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Master Syllabus

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Administrative Unit: History and Political Science Department
Course Prefix and Number: POSC 315
Course Title: *American Public Policy
Number of:
Credit Hours 3
Lecture Hours 3
Lab Hours 0
Catalog Description:

The various ways the American political system decides what issues deserve attention, how it makes policy decisions, and the implementation of those decisions. Theoretical models for decision-making are discussed as are specific examples of public policy such as environmental policy, educational policy, health care policy, and more. Cross listed as PADM 315. Prerequisites: ENGL 112, POSC 111.

Prerequisite(s) / Corequisite(s):

ENGL 112, POSC 111

Course Rotation for Day Program:

Offered even Spring.

Text(s): Most current editions of the following:

Any text relevant to the topic.

American Public Policy: An Introduction
By Cochran, et. al (Wadsworth)
Public Policy: An Evoluntionary Approach
By Stewart, et. al (Wadsworth)
Public Policymaking: An Introduction
By Anderson, James (Wadsworth)
Public Policymaking: An Introduction by Anderson
By Shafritz and Borick (Pearson)
Understanding Public Policy
By Dye, Thomas (Pearson)
Course Objectives
  • To understand the processes whereby policy issues are brought to the attention of policy makers.
  • To understand the development of important issues into public policy.
  • To be familiar with various theoretical frameworks for public policy decision making.
  • To understand the major steps in the policy process.
  • To become familiar with the political and bureaucratic actors in the policy process.
  • To understand the policy implementation process and factors influencing implementation.
Measurable Learning
  • Explain the various steps in the policy process.
  • Identify factors influencing the development and implementation of public policy.
  • Describe and explain theoretical decision-making models.
Topical Outline:

NOTE: A significant, intensive writing component is required for this course. This requirement may be satisfied by a single type-written paper of ten to twelve pages in length (or longer), properly cited, or by multiple paper assignments of equivalent length.

  • The policy process: Idea development, policy making, policy implementation.
  • Policy making insitutions and actors.
  • Theories of decision making.
  • Expamples of public policies such as: Health care, foreign and defense policy, environmental policy, welfare, tax policy, civil rights and affirmative action, energy policy, crime policy, education.

Recommended maximum class size for this course: 30

Library Resources:

Online databases are available at You may access them from off-campus using your CougarTrack login and password when prompted.

Prepared by: David Roebuck Date: August 5, 2014
NOTE: The intention of this master course syllabus is to provide an outline of the contents of this course, as specified by the faculty of Columbia College, regardless of who teaches the course, when it is taught, or where it is taught. Faculty members teaching this course for Columbia College are expected to facilitate learning pursuant to the course objectives and cover the subjects listed in the topical outline. However, instructors are also encouraged to cover additional topics of interest so long as those topics are relevant to the course's subject. The master syllabus is, therefore, prescriptive in nature but also allows for a diversity of individual approaches to course material.

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