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Major: Public Policy, Law and Governance

Major Details

Public Policy, Law and Governance


Macquarie Law School
Department of Modern History, Politics and International Relations
Faculty of Arts

This major must be completed as part of an award. The general requirements for the award must be satisfied in order to graduate.

Requirements for the Major:

Completion of a minimum of 24 credit points including the following prescribed units:

Credit points

100 level

Australian Politics in Global Context (3)
Law, Human Rights and Global Governance (3)
Sustainability, Science and the Law (3)

200 level

Australian Governments and Public Policy (3)
Crime, Policy and Governance (3)
Human Rights, Policy and the Law (3)

300 level

Advanced Policy Development and Advocacy (3)
Policy Making in a Global Era (3)
3cp from
Local Government and Planning Law (3)
Politics and the Constitution (3)
Religion and Politics (3)
Australian Foreign Policy (3)
United States Politics: Money, Culture, Power (3)
Global Environmental Politics (3)
3cp from
Business Project (3)
Professional Experience in the Primary School 2 (3)
Professional Experience in the Primary School 3 (3)
Social Innovation, Governance and Professional Leadership (3)
International Participation and Community Engagement (3)
Legal Governance and Professional Leadership (3)
Access to Justice Placement Program (3)
Professional and Community Engagement (3)
Animal Law (3)
Psychological Science: Putting Theory into Practice (3)
Social Change Placement (6)
Internships in Social Research (6)
Professional Experience in the Secondary School I (3)
Professional Experience in the Secondary School II (3)


Units marked with a C are Capstone units.
Units marked with a P are PACE units.
Additional Information
Overview and Aims of the Program This major will provide students with an understanding of principles and their application to the diverse field of public and legal policy development.
Graduate Capabilities

The Graduate Capabilities Framework articulates the fundamentals that underpin all of Macquarie’s academic programs. It expresses these as follows:

Cognitive capabilities
(K) discipline specific knowledge and skills
(T) critical, analytical and integrative thinking
(P) problem solving and research capability
(I) creative and innovative

Interpersonal or social capabilities
(C) effective communication
(E) engaged and ethical local and global citizens
(A) socially and environmentally active and responsible

Personal capabilities
(J) capable of professional and personal judgement and initiative
(L) commitment to continuous learning

Program Learning Outcomes By the end of this program it is anticipated you should be able to:

1. explain key principles and concepts in the area of public policy, law and governance (K)
2. identify and evaluate relevant issues, and apply reasoning and research skills to generate appropriate policy responses to contemporary socio-legal problems (T, P, I)
3. communicate knowledge in oral and written form in ways that are appropriate for legal and non-legal audiences (C)
4. recognise and reflect upon issues of disadvantage and social justice, the impact of globalisation on the australian legal system (E, J)
5. collaborate and reflect upon the application of knowledge to advocate solutions for a sustainable global society (A, J)
6. reflect on feedback and identify opportunities to extend and apply knowledge and skills in broader professional and academic contexts (L).
Learning and Teaching Methods The PPLG major is taught by staff in the disciplines of Law and Politics, who use a range of learning and teaching methods to impart critical knowledge and develop students’ applied skills relevant to a range of professional roles in law and policy development.

Learning and teaching methods include lectures, tutorials, seminars, web based forums, and intensive on-campus sessions for external students. Lectures include a mix of live delivery by expert lecturers using visual aids such as power-point and web based materials. To allow students to study in their own time, occasional pre-recorded lectures are also made available, typically using the latest audio-visual material relevant to the current issues and policies being studied. Lecturers will introduce and outline the topic/s under examination including competing theoretical points of view for analysis, and guide students to make use of pre-recorded and audio-visual content with a critical perspective. Lectures are primarily structured for the acquisition of knowledge and to raise the central questions around the topic being considered. Lecture attendance, including note taking, is an important part of the learning process which develops students’ capacity to identify and digest essential information. Lectures are recorded for external students and for those unable to attend in person.

Most of the active learning in the Program takes place in tutorials and seminars in which knowledge gained in lectures, and through readings and audio-visual content, will be extended and applied in smaller groups. Seminars and Tutorials will frequently deploy small group work to enable students to practically apply and test their knowledge. As individuals, students will present their understandings of the relevant readings and topics to their peers for constructive feedback. In small groups, students will engage in activities such as contained decision-making simulation through role plays and stakeholder analyses (problem-based learning). In whole of tutorial settings, some classes will conduct debates and extended hypothetical scenarios.

