• Offered by Crawford School of Public Policy
  • ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Classification Advanced
  • Course subject Policy and Governance
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in Second Semester 2017
    See Future Offerings
Are we all democrats now? As a first stab, we might be tempted to say yes: trends over the last thirty years or so suggest a global resurgence in democracy from central and eastern Europe, to Latin America and parts of east Asia, to some African countries and now the Arab Spring. The aim of this course is to introduce the study of governance and institutions in order to help students see that this can only ever be a superficial answer. The course will provide a series of concepts and topics to furnish students with the capability to offer many and varied qualifications to the claim that democratic governance is now universal. Understanding institutional variation, both similarities and differences, in democratic systems of government across boundaries and over time is an essential part of the study of public policy and administration.
Our job in this course is to pick through the celebrations of democracy and democratisation, in order to consider differences in the scope and range of authority of democratic governance and institutions. We will do this by comparing cases, both old and new democracies, to appreciate the different textures of democracy around the world. In particular, we will use the theme of the relationship between democratic values and the value of human rights to organise our thinking about democratic limits and the quality of democratic performance.  This theme will run consistently through the different topics and concepts in the unit: the state and civil society; capitalism; citizenship; welfare states; gender; multiculturalism; and rational policy-making.

Learning Outcomes

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

On successful completion of this course students will have:
1. demonstrated a critical understanding of the leading analytical frameworks in the study of governance and institutions;
2. analysed the relative advantages and disadvantages of different types of democratic systems;
3. developed the aptitude to make convincing recommendations of the most appropriate democratic institutions and governance structures for the achievement of policy goals;
4. demonstrated the capacity to research and critically analyse the different democratic systems;
5. demonstrated the ability to think independently, and persuasively communicate ideas in governance and institutions;
6. practised professional skills to i) work effectively in a group; ii) present clearly and concisely; and iii) facilitate the learning of others.

Other Information

Delivery Mode:

On Campus. 

Indicative Assessment

Reflective paper (10%), Major essay (40%), Oral presentation and seminar paper (25%) Examination (25%)

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.


Contact hours are 30 in total, divided between lectures and seminars) Students are expect to spend approximately 60 additional hours on readings and assignments to complete the course.

Prescribed Texts

Democracy: A Beginner’s Guide (David Beetham)

Reading brick 

Assumed Knowledge

None. This is a foundational course.


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
2017 $3420
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2017 $4878
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
7880 24 Jul 2017 31 Jul 2017 31 Aug 2017 27 Oct 2017 In Person N/A

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