Rethinking Public Policy Economics


The name of the course (Rethinking Public Policy Economics, RPPE) indicates that the content of RPPE would introduce a broader range of ideas explored within the field of public policy.  We get a deeper insight into behavioural psychology; economics concepts regarding decision making within the place of public policy (e.g. voting preferences/behaviour/policy making; political/behavioural issues). We touch on social welfare policies analysing different social welfare models and various countries' good practices (using case studies). 

We also get a deeper insight into  another example of public policy, namely education policy. This part of the course focuses on the origins and evolution of European Education Policy, moreover different models of education policy will be introduced (using case studies). 

We also touch on health and education policy including labour markets, qualifications, and the struggle over standards. In addition, we discover other related topics such as youth unemployment; early school leaving and relevant public policies; and good practices to tackle these issues (using case studies).

Programme details

Courses starts: 25 Apr 2024

Week 1: Introduction to Public Policy

Week 2: Behavioural Science and Public Policy- the role of government, freedom of choice and paternalism  

Week 3: Decision Making within the Place of Public Policy- voting preference; political/behavioural issues

Week 4: Social Welfare Policy- an overview

Week 5: Social Welfare Policies in different country contexts (using case studies); Pros and Cons

Week 6: Education and Public Policy

Week 7: Education Policies in different country contexts (using case studies); The origins and evolution of European Education Policy

Week 8: Health Care Policy. Inequalities in Access to Health Care

Week 9: Labour Market Policy. Labour Market Inequality

Week 10: Evaluation 

Digital Certification

To complete the course and receive a certificate, you will be required to attend at least 80% of the classes on the course and pass your final assignment. Upon successful completion, you will receive a link to download a University of Oxford digital certificate. Information on how to access this digital certificate will be emailed to you after the end of the course. The certificate will show your name, the course title and the dates of the course you attended. You will be able to download your certificate or share it on social media if you choose to do so.


Description Costs
Course Fee £257.00
Take this course for CATS points £10.00


If you are in receipt of a UK state benefit, you are a full-time student in the UK or a student on a low income, you may be eligible for a reduction of 50% of tuition fees. Please see the below link for full details:

Concessionary fees for short courses


Dr Szilvi Schmitsek

Szilvia Schmitsek graduated with her PhD in Employment Research (Institute for Employment Research, Warwick University) in 2018. She was awarded a Warwick Chancellor’s Scholarship for the duration of her studies. Her decision to pursue a PhD on Early School Leaving was strongly influenced by her commitment to disadvantaged youth, which has always been her main field of interest. Previously Szilvia gained an MPhil in Social Sciences Research and MA in Education, a BA in Social Science, and a Diploma in Media Studies.

Course aims

  • To introduce students to a broad range of ideas explored within the field of public policy, and to draw their attention to the fact that 'context matters'. More precisely, we discuss the importance of the given policy context when assessing policies.
  • To give students good knowledge and understanding of how to implement/develop policies and related processes.
  • To give students practice in the critical assessment of possible public policies.

Course Objectives:

  • To gain an understanding of some characteristics of public policy.
  • To understand the aims driving policy change in different areas and contexts.

Teaching methods

Students will be asked to read one or two relevant selections each week before the weekly face to face session. These sessions will provide an opportunity to ask questions and for class discussion on the topic.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course students will be expected to:

  • have a knowledge and understanding of different areas of public policy;
  • have learnt various concepts and models regarding public policy in different county contexts;
  • have gained confidence when expressing their views and ideas in open debate.

Assessment methods

Coursework will consist of either one essay of 1500 words or two or three smaller essays totalling this amount.

Students must submit a completed Declaration of Authorship form at the end of term when submitting your final piece of work. CATS points cannot be awarded without the aforementioned form - Declaration of Authorship form


To earn credit (CATS points) for your course you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee per course. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online.

Please use the 'Book' or 'Apply' button on this page. Alternatively, please complete an enrolment form (Word) or enrolment form (Pdf).

Level and demands

No prior knowledge or qualifications are required to undertake this course. 

Students who register for CATS points will receive a Record of CATS points on successful completion of their course assessment.

To earn credit (CATS points) you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee per course. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online.

Coursework is an integral part of all weekly classes and everyone enrolled will be expected to do coursework in order to benefit fully from the course. Only those who have registered for credit will be awarded CATS points for completing work at the required standard.

Students who do not register for CATS points during the enrolment process can either register for CATS points prior to the start of their course or retrospectively from the January 1st after the current full academic year has been completed. If you are enrolled on the Certificate of Higher Education you need to indicate this on the enrolment form but there is no additional registration fee.

Most of the Department's weekly classes have 10 or 20 CATS points assigned to them. 10 CATS points at FHEQ Level 4 usually consist of ten 2-hour sessions. 20 CATS points at FHEQ Level 4 usually consist of twenty 2-hour sessions. It is expected that, for every 2 hours of tuition you are given, you will engage in eight hours of private study.

Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS)