Course Descriptions

The following courses are offered by Public Policy and Global Affairs. Not all courses are offered in an academic year. Please click here​ for the courses that will be offered in a particular semester.  

HA7404 20th Century Political Though
This course is designed to provide students with an introduction to certain of the most important contributions to political theory made in the 20th century.  Although the texts studied may vary from year to year depending upon the interests of the students enrolled in the course, a sample of the thinkers studied could include John Dewey, Carl Schmitt, Sigmund Freud, Max Horkheimer & Theodor Adorno, Hannah Arendt, Frantz Fanon, Michel Foucault, and John Rawls.  Throughout the course of the semester students will be encouraged to put each of the thinkers into dialogue with one another, interrogating the ways in which the construction of specific theoretical constellations is able to reveal to us potential textual gaps and inconsistencies, but also new perspectives on how we think about political reality that might otherwise remain obscured.  Students will also be required to continually put the texts studied to work, that is, utilize them in order to attempt to shed critical light on their own political worlds and how they think about the nature of human existence and interaction. 

HA9001 Theories of Public Policy
This course addresses the theoretical underpinnings of public policy. It discusses the role of different theories in understanding public policy, including institutional theory, group theory, elite theory, system theory, rational theory, incrementalism theory, and public choice theory.

HA9002 Theories of Public Administration
This course discusses the intellectual development of public administration as a discipline. It will discuss the theory of bureaucracy, politics and public administration, theory of public management and theories of public organizations, postmodern theory, critical theory, public institutional theory, theories of governance, decision theory, and rational choice theory.


HA9003 Research Methods
This course aims to provide researchers and practitioners with the essential knowledge and skills about how to conduct empirical research in the field of public administration. Topics include: ontology and epistemology of social sciences, research ethics, research design, research strategies and procedures for quantitative research, qualitative research and mixed methods research. In addition, specific popular analytical techniques of quantitative methods and qualitative methods such as multiple linear regression, factor analysis and survey data analysis will be discussed.

HA9004 Quantitative Methods in Global Affairs & Public Administration
This course is a mandatory course for PhD students in PPGA. It aims to 1) acquaint students with ontology and epistemology issues of conducting quantitative research, 2) equip students with a thorough understanding of how to conduct rigorous research in the field of PPGA using cutting-edge quantitative methods, 3) train students to master essential and advanced statistical techniques to conduct quantitative research in PPGA, 4) teach students to use one of the most popular statistical packages, STATA to conduct statistical analysis and carry out quantitative research in the field of PPGA.


HA9005 Qualitative Research Methods
This course is designed to help graduate students understand the key conceptual and methodological issues in doing research in the discipline of political science.  Attention is given not only to the way we 'view' the study of politics and government, but also to various approaches to methodology, methods and research design.  In addition to demonstrating a grasp of these issues, students are expected to be able to apply them in developing a research plan for their thesis.


HA9006 Introduction to History of Political Thought
This course will introduce students to the political philosophies of the leading representatives of the history of political thought. Authors studied will include figures such as Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Locke, Hobbes, Rousseau, Mill, and Marx. The course will consider the unique philosophical contributions of each author in the context of his historical situation, thus looking to clarify and articulate the relation between philosophy and political reality. Students will also, however, be encouraged to reflect upon the continuing practical relevance of the canonical texts, interrogating the conceptual material with respect to their potential application to the study of current political realities. Some of the issues which will be focused on include the nature of the human being, the status of individual rights, the foundation of state authority, and the meaning of such concepts as equality, freedom, and justice.


HA9007 Theories of International Relations
This course is a mandatory course for PhD students in PPGA. It aims to 1) acquaint students with knowledge of social science theories, 2) train students to gain in-depth understanding of mainstream IR theories: realism, liberalism, and social constructivism, 3) enable students to grasp the academic development of IR theories, and 4) teach students to apply various IR theories to explain global affairs, especially East Asian regional affairs.

HA9008 Reseach Methods 1
As students prepare their research proposals and pick up basic research skills for their field research, this course will provide them with the necessary background and foundations in quantitative and qualitative research design and methods. This will help them to craft better research designs, before embarking on their field research.

HA9009 Research Methods 2
This course will provide students with an extensive background in advanced quantitative and qualitative research methods. This will equip them with the skills and methods needed for doctoral-level field research.


HA9101 Policy Analysis
This course discusses analytical approaches and methods that are intended to guide policy design and structure policy choices. Topics include: argumentation analysis, stakeholder analysis; economic cost-benefit analysis and related methods. It enables students to analytically prepare, design and select public policy, and seeks to improve students’ basic skills in analytical thinking, information gathering, and writing. Students are required to complete a term paper and in class oral presentation.


HA9102 Public Policy Formulation & Implementation
This course is a research seminar focusing on public policy in selected countries, paying particular attention of how policies are made and how they are implemented.  In the course students will read seminal works on models of the policy formulation/design and implementation processes, and they will apply what they have learned to address a research question or questions. Students are required to complete a term paper and in class oral presentation.


