Policy Design, Analysis and Implementation (Online)

Certificate of Proficiency | Contributes to MPP

Recommended Background

Students will have a bachelors degree in any subject

University Entrance (or equivalent required for admission)


12 weeks

Next Start Dates

3 March 2025

(2025 Semester One)

Enrolment closes one week before the course starts. Apply early to secure your spot.

Domestic Fees


Course Overview

This course is part of the Master of Public Policy (MPP) and may also be taken as a course-only study option. It provides a critical overview of the policy process, including problem definition, co-design and a range of theoretical and methodological approaches to policy analysis. These approaches further include cost-benefit analysis, regulatory impact analysis, and gender and diversity impact assessments.

Upon completion, students who wish to progress their studies further towards a formal qualification may count this course towards the Master of Public Policy (entry criteria and time limits apply).

In this course, you will examine public policy at various stages of development including how it comes about, how it is designed, and how it has been implemented and evaluated for impact or performance. You will develop a broad understanding of the academic debates and current research on public policy design, analysis and implementation. In addition, you will gain several analytical tools that you can use to analyse public policies from a range of perspectives.

Introduction to the course and overview This module welcomes you to the course and considers basic concepts concerning public policy, the policy process, and policy analysis.
Perspectives on policy analysis In this module, you will be introduced to the need for evidence in the analysis process, how it is a part of politics, and the key roles policy analysts play in assembling evidence to inform and influence the trajectory of a particular policy.
Governments and policy advice In this module, you will explore what governments do and how they work with policy instruments and policy actions.
Policy research – Sources for policy analysis This module will introduce you to ways of researching for public policy. You will consider the types of information we need to persuade and inform our audience, and take a look at who our audience is.
Market and government failures This module will introduce you to different types of market and government failures. You will consider the point of view that the government should only act when the market mechanisms cannot intervene to address problems, and the requirement of state interventions.
Strategies for policy analysis and evaluation In this module, you will begin to consider the various lenses through which we might wish to analyse public policy—some are more traditional approaches and others are more recent innovations. You will look at how to approach an evaluation of a particular policy or problem and prepare to present results.
Diversity/treaty analysis The focus of this module is on the unique role of the Treaty of Waitangi and the treaty principles as part of how we understand public policy in New Zealand. In this module you will look at issues concerning ethnicity and diversity. You will pay particular attention to the New Zealand population in order to discuss bicultural populations and the influence of public policy upon these populations.
Traditional strategies – CBAx and Comparative Institutional Analysis This module pivots to what has been described as the traditional policy analysis approach—cost–benefit analysis (CBA). You will examine how cost–benefit analysis is a process of comparing cost, benefits, risk, timing of government action and consequences.
Gender analysis Gender analysis is one way of adding a diversity lens to the policy work we do to ensure we take account of the differences in the lives of women and men, and different groups of women and men. In this module you will engage with the scholarship and application of gender analysis.
New frameworks for policy analysis and advice This module introduces you to a new approach to policy analysis adopted in New Zealand since 2010, namely the Wellbeing Approach (adopted by the NZ Treasury in the form of the Living Standards Framework). This initiative is discussed with reference to theoretical understandings of good policy practice.
Reading week In this module, no new content will be introduced. This week is reserved for you to work on your final course assignment (a research essay).
Doing policy differently In this module, you will reflect upon what you have learned throughout this course and consider your goals for the future.

Students who complete this course will be able to:

  1. identify a range of public policy issues and the tools available to governments to address them
  2. compare the strengths and limitations of different methods of policy analysis identified in the academic literature on the subject
  3. write a policy brief
  4. prepare feedback (constructive criticism) for colleagues and facilitate group discussion on policy topics
  5. design and conduct policy research using the methods and perspectives used in the class
  6. produce a policy research paper with clear and compelling framing, questions, methods and recommendations.”

Upon successful completion of the course you will:

  • Be awarded with 30 credit points from the University of Auckland
  • Have the option to take your credit into the MPP (entry criteria and time limits apply)

Frequently asked questions about this course

Application FAQs

What are the entry requirements?
This course is for students with a bachelors degree in a relevant subject. Relevant subjects include anthropology, business, communication, economics, governance, law, media, organisational studies, political science, public administration, public health, public management, public policy, public relations, social geography, social sciences and sociology. Please note that for admission you must meet the requirements to study at a New Zealand University (e.g. through University Entrance or an alternative entrance pathway).

What is the date for the next intake?
The next start date for this course is Monday 3 March 2025. Enrolment closes one week before the course starts. Enrol early to secure your spot.

Is the course fee a one-off lump sum?
Yes, the course fee is a one-off sum of $2,388.60 for domestic students.

Is this course open to non-resident students?
No. Currently Auckland Online Certificates of Proficiency are only open to NZ citizens and permanent residents.

Studying FAQs

Can I study the course in my own time? Is it suitable for those working full-time?
Yes. You can study at a time that suits you (within the allocated course dates). Auckland Online courses are designed for working professionals. They are flexible yet structured to help you gain the knowledge in the time you have.

How is the course structured?
The course will run over 12 weeks (with a break in the middle), and will comprise 12 weekly modules. Further details on the course structure can be found under the ‘Course Structure’ tab further up on this page.

Assessment FAQs

How will I be assessed?
Learners will be assessed through a combination of activities that address the learning objectives from each of the modules in the course. These will comprise quizzes, an annotated bibliography, policy brief and research essay.

Benefits FAQs

What is a Certificate of Proficiency (CoP)?
A Certificate of Proficiency (CoP) is a course-only study option that allows you to take a course at the University of Auckland, without studying a full programme. It is a good option for those who want to study short-term or to test whether a subject is something they wish to pursue more of in the future. ​

Does the course enable me to take further study at the University?
If you decide to progress your studies further towards a full qualification, you can apply to reassign the points from your CoP to the MPP (entry criteria and time limits apply).

How many course credits will I attain upon completion of the course?
Upon completion of the course, you will be awarded with 30 credit points from the University of Auckland.

Do I get a certificate at the end?
As a Certificate of Proficiency is not a formal qualification, you will not be able to graduate with it or receive a graduation certificate. Your results will be recorded on your official academic transcript, providing evidence of your study.

*Fees are inclusive of 15% GST, but do not include the Student Services Fee, course books, travel and health insurance, or living costs. Amounts shown are indicative only. In addition to the tuition fee, there is a Student Services Fee of $4.44 per point (online). Fees will be confirmed upon completion of enrolment into courses.

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