MPHIL/PHD IN PUBLIC POLICY

Course List

Core Courses 

  • PPOL 5110, PPOL 5111, PPOL 5120, PPOL 5130 and One of the following quantitative methodology courses: 
    • ECON 5280, PPOL 5240, SOSC 5090, SOSC 5340, SOSC 5700
Core Courses
  • PPOL 5110
    Foundations in Public Policy
    3 Credits


    This course is required for all first-year MPhil/PhD students in Public Policy. The course will provide an advanced foundation in the study and practice of public policy at the level required for graduate study. The course will cover both the historic foundations of policy studies, as well as emerging approaches and directions. As the study of public policy is inherently interdisciplinary, it will include perspectives from political science, public policy, economics, business and other aspects of social science. It will take a broad view of public policy, including taking up some of the core literature on public management and public administration.


    Intended Learning Outcomes

    On successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

    • Demonstrate solid fundamental knowledge on how public policies are developed, approved and implemented.

    • Apply a public policy perspective to evaluate and compare core literature and current issues on public management and public administration.

    • Apply a range of qualitative and quantitative research methods to public research studies.

    • Develop holistic perspectives including political science, public policy, economics, business and other aspects of social science.

  • PPOL 5111
    Foundation in Public Policy II
    3 credits

    This course will introduce postgraduate students to advanced topics in public policy theory. It will build on PPOL 5110, with a greater focus on key topics including public management and administration; multilevel and network governance; policy evaluation; institutional analysis; and regulatory structures and implementation.

  • PPOL 5120
    Research Methods in Public Policy
    3 Credits


    This course is required for all first-year MPhil/PhD students in Public Policy. The purposes of the course are to introduce to students the key concepts in research methods, and to help them develop skills in the design of empirical research used in the analysis of policy problems. The course aims to train students to be able to apply various research designs in conducting rigorous policy research in their chosen fields, as well as develop the ability to critically evaluate policy research products. A specific emphasis will be on the use of quasi-experimental designs in policy research, as well as on their potentials and limitations.


    Intended Learning Outcomes

    On successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

    • Identify the logic of policy research on causal relationship.

    • Demonstrate solid knowledge on key research designs for generalized causal inference and their potentials and limitations.

    • Design and develop a research proposal on a given research topic in their chosen fields.

    • Apply practical experiences and techniques in conducting qualitative analysis.

  • PPOL 5130
    Microeconomics and Public Policy
    3 Credits


    The course covers Microeconomic core modules concerning consumer, firm, and market with emphasis on public policy application. A policy topic follows each module enquires students to apply economic model to analyze real world cases and evaluate policies.


    Intended Learning Outcomes

    On successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

    • Apply economic reasoning to the analysis of selected contemporary economic problems.

    • Compare and exemplify how individual, business and government interact in various market structures to determine pricing and quantity of goods and services produced and consumed.

    • Analyze the efficiency and equity implications of government interference in markets.

    • Apply economic problem solving skills to evaluate the opportunities and challenges of the increasing globalization of the world economy.

  • PPOL 6690
    MPhil Thesis Research
    3 Credits


    Master's thesis research supervised by a faculty member. A successful defense of the thesis leads to the grade Pass. No course credit is assigned.


    Intended Learning Outcomes

    On successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

    • Design, develop and conduct a research proposal on science/technology-based public policy research in their chosen fields.
  • PPOL 7990
    Doctoral Thesis Research
    3 Credits


    Original and independent doctoral thesis research. A successful defense of the thesis leads to the grade Pass. No course credit is assigned.


    Intended Learning Outcomes

    On successful completion of the course, students will be able to design, develop and conduct a research proposal on science/technology-based public policy research in their chosen fields.

  • ECON 5280
    Applied Econometrics
    4 Credits

    Ordinary least squares; multiple regression; variable selection and model specification; multicollinearity; heteroscedasticity and serial correlation; errors in variables; Endogeneity and instrumental variable regression; panel data model.


