Institution / University College Dublin
City scape

Comparative Public Policy

This seminar course explores a range of concepts, theories and findings in public policy research with a view to understanding similarities and differences in policies across advanced industrial societies. In doing so, it deals with issues of definition, classification and measurement. What is policy? What is the difference between policy outputs and policy outcomes? How can they be measured? How can we distinguish types of policy and is it useful to do so?
We also examine existing research that seeks to explain policy outputs and policy outcomes. Why do some countries respond differently to similar problems? What does the policy making process look like? Which factors influence policy making? Do policy actors like parties and interest groups matter? Do interests or ideas matter? Do policy makers undergo a learning process? Do they learn from one another's experiences?
We will use discussion of these fundamental questions as a platform to explore substantive policy areas. The course is centred on weekly reading and participation in class. It places a strong emphasis on recent research.

Further Information:

understand the main analytical concepts underlying comparative policy analysis;

be able to assess competing explanations for variation in policy outputs and outcomes;

have a good understanding of policy--‐making in substantive policy areas in cross - national comparative perspective;

be able to identify current research puzzles and unresolved problems in the literature.

Who should apply?
Part Time option suitable for:

Domestic(EEA) applicants: Yes
International (Non EEA) applicants currently residing outside of the EEA Region. No

The courses are designed for public or private sector employees seeking further training in specialized subjects that are relevant to their working lives.

The courses are particularly suitable for professionals who wish to enhance their professional skills but who may find it difficult to commit to a full Graduate Diploma or Masters programme. These Certificates can also be used as a building-block for candidates who may wish to go on take the MPP programme in stages.


4 Months part time

Number of credits

Professional Certificate – 10 credits – equivalent to 1 module.

Further enquiries

Academic Contact:
Professor Niamh Hardiman

Administrative Contact:
Ms Yuko Conlon
t: +353 1 716 8643


Award: Professional Certificate (NFQ Level 9).

Application date

The following entry routes are available:

Prof Cert Comparative Public Policy PT (W340)
Duration 4 Months
Attendance Part Time
Deadline Rolling *

* Courses will remain open until such time as all places have been filled, therefore early application is advised

Enrolment and start dates

Next Intake: 2017/2018 September.

* Courses will remain open until such time as all places have been filled, therefore early application is advised.

Remember to mention gradireland when contacting institutions!