• Offered by School of Politics and International Relations
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Political Science
  • Areas of interest Policy Studies, Political Sciences
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Maria Maley
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in First Semester 2021
    See Future Offerings

The course provides an introduction to the study of public administration – in other words, the nature of government, how it is organised, how the political and administrative elements work together, and how it relates to citizens. It will help you understand why certain decisions are made by ministers, where power lies in government, why disasters and government failures occur, why governments sell off public assets and contract out functions, why some issues are considered to be problems and some aren’t, and the shadowy world of political advisers. We look at how fundamental ideas and shifts in the shape of the state are played out everyday in newsfeeds. The course uses case studies as ways of learning about theories and current controversies.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. understand the theoretical debates about the nature of government and bureaucracy, including administrative theory and bureaucratic behaviour;
  2. understand the development of New Public Management, its rationale and implications and its critics;
  3. understand the concepts of patronage and politicisation and how these relate to fundamental political-administrative traditions;
  4. understand the emergence of political staff, and their role, influence and impact around the world; and
  5. demonstrate advanced skills in oral and written communication, research and critical analysis.

Indicative Assessment

  1. 2,500 word written work (40) [LO 1,2,3,5]
  2. Final examination (40) [LO 4,5]
  3. Tutorial participation (5) [LO 5]
  4. Seminar presentation (15) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]

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: 24 hours of lectures, and 12 hours of tutorials; and

b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed either 12 units of 1000 level Political Science (POLS) courses or have completed POLS1002 and SOCY1002, or with permission of the convener.

Prescribed Texts

Not applicable.


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

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you 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). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found 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
2021 $3900
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2021 $5580
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
4171 22 Feb 2021 01 Mar 2021 31 Mar 2021 28 May 2021 In Person View

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