Governance (GOVN) 450

Public Budgeting and Financial Management in a Globalized World (Revision 3)

GOVN 450 course cover

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study online

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Social Science

Prerequisite: None. Successful completion of introductory courses in economics, accounting and Canadian political science is recommended. Students are expected to have university-level analytical and writing skills.

Precluded Course: GOVN 450 may not be taken for credit by students who have obtained credit for GLST 450.

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

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GOVN 450 has a Challenge for Credit option.

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Governance 450: Public Budgeting and Financial Management in a Globalized World is a senior-level, three-credit course that examines the theory and practice of public budgeting and financial management in an era of globalization. The course conveys an understanding of the purposes and roles of budgeting in public organization and examines the major trends and the political, economic, and financial considerations involved in budgeting. One such consideration is globalization. Students will explore the impact of globalization on the governance capacity of governments and discuss what globalization means for budgeting.

The course examines the various theories, practices, challenges, and reforms of budgeting and financial management in governments and government agencies. Students will learn what public budgeting and its related theories are; how budgets are formulated; the roles of politics, economics, and management in public budgeting; how public resources should be allocated efficiently; the impact of globalization on the governance capacity of governments; what globalization means for budgeting; and the feasibility of recent public sector reform initiatives. The content deals primarily with budgets and budgeting in Canadian federal, provincial, and municipal governments. Research on budgeting, governance, and globalization is reviewed.


The course consists of the following 12 units.

  • Unit 1: Introduction to Budgeting and Financial Management in an Era of Globalization
  • Unit 2: Overview and Trends in Public Budgeting in Canada
  • Unit 3: Theories of Budgeting
  • Unit 4: Theory Continued—Politics and Bureaucracy in Public Budgeting
  • Unit 5: Budgeting in the Federal Government
  • Unit 6: Budgeting in the Provincial Governments
  • Unit 7: Budgeting in Municipal Governments
  • Unit 8: Macroeconomic Issues in Public Budgeting
  • Unit 9: The Tax System, Tax Expenditures, and Tax Reform
  • Unit 10: Accountability, Management, and Efficiency of Resource Allocation
  • Unit 11: Public Sector Reform: Developments in Canada
  • Unit 12: Reform Initiatives and the Realities of Budgeting


To receive credit for GOVN 450, you must complete all of the assignments, achieve a mark of at least 50 percent on the final examination, and obtain a course composite grade of D (50 percent) or more. The weighting of the composite grade is as follows:

Activity Weighting
3 Written Assignments 60%
Final Examination 40%
Total 100%

The final examination for this course must be taken online with an AU-approved exam invigilator at an approved invigilation centre. It is your responsibility to ensure your chosen invigilation centre can accommodate online exams. For a list of invigilators who can accommodate online exams, visit the Exam Invigilation Network.

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Good, David A. 2007. The Politics of Public Money: Spenders, Guardians, Priority Setters, and Financial Watchdogs inside the Canadian Government. University of Toronto Press: Toronto. (PDF)

John C. Strick. 1999. The Public Sector in Canada: Programs, Finance and Policy. Toronto: Thompson Educational Publishing.

Other Materials

All other course materials can be accessed online.

Challenge for Credit Overview

The Challenge for Credit process allows you to demonstrate that you have acquired a command of the general subject matter, knowledge, intellectual and/or other skills that would normally be found in a university-level course.

Full information about Challenge for Credit can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Challenge Evaluation

To receive credit for the GOVN 450 challenge registration, you must complete all required components, and achieve an overall grade of at least D (50 percent).

Activity Weighting
Written Assignment 1 10%
Written Assignment 2 15%
Exam 75%
Total 100%

Undergraduate Challenge for Credit Course Registration Form

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.

Opened in Revision 3, May 10, 2013.

View previous syllabus