• Offered by Policy and Governance Program
  • ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Classification Advanced
  • Course subject Policy and Governance
  • Areas of interest Policy Studies
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Mode of delivery In Person

This is a course about language and public policy. The primary emphasis is on the role of communication in the policy process. Writing Public Policy is intended to provide at Masters level the necessary advanced analytical and communication skills for public policy practitioners, and is aimed specifically at those who are required to engage in high-level written work for public communication.


Public policy is about solving problems affecting people in society. Effective communication produces useful information and also makes information intelligible in context.  Practitioners require analytical and communication skills of a high order, and the aim of this course is to provide practical experience and understanding of key aspects of public and political communication, especially how to recognise and write effective English. The course teaches public policy work through practice in discursive governance as a means of highlighting and demonstrating the difficulty and general untidiness of democratic public policy processes. 


The broad area of public communication as a distinct field will be traversed, and students will work with key texts with a view to understanding how and why they are effective. Hands-on workshops will introduce students to a range of analytical and critical skills, and students will be required to use this knowledge in practical writing and critical exercises.  .


This is not a course about writing internal bureaucratic minutes and memos for ministers, but rather with a focus on preparing public documents for public consumption. It is not a course in 'writing for the public service'. What it does is seek to identify the role of communication in public policy and policy advocacy, analyse the key elements of communication and provide experience of the dynamics of public policy discourse through simulated events of governance.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

On completion of this practical, experiential and interactive course students will:

  • Be familiar with the principles of clear writing
  • Understand more clearly the role of communication in public policy
  • Have a general ability to evaluate a communication’s potential impact
  • Have developed an ability to consider contexts rhetorically, strategically and ethically
  • Have acquired a critical ability to  distinguish good writing from bad
  • Have learnt critical analytical skills in evaluating writing and communication
  • Have been required to demonstrate effective writing
  • Have acquired an understanding of the uses and purposes to which writing is directed, and
  • Have honed skills in practical writing exercises.

Indicative Assessment

Students will be required to submit a short 1000 word paper before classes begin (20%), an article will be distributed for critical analysis (20%), a short reflective paper on the course (10%) and a major paper (either a speech or a submission to a parliamentary inquiry or a critical research essay on agreed topic, 50%)  

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


The course requires 30 contact hours.

5000 words of assessable written tasks.

Prescribed Texts

Catherin Smith, Writing Public Policy, OUP.

George Orwell, "Politics and the English Language" (essay)



Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2015 $3762
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2015 $4566
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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There are no current offerings for this course.

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