key actors in the policymaking process

Policymaking involves people who are part of a political process and these people are seeking to make or influence collective choices. Each of these actors has a preference for a particular policy and then plays a role in the decision-making process in kind of getting that. This week we will analyse the role, interests, and values of the different actors in policymaking.

Week 3: Policy success and failure

In this final week, we will analyse the factors that contribute to the success or failure of a policy. We will examine various case studies to apply the factors at work, explaining either success or failure. You will then use your knowledge to help make a policy better so that it may be implemented more effectively and to avoid errors and failures.

What will I achieve?

Upon completion of this module, students will be able to:

  • Recognise the policy process and its stages, in particular, agenda-setting, decision making, and implementation
  • Decipher the ways in which policies are decided and who has power over decision-making.
  • Understand the traits of successfully implement policies and how to anticipate and mitigate failures.

Who will I learn with?

Peter John

Peter John

Head of the School of Politics and Economics and Professor of Public Policy

Olga Siemers

Olga Siemers

Senior Lecturer in Public Policy

Who is this for?

This short course is for mid-career professionals. Standard entry requirements are a 2:1 degree plus 3 years of relevant work experience. Applicants without a 2:1 or higher degree are welcome to apply and typically require 5+ years of relevant work experience.

How will I be assessed?

One written assignment, plus participation in webinars and discussion forums.

Our modules offer high levels of interaction with regular points of assessment and feedback. Each four week module is worth five Master's level academic credits and includes three webinars with a King's lecturer and peer group of global professionals.


What is the teaching schedule?

Format: Fully online, plus 3 x 1-hour weekly webinars

This module has been designed specifically for an online audience. It uses a range of interactive activities to support learning including discussion forums, online readings, interactive lectures videos and online tutorials.



Fees and discounts

Tuition fees may be subject to additional increases in subsequent years of study, in line with King’s terms and conditions.

Further information

Module Creator

Professor Peter John, Professor of Public Policy. Peter is Professor of Public Policy in the Department of Political Economy at King’s College London. He was previously Professor of Political Science and Public Policy at University College London. He is known for his work on agenda-setting, local politics, behavioral interventions, and randomised controlled trials.

Please note that this is only indicative information. Lecturers and course content are subject to change. Please contact us directly for the most recent information.

Course status:

Places available

Full fee £950

Express interest

Discounts available

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