Comprehensive course analysis
Who should attend
The course is designed for you if you need to interact, understand and interpret policy as part of your job. You should consider this master-level course if:
- you are a mid-career professional working as in an NGO, agency, public or private sector, are a journalist or a civil servant who wants to move into a specialised or management career and must learn to operate more effectively at a strategic level.
- you are a concerned citizen looking to better understand the complex public policy-making process which directly affects you and your community.
- you are an experienced professional in the UK Civil Service and are ready to move to a Senior Executive Officer (SEO) position or Higher Executive Officer role (HEO).
- you are highly experienced in strategy and need a programme which will provide the tools to help you remain effective and current in your position.
About the course
Public policy is not just technical: it involves fundamental values, and conflicts between different values. This intensive eight-week online course will teach you the skills to understand the key moral and ethical concepts that should inform public policy.
Be a part of the University of Oxford’s mission to transform and improve global policymaking.
What is the purpose of government? This is the fundamental question you will examine when studying this ground-breaking short course. You will think critically, drawing out the key values which should be considered in this question.
We seek to arm you with the knowledge and skills to understand the key moral and ethical value concepts that should inform public policy. You will be provided a process by which to engage with and apply political philosophy to the practice of policy-making.
You will study eight modules over the course of eight weeks. It is a collaborative learning process, week-by-week, so you will have ample opportunity to discuss key policy topics with your peers and a Course Facilitator.
Throughout each module, you will complete various activities to help you monitor your understanding of the module content and your progression through the course.
Activities will include set readings, reflection exercises, multiple-choice questions and discussion forums. Your Course Facilitator will guide you through these activities and provide feedback at each stage. These activities are not formally graded but your participation in each task counts towards your final grade.
- Module 0: Getting started
- Module 1: Introduction to foundations
- Module 2: The common good
- Module 3: Distributive justice: property, tax and welfare
- Module 4: Distributive justice: social justice
- Module 5: Authority and resistance: democracy, its rivals and its pathologies
- Module 6: Authority and resistance: human rights and civil disobedience
- Module 7: Philosophy in public life
- Module 8: Summary
Learning support and outcomes
Values and Public Policy: Political Philosophy in Practice
In addition to learning from our expert world-leading academics, you will also benefit from a Course Facilitator who will provide academic guidance throughout your learning journey – from beginning to end.
Upon completion of the course, you will receive a certificate which will support your career in real terms.
The Facilitator will:
- Comment on weekly discussions on specific topics.
- Provide feedback on all project tasks.
- Give comments and feedback on all activities throughout.
- The learning outcomes for the course are as follows:
- Be able to recognise when issues of public policy are not solely technical but involve fundamental values and conflicts between these values.
- Have a good understanding of the key-value concepts that should inform public policy.
- Have developed skills of reasoning about and resolving ethical dilemmas and be able to communicate their conclusions and the reasons for them.
- Have critically scrutinised your own ethical and political assumptions, and reflected on the moral complexities of policy-making scenarios that you have or may find yourself in.
Because of COVID-19, many providers are cancelling or postponing in-person programs or providing online participation options.
We are happy to help you find a suitable online alternative.