• 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, Sociology, Politics
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Prof Darren Halpin
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in First Semester 2022
    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:

  1. recognise the strengths and weaknesses of the 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 contexts;
  3. critically assess and evaluate the utility of relevant theories and methods;
  4. produce written analytical work on a research topic; and
  5. present, discuss and critique their own ideas and the ideas of others in a constructive fashion.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Research Paper (1500 words) (35) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  2. Short Paper (1000 words) (20) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  3. Tutorial work (10) [LO 5]
  4. Final Exam (35) [LO 1,2,3,4]

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 12 units of 1000 level Political Science (POLS) courses, or with permission of the convenor.

Prescribed Texts




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
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
4353 21 Feb 2022 28 Feb 2022 31 Mar 2022 27 May 2022 In Person N/A

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