HA9103 Politics of Policymaking
This course examines the politics of public policy-making from both a theoretical and empirical perspective.  Among the questions asked are the following: What determines how policy is made? Whose interests are represented in policy-making? When and why do policies get changed or stay the same across time and space? The focus will be on the political variables that affect policymaking. Written project involves either an analysis or a critical review on reading materials or on particular aspect of student’s research interest.
HA9104 Comparative Public Policy
This course is about the study of how and why different governments pursue particular courses of action or inaction. It focuses on some of the major theoretical and methodological approaches to the comparative study of public policies and programs, helping students develop the skills needed to study and explain convergence and divergence in government policy and program choice, implementation, and outcomes.  Written project involves either an analysis or a critical review on reading materials or on particular aspect of student’s research interest.

HA9105 Seminars on Singapore Public Policies
The Singapore government has often gone against conventional wisdom in the formulation of its innovative public policies.  The seminars are designed to provide students with an overview of Singapore's public policies by providing an in-depth analysis of local politics and public policy considerations.  Eminent speakers from the government or other decision‑making bodies will be invited to participate in discussions on their approach towards public policy making and the competitive advantages of its system of governance.
HA9106 Advanced Seminars on Policies
This course presents a selection of advanced topics on public policies. Through case studies, participants will be introduced to thematic topics in policy making, implementation, and evaluation. The course will examine policy issues from an international perspective, with particular focus on the Singapore experience.


HA9107 Policy Evaluation
Policy evaluation constitutes a key element of contemporary policymaking and refers to a comprehensive, often multi-year study of program/policy function and outcomes. This course will expose students to the complexity and scope of policy evaluation and the methods of policy and program evaluation. The social, political, and ethical contexts of evaluation will also be covered in the class. Throughout the semester, we will look at evaluation examples that have been conducted on public issues, programs, and policies to demonstrate key points. 

HA9108 Selected Topics In Health Care and Ageing
This course aims to develop students' understanding of key concepts, principles and theories of health care and ageing that are essential for health-related policy analysis and pursuing careers in the health care field. In addition, it aims to develop students' reflective capacity and enable them to link theory to practice through examining case studies in different countries. It covers hot topics such as COVID-19 and crisis leadership, medical tourism, digital health, and healthy aging.

HA9201 Public Management & Institutional Analysis
This course aims to help students understand and analyze public management issues from the perspective of institutionalism.Theories about the three most significant approaches to institutional analysis are covered, which include the institutional analysis and development framework, legal institutional analysis and the advocacy coalition framework. Based on the three frameworks, a variety of public management and public policy issues including environmental protection, urban planning, citizen participation, economic development, policy agenda setting in Southeast Asia are covered.

HA9202 Ideas & Issues in Public Administration
This course consists of several seminars on a variety of cutting-edge ideas and issues in public administration. It will be delivered by faculty members and guest speakers. It will survey ideas and issues in the field of public administration from historical and comparative perspectives. Topics covered include classic public administration theories, postmodern public administration theories, discursive public policy making,  governance,  network management, citizen participation, organization behavior in public organization, public service motivation, public sector human resource management, public performance management,  public finance, administrative law.

HA9203 Organisational Behaviour in the Public Sector
This course exposes participants to advanced behavioral science theories and applications in public administration in this era of evolving work force and technology. It incorporates concepts and methods from the behavioral and social sciences to help participants understand workplace behavior and how that ultimately relates to organizational success or failure. Topics will include group dynamics and teams, conflict management and negotiation skills, power and politics, organizational change and development, motivation, work attitudes, leadership, decision making, and organizational culture.

HA9204 Political Economy of Globalisation
This is an interdisciplinary graduate seminar. The objective is to examine the ways in which changes in the international economy and the regimes that regulate it interact with domestic politics, policy-making, and the institutional structures of the political economy in industrialized democracies and developing nations. The course will examine how the powerful forces of international capital flows are shaping public policy decisions at the national and the international level. Class discussions will be based on selected theoretical and policy articles. Students are required to complete a term paper and in class oral presentation.
HA9205 Public Budgeting & Financial Management
This course examines the critical issues in public budgeting and financial management, and how they interface with public management drawing on comparative experience in various countries. Topics include theories of budgeting, intergovernmental fiscal relations, performance budgeting, budgetary reforms, accounting and auditing in the government, taxation, financial management in government and non-profit organizations, public debt and capital budgeting.


HA9206 Comparative Public Administration
Comparative public administration is the study of how, why and to what effect governments choose certain policy instruments and organizational arrangements to implement decisions. This graduate seminar focuses on public sector reform in comparative context, the varying impact of globalization on developed and developing countries, emerging supra-national and global bureaucracies, and the role of international organizations in public administration and public sector reform. Final course grade will be based on the evaluation of writing assignments / oral presentation / research paper.

