Master of Health Studies (MHST) 605

Demystifying Policy Analysis and Development


Delivery Mode: Paced/home-study online

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Applied Studies

Centre: Centre for Nursing and Health Studies


This course will focus on analysis and development of public policy; a process necessary before planning, managing, and evaluating actions for change. The interface between policy and decision-making, the implications of policies formed at different levels of government or an institution, as well as ways to argue for a position and to communicate policy information are all content of this course.

Course Goals

MHST/NURS 605 is designed to assist the student to:

  1. describe the nature of a problem for which a policy solution is sought
  2. choose from various courses of action to solve problems
  3. understand the potential outcomes of various courses of action
  4. link outcomes to problem solutions
  5. anticipate outcomes for alternative courses of actions
  6. monitor the outcomes of policy choice
  7. argue for, communicate about, and “sell” policy choices.

Course Materials

MHST/NURS 605 comprises both online and print-based course materials.

Online Materials

  • Introduction: Provides essential information about the course materials, the design of the course, and the procedures you should follow to complete the course successfully.
  • Schedule: Outlines the timing of course activities.
  • Units: There are 8 units in this course.
  • Assessment: Outlines the assignments/evaluation procedures of the course.
  • Reference: Listing of required readings, websites, and citations included in the units.

Print Materials

Dunn, W. N. (2012). Public Policy Analysis: An introduction (5th Ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall.

Technical Requirements

Computer System

In order to successfully complete this course, you must own or have ready access to certain computer hardware and software programs. For complete and up-to-date information on the minimum computer requirements required to complete the graduate nursing courses, visit the Centre for Nursing and Health Studies technical site.

Course Outline

  • Unit 1: Is a Policy Needed?
  • Unit 2: Structuring Policy Problems
  • Unit 3: Forecasting Policy Outcomes
  • Unit 4: Recommending Preferred Policies
  • Unit 5: Monitoring Preferred Policy Outcomes
  • Unit 6: Evaluating Policy Performance
  • Unit 7: Developing Policy Arguments
  • Unit 8: Communicating Policy Analysis and Wrap-Up

Assessment Structure

In the MHS and MN:Gen programs, students must achieve an overall program GPA of 2.7 ( B- or 70 percent), to graduate. The minimum passing grade requirement for each MHS and MN:Gen course is C- (60 percent).

The following course activities will contribute to your course grade, with the percentage weighting of each activity as follows:

Assignment 1 - Policy Argumentation
Assignment 2 - Policy Structuring
Assignment 3 - Executive Briefing Note
Assignment 4 - Tools/methods Presentation
Participation 10%
Total 100%

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Updated April 28 2016 by Student & Academic Services