Fall 2019 - REM 644 G100

Public Policy Analysis and Administration (5)

Class Number: 1397

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu, We 12:30 PM – 2:20 PM
    TASC2 7520, Burnaby

  • Instructor:

    Sean Markey
    1 778 782-4702
    Office: TASC 1 - 8241
    Office Hours: Tuesday: 11:00 am to 12:00 pm



Analysis of methods of policy-making and problem solving with particular emphasis on natural resource issues. Topics include goal setting, problem definition, program scheduling, policy evaluation, policy implementation and public administration. A practical analysis of the structure and processes surrounding major contemporary policy issues. Equivalent Courses: MRM644


This course provides an introduction to public policy and policy analysis, with a focus on problems in resource and environmental management. In addition to building an understanding of what public policy is and how policy analysis works, the course will examine:

  • Theories and models of the policy process;
  • The nature of policy problems and the role of problem definition in policy making;
  • The relationship between science and policy;
  • Stages or functions in the policy-making process and the participants and practices commonly associated with each;
  • The instruments that are available for achieving policy aims;
  • Methods and criteria for evaluating policy processes and outcomes;
  • Conceptual frameworks for analyzing and organizing knowledge about policy and socio-ecological systems.


You will learn to:

  1. Understand prominent theories of the policy process and how they can be used to study the development and fate of policies.
  2. Assess the strengths and weaknesses of policies, critique the rationales offered in support of policies, and understand the processes through which policies are designed, adopted and implemented.
  3. Analyze and effectively intervene in policy processes, including applying knowledge from other REM courses to the design and analysis of policies.
  4. Conduct and present (orally and in writing) a policy analysis of a resource and environmental management problem, in which you evaluate alternative strategies and make a recommendation to decision makers to address the problem.


  • Class Participation 20%
  • Assignments 80%


Please note: Classes will be held in TASC 1, Room 7520 (Planning Room).



Howlett, M., M. Ramesh, and A. Perl. 2009. Studying public policy: Policy cycles and policy subsystems. Third Edition. Oxford, U.K: Oxford University Press. (On order at the SFU Bookstore)
ISBN: 9780195428025

We will supplement the required texts with additional on-line (electronic) required reading and suggested reading for each class.


Araral, E., S. Fritzen, M. Howlett, M. Ramesh, and X. Wu (eds.). 2012. Routledge handbook of public policy. New York: Routledge. (Available online through SFU library)

Ascher, W.A. 2009. Bringing in the future: Strategies for farsightedness and sustainability in developing countries. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Clark, T.W. 2002/2010. The policy process: A practical guide for natural resource professionals. New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press.

Dobuzinskis, L., M. Howlett, and D. Laycock. 2007. Policy analysis in Canada: The state of the art. Toronto, Ontario: University of Toronto Press.

Dunn, W.N. 2008. Public policy analysis: An introduction. Fourth edition. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Fischer, F., G.J. Miller, and M.S. Sidney (eds.). 2007. Handbook of public policy analysis: theory, politics and methods. Boca Raton: CRC Press.

Friedman, Lee S. 2002. The microeconomics of policy analysis. Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press.

Gregory, R., Failing, L., Harstone, M., Long, G., McDaniels, T., & Ohlson, D. (2012). Structured decision making: A practical guide to environmental management choices. Chichester, West Sussex, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.

Hammond, J.S., R.L. Keeney, and H. Raiffa. 1999. Smart choices: A practical guide to making better decisions. Boston, Massachusetts: Harvard Business School Press.

Michael, M., M. Rein, and R.E. Goodin (eds.). 2006. The Oxford handbook of public policy. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. (Available online through SFU library)

Nash, B.G. 2010. Legislation made easy: A guide to the complexities of legislation. Third edition. Victoria, BC: Crown Publications.

Pal, L.A. 2005. Beyond policy analysis: Public issue management in turbulent times. Third edition. Scarborough, Ontario: Nelson Thomson Learning.

Parsons, W. 1995. Public policy: An introduction to the theory and practice of policy analysis. Cheltenham, U.K: Edward Elgar Publishing Limited.

Sabatier, P.A. (ed.). 2007. Theories of the policy process. Second edition. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press.

Thaler, R.H., and C.R. Sunstein. 2008. Nudge: Improving decisions about health, wealth, and happiness. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Weimer, D.L., and A.R. Vining. 2010. Policy analysis: Concepts and practice. Fifth edition. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

Graduate Studies Notes:

Important dates and deadlines for graduate students are found here: http://www.sfu.ca/dean-gradstudies/current/important_dates/guidelines.html. The deadline to drop a course with a 100% refund is the end of week 2. The deadline to drop with no notation on your transcript is the end of week 3.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html