    Intended Learning Outcomes

    On successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

     

    • Demonstrate a reasonably solid theoretical foundation and practical knowledge in econometrics.

    • Carry out empirical research and interpret empirical results in economics.

  • PPOL 5240
    Advanced Analytical Methods for Public Policy
    3 credits

    This course will build on the core methodology and data analysis courses, and enable students to develop the ability to use a range of different analytical methodologies for the assessment of public policies for recommendation, decision making and evaluation. The emphasis is on application in policy problems, and a focus on dealing with complexity and uncertainty. Methods presented in the course will include both quantitative and qualitative approaches, and will be taught using case studies and modeling exercises.

    Intended Learning Outcomes

    On successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

    • Assess a range of techniques, in order to choose the best approach(es) for a particular policy analysis problem of interest.

    • Critique the analytical approaches used in existing policy analysis.

    • Apply techniques and frameworks presented in the course to actual policy analysis problems.

    • Integrate considerations of complexity and uncertainty into analytical problems.

  • SOSC 5090
    Quantitative Methods for Social Science Research
    3 credits

    An introduction to econometric and statistical approaches to social science research. Necessary to understand much of social science literature and topics in research methods. Focuses on applications to students' own research and includes computer exercises. Enrollment by students from outside the Division of Social Science by instructor permission.

    Intended Learning Outcomes

    On successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

    • Explain basic statistical concepts and elementary econometric methods used in social science research.

    • Use basic functions of a popular statistical package to analyze real social and economic data.

    • Use relevant data to test hypotheses, conduct statistical inference, and interpret regression results of a research question.

    • Clearly present the research work in both oral and written formats.

  • SOSC 5340
    Econometric Approaches to Social Science Research
    3 credits

    Management and analysis of multivariate data sets, including simple and multiple regression analysis, and econometric approaches to causal inference. Enrollment by students from outside the Division of Social Science by instructor permission.

    Intended Learning Outcomes

    • Explain the key elements of a causal argument.

    • Articulate the challenges to establishing causality in social sciences research and demonstrate some of the statistical and econometric methods used to address these challenges.

    • Critique and defend a high-quality research paper in the social sciences.

    • Gain hands-on experience of writing an presenting a research paper that aims to eventually be publishable in an academic journal.

    • Use a statistical package effectively for analyzing socioeconomic data and presenting outcomes in a reader friendly way.

  • SOSC 5700
    Categorical Data Analysis
    3 credits

    This seminar will focus on sociological (and other social scientific) applications of limited-dependent and qualitative variables. A family of statistical models, including logit/probit models, log-linear models, one-dimensional and multidimensional association models, multinomial logistic and probit models, ordered logit and probit models, and models with sample selection and truncation. The only prerequisite of the class is that students must have already taken courses on multiple regression (SOSC 5090) or its equivalent.

ELECTIVE COURSES
  • PPOL 5180 Risk and Regulation 3 credits

    The emergence of regulatory systems is one of the major government advances of the 20th and 21st century. These regulatory regimes are responses to different types of risks-economic/financial, environmental, health, safety and others. This course will examine the concept of risk, and introduce students to the different types of regulatory structures that have been developed to address these.

  • PPOL 5190 Policy Analysis and Design for Sustainable Development 3 credits

    Sustainable development problems pose some of the greatest challenges for policy makers around the world, and effective policy design requires analysts with strong subject matter understanding, creativity, and the ability to incorporate diverse perspectives and approaches. The goal of this course is to advance students' abilities to apply tools and methods, including analytical techniques and presentation skills, which are required for effective policy analysis and decision making in this area. Coursework in the course will be largely case based, and topical issues will be presented and mastered alongside different analytical skills and techniques.

  • PPOL 5200 Aging, Demography and Policy 3 credits

    Changes in the age structure of populations are likely to have highly significant policy outcomes. Perhaps the most significant relates to population ageing which can result in the twin effect of shrinking the labour force and increasing dependency (including pensions and healthcare). This course will explore how these transitions come about, what the policy challenges might be, and how policies can serve to ameliorate them.

