• Offered by School of Politics and International Relations
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Classification Advanced
  • Course subject Political Science
  • Areas of interest Policy Studies, Political Communication, Political Sciences, Politics
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Prof Darren Halpin
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in First Semester 2019
    See Future Offerings

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 rang e 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 have the knowledge and skills 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;
  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

Essay 1, 3000 words (45%) (Learning Outcomes 1,2,3,4)
Essay 2, 3000 words (45%) (Learning Outcomes 1,2,3,4)
Presentation, 10  minutes (10%) (Learning Outcomes 1,2,3,5)

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.


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

Requisite and Incompatibility

You are not able to enrol in this course if you have previously completed SOCY8004.


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
2019 $3840
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2019 $5460
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.

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
4588 25 Feb 2019 04 Mar 2019 31 Mar 2019 31 May 2019 In Person View

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