Political Science (POLI) 403

Public Policy in a Global Era (Revision 1)

Political Science (POLI) 403

Temporarily closed, effective May 6, 2019

Delivery Mode: Individualized study online or grouped study

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Social Science

Prerequisite: None. A previous course in public policy, public administration/management or political science is recommended.

Precluded Course: POLI 403 is a cross-listed course—a course listed under 3 different disciplines—GLST 403 and GOVN 403. POLI 403 may not be taken for credit by students who have obtained credit for GLST 403 or GOVN 403. This is a senior course and as such students are expected to have advanced analytical and writing skills.

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

Political Science home page

POLI 403 has a Challenge for Credit option.

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Welcome to Political Science 403: Public Policy in a Global Era, a 3-credit senior level course that is designed for students interested in the impact of globalization on public policy. In particular, the course examines the forces shaping the character and content of Canadian public policy in this era of globalization. It provides students with the conceptual, theoretical and analytical tools required to study and to critically assess Canadian public policy. Students will also explore the dominant policy trend of this era—that is, the “internationalization” or globalization of public policy.

The focus of Political Science 403 is theoretical. As such, students will spend considerable time exploring alternative answers to the question: How are we to understand and explain the character and content of Canadian public policy in this global era? The course is designed on the assumption that to answer this question students need to be exposed to readings that discuss the content of concrete policies. Thus, virtually every unit of the course includes theoretical readings and at least one case study reading that examines the changing character of Canadian public policy. Moreover, to ensure an appropriate balance between developing the depth and breadth of students’ policy knowledge, all the policy-focused readings concentrate on exploring trends in that field of public policy known as social policy. Students will have an opportunity to develop the analytical skills that are essential to advanced policy studies, while also becoming sufficiently knowledgeable of the changing character of Canadian social policy that they will feel confident assessing and commenting on the social policy decisions of our governments.


  • Unit 1: Public Policy and the Policy-making Process in Canada
  • Unit 2: The New, Globalized Context of Canadian Public Policy
  • Unit 3: Interests, Power and Policy: Society-centred Theories
  • Unit 4: Institutions and Policy: State-centred Theories
  • Unit 5: Feminist Critiques and Contributions
  • Unit 6: Understanding the Importance of Ideas
  • Unit 7: Globalization as Explanation: The Internationalization of Public Policy


Your final grade in POLI 403 will be based on the grades you achieve on the mid-course test, two essays and a final examination. To receive credit for the course, you must complete all of the assignments, achieve a minimum mark of 50 percent on the final examination, and obtain an overall course grade of D (50 percent) or better. The following indicates the assignments for credit and their weighting toward your final grade.

Activity Weighting
Mid-course Test 20%
Course Essay 20%
Research Essay 30%
Final Exam 30%
Total 100%

The mid-term and final examinations 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

Other materials

The course materials include a study guide, student manual, reading file, with online enhancements.

Challenge for Credit Course Overview

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

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

Challenge Evaluation

To receive credit for the POLI 403 challenge registration, you must complete all required components, and achieve an overall grade of at least D (50 percent).

Activity Weighting
Written Assignment 1 5%
Written Assignment 2 10%
Written Assignment 3 15%
Exam 70%
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 1, August 5, 2009.

Updated May 07 2019 by SAS