In the third year of the program emphasis is placed on the application of knowledge and skills in the production of independent research to produce compelling solutions to contemporary policy challenges. Interaction with policy practitioners is a feature of the PACE Unit, and continual feedback from peers on an independent research project, a feature of the Capstone Unit (Laws305 Advanced Policy Development and Advocacy). Collaborative learning is central to tutorials and seminars. It is expected that students will come to classes prepared to discuss the readings and the lecture content. In particular, third year units using seminars expect high levels of student initiated discussion. External students will participate in online forums which may involve discussion of the weekly readings, as well as other activities including peer assessment of work. As with on-campus tutorials, collaboration is central to online participation.
Assessment A range of assessment tasks are designed to meet the learning and teaching outcomes of individual units and the PPLG program, to equip students with the critical knowledge and skills appropriate to a range of professional roles in law and policy development, including written and oral communication, and presentation skills.

Assessment tasks are scaffolded according to the level of learning and aim to promote learning throughout the entire semester to test the disciplinary knowledge and relevant skills of the Program, as well as general academic skills such as research techniques and academic writing protocols.

Assessment in the early stages of the program may involve a component of group work, to develop students’ collaborative skills. As the program progresses greater emphasis is placed on students’ independent research and writing. Assessments build on knowledge and skills acquired in the earlier stages. This progression culminates in the capstone unit (Laws305 Advanced Policy Development and Advocacy) where, under supervision, students will undertake their own research project addressing a contemporary policy problem and develop and advocacy campaign. Students will also apply the skills and knowledge acquired over the program in the PACE unit.

Clear standards (including marking rubrics) are provided for students in each Unit Guide and Ilearn unit site.

Assessment tasks in include the following activities:
• short essays
• long essays
• group essays
• law reform proposals
• stakeholder analyses
• media analyses
• written dialogues
• opinion pieces
• literature reviews
• annotated bibliographies
• policy briefs
• white papers (policy background papers)
• social media campaigns
• class tests
• formal exams
• online quizzes
• small group work
• debates
• general class and online participation
• presenting research to non-academic audiences and PACE partners.

Students will graduate from the PPLG major with a portfolio of a range of assessed work including, for example: individual and group policy briefs and law reform submissions, research papers and media campaigns.
Recognition of Prior Learning

Macquarie University may recognise prior formal, informal and non-formal learning for the purpose of granting credit towards, or admission into, a program. The recognition of these forms of learning is enabled by the University’s Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) Policy (see and its associated Procedures and Guidelines. The RPL pages contain information on how to apply, links to registers, and the approval processes for recognising prior learning for entry or credit. 

Domestic Students
For undergraduate RPL information visit
For domestic postgraduate RPL information visit

International Students
For RPL information visit

Support for Learning

Macquarie University aspires to be an inclusive and supportive community of learners where all students are given the opportunity to meet their academic and personal goals. The University offers a comprehensive range of free and accessible student support services which include academic advice, counselling and psychological services, advocacy services and welfare advice, careers and employment, disability services and academic skills workshops amongst others. There is also a bulk billing medical service located on campus.

Further information can be found at

Campus Wellbeing contact details:
Phone: +61 2 9850 7497

Program Standards and Quality

The program is subject to an ongoing comprehensive process of quality review in accordance with a pre-determined schedule that complies with the Higher Education Standards Framework. The review is overseen by Macquarie University's peak academic governance body, the Academic Senate and takes into account feedback received from students, staff and external stakeholders.

Graduate Destinations and Employability This major prepares graduates for a range of professional roles in law and policy development, including government, corporate settings, NGOs and public interest advocacy, and foreign service.
Assessment Regulations

This program is subject to Macquarie University regulations, including but not limited to those specified in the Assessment Policy, Academic Honesty Policy, the Final Examination Policy and relevant University Rules. For all approved University policies, procedures, guidelines and schedules visit

2017 Unit Information

When offered:
S1 Day
Permission of Executive Dean of Faculty
HSC Chinese, CHN113, CHN148