  • PPOL 5210 Environmental Policy and Natural Resource Management 3 credits

    This course is intended for students interested in environmental policies and management of the natural environment and its resources. The course provides students with a basic toolkit of quantitative and qualitative techniques used in resource planning and analysis, together with case studies with which to gain experience of their application. Students will also gain knowledge of regional and global directives affecting the environment, as well as approaches to policy evaluation.

  • PPOL 5220 Complex Systems for Policy 3 credits

    Many of the problems facing policy makers are considered to be complex, dynamic, socio-technical systems that display emergent structures and behaviors. This requires policy makers and administrators to develop competencies in both analysis and management. The course will focus on applications in policy, with a focus on science and technology such as natural systems with policy making, and complex engineering systems. Students will be introduced to some of the key elements of complex systems, including non-linearities, emergence, networks, and system dynamics. They will also learn about management techniques, specifically learning and adaptive management, that are needed for policy related to complex systems.

  • PPOL 5230 Technology, Innovation and Public Policy 3 credits

    This course will explore the nature of science and technology, their funding, and their use in policy. The course will have two parts: technology and innovation policy. In the first part, students will learn about how science, technology and innovation are influenced by policy, including R&D funding, education, and other policies that governments use to promote the development of new knowledge. In the second part, which will focus on how knowledge and expertise are used by policy makers, students will investigate how science and engineering (quantitative) evidence and knowledge are integrated with social science (quantitative and qualitative) knowledge, and the limitations and types of uncertainty attached to different types of knowledge.

  • PPOL 5250 Innovation and Sustainability 3 credits

    This course examines the role of innovation in achieving sustainability. Among the issues to be discussed include models of technological change, systems approaches to innovation, intellectual property rights, research and development, and case studies in various sectors concerning sustainability. The mechanisms of co-evolution of technology and institutions in facilitating innovation for sustainability are examined from a global perspective.

  • PPOL 5270 Finance, Financial Crises and Economic Development 3 credits

    The global financial crisis was not just an economic calamity. It also precipitated a crisis in economic and political ideas. The pre-crisis faith that free markets produce optimal outcomes has been significantly eroded. A decade on, global policymakers still struggle to engage with a more empirically-grounded and less dogmatic brand of economics, and the differing prescriptions that it might suggest. Students of economics need to have an overview of the causes and consequences of the crisis, the ideas that contributed to it, and how those ideas and their policy implications are being challenged and debated. Most importantly, students of public policy need to be able to understand what went wrong – both in economics, and in policy.

  • PPOL 6000 Independent Study 1 - 3 credits

    Independent study in a designated subject under direct guidance of a faculty member to provide students the advanced knowledge and research skill sets on a public policy topic. Required readings, tutorial discussions, and submission of report(s) will be used for assessment. The course may be repeated for credit if different topics are studied. Graded P or F.

  • PPOL 6100 Special Topics in Public Policy 1 - 3 credits

    This course covers emerging topics of public policy concerns not covered in the present curriculum. The course aims to provide students with the advanced knowledge and research skill sets on a public policy topic, Required readings, tutorial discussions, and submission of report(s) will be used for assessment. The course may be repeated for credit if different topics are studied.

  • BIEN 5050 Global Health Ethics 3 Credits

    Through real-time videoconferencing with participants from different countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Mexico, and Philippines, this ONLINE course aims at helping students learn the definitions of global health ethics and bioethics, the different protocol and systems in place to ensure adherence to ethical principles, and how different stakeholders and cultures may interpret ethics differently. Through case studies on ethical challenges from real-world situations, students will analyze and discuss the complexities of global health practice and research ethics in a global context. This course is co-offered with the University of Southern California. Besides the joint LIVE sessions, face-to-face sessions and group projects are also arranged for the introduction of background knowledge, case studies, group project discussion, and technical support.

