• Offered by School of Sociology
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Sociology
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Mode of delivery In Person
Interest Groups, Advocacy and Public Policy (SOCY8004)

Interest groups are organisations that involve themselves in activities aimed to shape, develop and implement public policy. For some, groups are actors that undermine policy being developed and implemented in the public interest. Yet, for others, groups are viewed as important agents able to buttress the state's capacity to govern. This course examines the contemporary role of interest groups in the policy process against this fundamental debate in policy studies. Using a range of examples from Australia and beyond, the course probes the way groups form, how they sustain their organisations, the various ways in which they engage in public policy and their effectiveness. The course also considers other actors in the policy system, such as lobbyists and think tanks.

Learning Outcomes

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

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:  

1. Recognise the strengths and weaknesses of the research literature related to organised interests, interest groups and lobbying  

2. Independently apply relevant aspects of these theories and related methods/techniques to identify and investigate empirical policy contexts  

3. Critically assess and evaluate the utility of relevant theories and methods introduced as part of the class  

4. Produce written analytical work on a research topic connected to the course  

5. Orally present, discuss and critique their own ideas, and the ideas of others in a constructive fashion

Indicative Assessment

Assessment will be by two items of coursework and one in class presentation:
1. Essay 1 1500 word (35%) (LO 1,2,3,4) 

2. Essay 2 2500 word (55%) (LO 1,2,3,4) 

3. Presentation (10%) (LO 1,2,3,5)

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A mixture of lectures, workshops and seminars equivalent to 3 hours a week, plus seven hours of independent study.


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
2016 $3054
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2016 $4368
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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