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Theories of the Public Policy Process 7.5 credits

Teorier om policyprocessen
First cycle, S0040N
Course syllabus valid: Autumn 2021 Sp 1 - Present
The version indicates the term and period for which this course syllabus is valid. The most recent version of the course syllabus is shown first.

Education level
First cycle
Grade scale
U G VG *
Political Science
Subject group (SCB)
Political Science
Main field of study
Political Science

Entry requirements

In order to meet the general entry requirements for first cycle studies you must have successfully completed upper secondary education and documented skills in English language and completed 60 credits in Political Science with at least a passing grade, of which 30 credits in Political Science B, for example Politics and Policy in the European Union (S0026N) 7,5 credits, Democrazy, Development and Democratization (S0031N) 7,5 credits, Reserach design (S0037N) 7,5 credits, Governance in theory and practice (S0038N) 7,5 credits, or equivalent.

More information about English language requirements


The selection is based on 1-165 credits.

Course Aim
How is public policy created, who has the power over the political process and how can a sudden policy change be explained? This course is about the public policy process. With the point of departure in classical political science concepts such as collective dilemmas, power and institutions, the course deals with different theories about how public policy is created as well as how different scientific approaches can be applied in studies of the public policy process. 

After completing the course the student will demonstrate deepened knowledge of political science theories as well as the ability to adopt, and evaluate, different approaches within the discipline, by being able to: 

•   Describe the development of public policy analysis, the scientific roots as well as the contemporary applications within the field of political science 
•   Describe, analyze and compare different theoretical perspectives of the public policy process  
•   Describe, analyze and compare different theoretical frameworks within public policy analysis, as well as show the ability to apply and critically evaluate these frameworks on empirical problems 
•   Accommodate scientific articles   
•   Demonstrate skills in oral as well as writing presentation- and communication techniques  

The course covers different approaches within contemporary policy research. A number of key theories of the policy process, as well as different scientific approaches to the study of public problem solving and its organization are addressed, including:
•   Collective dilemmas, power and public policy as concepts in policy analysis
•   The development of the field of policy analysis and its application in political science
•   Theoretical perspectives on the policy process, including structural-, institutional- and interest-based perspectives
•   The policy process: from problem definition to implementation and evaluation
•   Current theoretical frameworks and models in the study of the public policy process, such as: the Advocacy Coalition Framework, the Institutional Analysis and Development Framework, the Multiple Streams Framework, and the Policy Network Approach
•   Written and oral presentation techniques

Each course occasion´s language and form is stated and appear on the course page on Luleå University of Technology's website.
The first part of the course consists of lectures and seminars with associated writing assignments. The lectures will introduce the course themes (see Content) that are then followed up in writing assignments and discussed in seminars. During the second part of the course the student works individually with a more comprehensive report in which the student applies the theoretical knowledge on an empirical policy process. The teacher supervises the student during this work that is presented and discussed at a final seminar at the end of the course. 

For more information about the realization of the course, please see the Study guidance in Canvas. 

If there is a decision on special educational support, in accordance with the Guideline Student's rights and obligations at Luleå University of Technology, an adapted or alternative form of examination can be provided.
The course is assessed continuously through seminars and writing assignments. The first part of the course, with writing assignments and seminars, correspond to 3.0 hp while the second part the course, with a comprehensive report and the final seminar, correspond to 4.5 hp. The grades U/G/VG are given for both parts.

Due to similar content, the course can not be included in a degree together with the course S0017N.

Students must register for the courses themselves or contact ETS educational administration not later than three days after the quarter commences. Failure to do so can result in the place being lost. This rule also applies to students with a guaranteed place.

Annica Sandström

Transition terms
The course S0040N is equal to S0017N

Literature. Valid from Autumn 2021 Sp 1 (May change until 10 weeks before course start)
Olsson, Jan, Monica Berg, Erik Hysing, Ann-Catrin Kristianssen and Anna Petersén (2019) Policy i teori och praktik. Lund: Studentlitteratur AB.
Weible, Christoffer M and Paul A Sabatier (eds.) (2018) Theories of the Policy Process. Fourth edition. Boulder, Colorado: West view Press.
Ekengren, A-M. and Jonas Hinnfors (2012) Uppsatshandbok – Hur du lyckas med din uppsats. 2nd. ed. Lund: Studentlitteratur.

Academic papers will be an obligatory part of the literature (list provided in Canvas at the course start).

Course offered by
Department of Social Sciences, Technology and Arts

CodeDescriptionGrade scaleCrStatusFrom periodTitle
0003Report and Final SeminarU G VG *4.50MandatoryA21
0004Writing assignment and SeminarsU G VG *3.00MandatoryA21

Study guidance
Study guidance for the course is to be found in our learning platform Canvas before the course starts. Students applying for single subject courses get more information in the Welcome letter. You will find the learning platform via My LTU.

Syllabus established
by Director of Undergraduate Studies Bo Jonsson, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences 09 Jun 2014

Last revised
by Director of Undergraduate Studies Daniel Örtqvist, Department of Social Sciences, Technology and Arts 17 Feb 2021