Analysis of Governmental Policy


Course Objective

• To acquire critical knowledge on, and to master the correct use of,
different policy models and theories;
• To further deepen your analytic skills with respect to the critical
assessment of a complex societal question or dilemma in the health and
life sciences;
• To learn to integrate scientific and non-scientific knowledge and
• To practice skills in data collection and analysis;
• To learn to translate research findings into policy recommendations;
• To get experienced in writing a policy advisory report and to set up
valid lines of argumentation;
• To improve your (communication) skills in working effectively in a
project team through team building, team analysis and feedback.

Course Content

Governmental policy affects millions of people and is thus object of
intensive debate and target of strong societal forces, like political
parties, media and interest groups. Being an advisor or policy maker
requires a thorough understanding of the dynamics of policy making, as
well as from the psychologal side as from the more social structures
and their influence on a deliberative democracy.
The course contains several lectures on theoretical concepts and models
concerning policy analysis. Furthermore you will be challenged, under
supervision, to apply and practice these concepts and models in the
project assignment. From the very first day, you will be part of a
project team of about ten students. You are confronted with a real
policy problem from an external commissioning institution (e. g. a non-
governmental organization, a Ministry, an advisory council). Within
those 4 weeks you will collect data by literature review and interviews
and conduct an interdisciplinary analysis on the basis of which you
provide an advice. Specific attention is paid to working in a project
team and team building. At the end of the course, you prepare an
advisory report. On the last day of the course you present the report to
the representative of the external institution who commissioned the
project. In that presentation your team will highlight the main results
of your analysis and defend the recommendations you propose.

Teaching Methods

Analysis of Governmental Policy is a parttime course of eight weeks (6
ECTS). Tuition methods include lectures, training workshops, and
self-study. Attendance to lectures and project meetings is compusory. In
our experience,
relying on self-study alone is insufficient to pass the exam.

Method of Assessment

40% Exam
40% Project report
10% Individual project performance
10% Presentation


Buse, K., Mays, N., & Walt, G. (2012). Making health policy. McGraw-Hill
Education (UK).

Target Audience

Compulsory course within the Masterprogramme Management, Policy
Analysis and Entrepreneurship for the health and life sciences (MPA)
and the Societal differentiation of Health, Life and Natural Sciences
Masters programmes. The course can be followed as an optional course for
other Life Sciences Master program students at the VU University, but
only when taken in parallel with Research Methods for Analyzing Complex
Problems AM_1182). Please contact the course coordinator prior to
enrollment if you belong to this group.

Additional Information

The case is policy analysis and advice, but the exercised methods and
skills are equally applicable to strategic marketing advice or
evaluation studies. The teams will be coached by workgroup tutors.

Custom Course Registration

Additional information about the schedule for work groups is available in Canvas.

Recommended background knowledge

The project integrates the research design made and lessons learned from
the first compulsory MPA course: Research Methods for Analyzing Complex

General Information

Course Code AM_470571
Credits 6 EC
Period P1
Course Level 500
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Science
Course Coordinator dr. R. de Wildt-Liesveld MSc
Examiner dr. R. de Wildt-Liesveld MSc
Teaching Staff A.E. Bunders MSc
drs. ir. F. Vogels
dr. O.E. Popa
J.W. Schuijer
drs. ir. A. Fraaije
dr. R. de Wildt-Liesveld MSc

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Study Group*, Lecture, Computer lab

*You cannot select a group yourself for this teaching method, you will be placed in a group.

Target audiences

This course is also available as: