• Offered by School of Sociology
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Political Science
  • Areas of interest Policy Studies, Sociology, Politics
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Prof Darren Halpin
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in First Semester 2018
    See Future Offerings

This course involves the study of the impact of pressure groups (aka interest groups) on politics and policy-making in Australia. The role of sectional groups (such as business organisations and trade unions), promotional groups (including the environmental and women's lobbies), and professional independent lobbyists will be examined. The role of think-tanks in public policy is considered, as well as the impact of web-technology for the way groups operate.

This is a research-led course. It  places a very strong emphasis on understanding the theories that have guided the interest group field, including some of the old classics. It also requires participants to work with theories to make sense of the empirical world around them, to report findings, and to discuss implications. 

Learning Outcomes

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

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

1. Recognise the strengths and weaknesses of the literature related to organized interests, interest groups and lobbying;
2. Independently apply relevant aspects of these theories and related methods/techniques to identify and investigate empirical contexts;
3. Critically assess and evaluate the utility of relevant theories and methods;
4. Produce written analytical work on a research topic; and
5. Orally present, discuss and critique their own ideas and the ideas of others in a constructive fashion.

Indicative Assessment

Two x 2,500 word essays (45% each) [Learning Outcomes 1, 2, 3, 4]

Tutorial work (10%) [Learning Outcome 5]


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130 hours of total student learning time made up from:
a) 36 hours of contact over 12 weeks: 24 hours of lectures, and 12 hours of tutorials; and,
b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed12 units of 1000 level POLS courses; or permission of the convenor




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
2018 $3420
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2018 $4860
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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.

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
4350 19 Feb 2018 27 Feb 2018 31 Mar 2018 25 May 2018 In Person N/A

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