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MA Ethics, Politics and Public Policy

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  • Objectives
    The programme: - imparts an understanding of the main normative ethical theories being developed in Anglo-American philosophy as they apply to public policy; - applies to policy issues theories of procedural justice and deliberative democracy from political theory; - helps to prepare graduates to enter employment in the policy departments of non-governmental organizations, including trades unions, as well as in government itself, journalism or for further postgraduate study; - provides opportunities for students to develop and demonstrate knowledge of current problems, and to develop skills, in the outcomes listed below. The outcomes listed below represent the minimum that might be expected of a graduate student. It is the intention of the Department that the vast majority of graduates will achieve significantly more. Details of the different standards expected for the various classes of degree can be found in the relevant Student Handbook produced annually by departments.
  • Entry requirements
    Entry Qualifications BA of Upper Second Class standard or above in Philosophy or other related area, or an equivalent qualification. Language requirements : IELTS 7.0 TOEFL 600 and TOEFL (computer) 250 or comparable.
  • Academic Title
    MA Ethics, Politics and Public Policy
  • Course description

    Course Description
    This MA investigates the ethical dimension of public policy and corporate behaviour, a dimension that is of increasing importance. Amongst the areas that may be considered from this perspective are health policy, the environment, international relations, business investment and planning, employment relations, and the financing of public policy. Students on the MA may choose from modules in philosophy, politics, law and sociology.

    Modules and Options

    The lists of modules below represent the range of options available for each year of study. This may not be a complete list of the options you will study, and may be subject to change, so please contact the department for further details.

    Stage 1

        BRITISH POLITICAL PARTIES
        CENTRAL ISSUES IN UNITED KINGDOM PUBLIC LAW
        COLONIALISM, CULTURE AND GLOBALIZATION
        Compulsory: ETHICS, POLITICS AND PUBLIC POLICY: MA SEMINAR
        CONSUMER CULTURE
        CONTEMPORARY THEORIES OF JUSTICE
        Core: DISSERTATION: MA IN ETHICS, POLITICS AND PUBLIC POLICY
        CURRENT ISSUES IN UK HUMAN RIGHTS LAW
        DEMOCRACY, CITIZENSHIP AND CONSTITUTIONS
        ENVIRONMENTAL POLITICS
        ETHICS II
        EUROPEAN COMPETITION LAW
        EUROPEAN ENVIRONMENTAL LAW
        EUROPEAN UNION LAW AND HUMAN RIGHTS
        FREE MOVEMENT OF GOODS AND SERVICES IN THE INTERNAL MARKET
        GENDER, JUSTICE AND DEVELOPMENT
        HUMAN RIGHTS ACROSS NATIONS AND CULTURES
        HUMAN RIGHTS AND DEVELOPMENT
        HUMAN RIGHTS FOR WOMEN
        HUMAN RIGHTS IN PHILOSOPHY AND LAW
        HUMAN RIGHTS IN THE NEW EUROPE
        INTERNATIONAL SECURITY STUDIES
        INTERNATIONAL TRADE AND HUMAN RIGHTS
        INTRODUCTION TO THE LAW OF ARMED CONFLICTS
        PHILOSOPHY AND RIGHTS IIB
        POLITICAL PRINCIPLES, HUMAN RIGHTS AND PUBLIC POLICY
        SOCIAL MOVEMENTS AND ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES
        SOCIETY AND THE ENVIRONMENT: THE GLOBAL CHALLENGE
        SOCIOLOGY OF DEVELOPMENT IN THE AGE OF GLOBALISATION
        SOCIOLOGY OF HUMAN RIGHTS 2: SELECTED SPECIAL TOPICS
        THE CONTEMPORARY NATION STATE
        THE PROTECTION OF REFUGEES AND DISPLACED PERSONS IN INTERNATIONAL LAW
        THEORIES OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

    Teaching and Assessment Methods
     
    A: Knowledge and Understanding
        Learning Outcomes
        A1 : Current public policy debates concerning the environment, including the ethical issues raised by the treatment of animals.
        A2 : Current public policy debates covering a range of issues concerning public participation, justice in the distribution of resources and paternalism in public policy, but with special focus on bioethics.
        A3 : Controversies within Anglo-American philosophy concerning the application of normative ethical theories.
        A4 : Controversies within contemporary social science about the proper theoretical approaches to public policy issues.

        Teaching Methods
        Outcomes A1-4 are achieved through attendance and participation in the compulsory module and the MA Seminar in Ethics, Politics and Public Policy. In the MA Seminar students are directed to study public policy documents, and extensive case-study material. Each session of the Seminar involves discussion, including discussion of student presentations.

        The aims above are also achieved by occasional presentations from those active in the public policy process.

        Assessment Methods
        Knowledge of A1-4 is formally assessed in the MA Seminar and in the compulsory module. A number of methods of assessment are used: essays, including extended essays, formal term-end or year-end 3-hour examinations, class presentations, or all 3, and a dissertation.

    B: Intellectual/Cognitive Skills
        Learning Outcomes
        B1 : Deal constructively and in an orderly way with complex policy issues, even when information is incomplete.
        B2 : Communicate their conclusions clearly.
        B3 : Demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems, and in collecting and commenting on complex information, including evidence given to commissions of inquiry and parliament.
        B4 : Learning how public policy practice might be extended by integrating ethical analysis into relevant deliberations.

        Teaching Methods
        Skills B1-3 are acquired in all modules and in the MA Seminar by means of teaching, discussion and assigned oral presentations on topics agreed with students.

        Skill B4 is developed in essays for modules and in work on the dissertation which engage live public policy issues.

        Assessment Methods
        Skills B1-4 are formally assessed through the marking of essays and the dissertation. Students are required to give a public policy briefing as a presentation, which is subsequently written up.

    C: Practical Skills
        Learning Outcomes
        C1 : Retrieve, evaluate and select for relevance and credibility, information from a wide range of sources.
        C2 : Plan, undertake and report a bibliographically-based piece of research.
        C3 : Develop techniques for assessing practical proposals.

        Teaching Methods
        Graduates learn how to read and appraise sophisticated public policy reports. They are also directed to relevant government and NGO material, some in the library, some available over the internet. Several sessions of the MA Seminar are devoted to dissertation preparation. Some sessions of the MA Seminar allow students to present their ideas for dissertations to one another, and to get advice, criticism from colleagues and staff.

        Assessment Methods
        Skills C1-3 are developed through formal supervision and marking of the dissertation, as well as comments and marking of coursework essays.

    D: Key Skills
        Learning Outcomes
        D1 : Write succinctly and to the point about complex policy matters.
        D2 : Ability to use relevant technology to research and present written work (including library catalogues, searchable databases and internet sources).
        D4 : Apply the techniques of several different bodies of theory to the same policy problems.
        D6 : Students should have become able to: -organise their work within deadlines; -select and organise their reading in relation to specific topics; -reflect on their own learning and performance and make constructive use of feedback; -learn independently.

        Teaching Methods
        D1: All modules require students to participate actively in discussion, and co-operate with colleagues in arriving at shared results on exercises. All modules in the scheme require students to work independently on essays, and there is a dissertation component rigorously monitored for plagiarism. Supervisors warn students against being too derivative. There is an emphasis in the MA Seminar and in most of the modules on case studies that illustrate the practical and political realities of policy formulation and implementation.

        D2: Students are directed to important sources of policy deliberation.

        D4: The MA Seminar requires an interdisciplinary approach.

        D6: Work on essays and the dissertation is valuable preparation for doctoral work.

        Assessment Methods
        Skills D1, 2, 4 and 6 are assessed through coursework and the dissertation.

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