  • ECON 5280 Applied Econometrics 4 Credits

    Ordinary least squares; multiple regression; variable selection and model specification; multicollinearity; heteroscedasticity and serial correlation; errors in variables; Endogeneity and instrumental variable regression; panel data model.

  • ECON 5370 Using Data for Economics Analysis 3 Credits

    This course puts econometrics theories and models into practice. Students are required to write their own program with R, and do a term project. Topics included linear regression, panel data analysis and time series analysis regarding estimation, hypothesis testing and statistical interference.

  • ENVR 5250 Environmental Economics and Management 3 Credits

    The course is designed to introduce students to key contemporary concepts in environmental economics and equip them with the approaches in economics that are generally applied to analyze environmental problems and policies.

  • ENVR 5260 Environmental Policy and Management 3 Credits

    This course focuses both on how to make and how to study environmental policy and management. It will review major theories related to the formulation of environmental policies, including government regulation and economic incentives, and discuss the types of policy measures implemented in various public and business sectors. The discussion of environmental problems and policies will focus on examples that are relevant for Hong Kong and the Chinese Mainland, but will also include the experience of other countries and the debate surrounding global environmental issues.

  • ENVR 5290 Climate Change: Science, Policy and Management 3 Credits

    This course prepares graduate students for the development of interdisciplinary research on environmental science, policy and management through a detailed investigation of climate change issues. Based on a review of the scientific research and models that have been developed through international cooperation, students will discuss relevant approaches of atmospheric and oceanographic science and the likely consequences in terms of climate change. In addition, the various technologies of mitigation and adaptation will be surveyed, leading to a discussion of appropriate policies for managing climate change at the global or national level.

  • ENVR 6060 Sustainability Economics 3 Credits

    This course is designed to give students an interdisciplinary understanding on the concepts of sustainability, and its contemporary trend of development. The course will cover component concepts on sustainability, its implications from resource (renewable and non-renewable) exploitation; the strength of sustainability with respect to human made or natural capitals; the assessment for sustainability; and the inter-relationships between sustainability and business, governmental policy and human communities.

  • MGCS 5022 Political Economy of China 3 Credits

    This course provides an overview of the trajectory of China’s political and economic development since 1949 and examines the driving forces behind pivotal events/developments (e.g., the socialist transformation in the 1950s, the Cultural Revolution spanning 1966-1976, and the start of economic reforms in 1978) and fundamentals trends of change (e.g., post-revolution industrialization, and post-Mao marketization, internationalization, and privatization).

  • MGCS 5022 Political Economy of China 3 Credits

    This course provides an overview of the trajectory of China’s political and economic development since 1949 and examines the driving forces behind pivotal events/developments (e.g., the socialist transformation in the 1950s, the Cultural Revolution spanning 1966-1976, and the start of economic reforms in 1978) and fundamentals trends of change (e.g., post-revolution industrialization, and post-Mao marketization, internationalization, and privatization).

  • SOSC 5110 Social Science Research Design and Methods 3 Credits

    To answer the question "how do we translate concepts and theories about human interactions and institutions into empirically testable propositions?" The primary objectives of the course are: (1) to familiarize students with canons of contemporary social research, and (2) to enable students to initiate and execute their own research projects. Enrollment by students from outside the Division of Social Science by instructor permission.

  • SOSC 5170 Qualitative Research Methods 3 Credits

    This course explores links between theory and practice in qualitative research. It combines learning about selected methods of qualitative inquiry (participant-observation, in-depth interview, oral history) and analysis (grounded theory, ethnography, and discourse analysis). Enrollment by students from outside the Division of Social Science by instructor permission.

  • SOSC 5720 Economic Development in China 3 Credits

    This course focuses on economic reforms and development in China, especially since 1978. It will be a combination of institutional details and comprehensive empirical evidence. Basic knowledge in statistics or economics will benefit.

  • SSMA 5050 Economic Transformations in Post-Mao China 3 Credits

    This course focuses on Post-Mao economic reforms and development in China.