HA9207 Advanced Seminar on Public Management
This course focuses on various tools for the daily and on-going management of public and non-profit organizations. Topics include management theories, change management, strategic management, performance management, restructuring, reengineering, conflict management, learning organizations, management of innovations, management of culture and ethics.

HA9208 ASEAN's Institutional Evolution: History, Functions, and Roles
The seminar course is divided into 5 sections: (1) Introduction [Session 1], (2) ASEAN’s Institutional History [Session 2-5], (3) ASEAN’s institutional design [Session 6-9], (4) ASEAN’s functions in various issue areas [Session 10-12], and (5) Conclusion [Session 12]. Using several analytical frameworks, including IR theories, the course will explore historical, political, and functional dimensions of ASEAN in the past, present, and future.


HA9209 Regional Integration in Europe
This course introduces you to the politics and policies of European integration. The European Union (EU), one of the most established international regional organisations in the world, has been an institution in the making for 60 years. The policies adopted at the supranational level now affect more than 500 million citizens of 28 countries; the bilateral and multilateral relationships that EU member states form are subject to the scrutiny of central institutions such as the European Commission, European Parliament, and the European Court of Justice, among others. By taking this course, you will learn about the historical motivations that led to the emergence of the European Union (and which alternative models were considered), the design and structure of European institutions (and how they have evolved over time), the core policy areas regulated at the EU level (and why some are outside of the formal EU institutional framework), as well as extant theories that attempt to capture these complex and multilevel interactions.


HA9210 Quantitative Methods in International Relations
Learning the rigorous methods in international relations is crucial to a developing graduate student. It provides solid foundations for graduate students' social scientific understanding of international relations/political science. The course will offer the following:

1. Understand how to use and program in R.

2. Review recent scholarly articles using quantitative methods in international relations (Substantive topics

    include interstate and civil conflict and international political economy. Methodology topics include standard 

    observational data, text data, geographic spatial data, and survey experimental methods.)

3. Learn how to study causal mechanisms and the limitations of each empirical research in international relations

4. Design and conduct a study in international relations

5. Present findings in class



HA9211 Crisis Diplomacy
This course is an applied seminar for students aspiring to careers in foreign affairs. Through a series of simulations, discussions and lectures, students will become acquainted with the practice of statecraft and diplomacy on a practical level. From the perspective of policymakers, we will tackle several of the most pressing issues in contemporary international security, ranging from traditional security issues like inter-state and civil war, nuclear proliferation, and the rise of great powers to more non-traditional, newer issues like terrorism, climate change, and “human security.”  Students will explore the intricacies, challenges, and possibilities of diplomacy during international crises through an active learning approach using simulations. Any student interested in pursuing a career in statecraft and diplomacy would benefit from this class.

HA9212 China and Global Governance
This course examines interactions between the rise of China and the changing international political economy over the past four decades, which has witnessed substantial transformations in globalization and technological innovation. It focuses on three inter-connected themes 1) the rising China and its domestic and diplomatic dimensions;​ 2) the implications of a rising China, including the China model of development and its “Belt and Road Initiative,” for the Asian regional order, Chinese diaspora and new international migration; and 3) the impact of global governance and international political economy (IPE) on China, and vice versa. This course intends to introduce a series of theoretical concepts and methodological devices in the IPE in the attempt to grasp with these changing processes and their implications for policies and social sciences. This course is organized by way of a series of special topics pertaining to IPE theories and methodologies, modern/contemporary China, the Chinese diaspora and their changing relations with China, social and business networks, China’s place in Asia and the world, and Singapore and China’s economic development. Students’ active participation, including formal presentations, forms an integral component of this course.

HA9301 Democratic Theory

This course will provide students with a theoretical interrogation of the concept of democracy, particularly as it relates to the issue of social division. Throughout the history of political thought, theorists from Plato to John Rawls have recognized that division is the essence of the sphere of politics: divisions continually emerge between different parts of the political community, between those who claim different titles to govern, those with differing desires and needs, those with opposing visions of the common good, and so on. With few exceptions, however, the tradition’s canonical thinkers have seen this plurality as a condition that needs to be overcome, not as one to be affirmed. In this course we will study a variety of twentieth-century political theorists who have not only recognized the fact of human difference, but who argue that the realization of democracy depends upon precisely the affirmation of this difference.  Democracy is thus essentially related to the effort to give an expression to the multiplicity of social forms of doing, being, and thinking that internally differentiate all political societies. Students will be encouraged to contrast this understanding of democracy with those contemporary ones that emphasize the values of social harmony and consensus, providing them with a ground to critically probe actually existing political institutions and orders. ​

HA9888 Independent Study
This course provides students with an opportunity to engage in independent research related to their proposed thesis/dissertation. The content and requirements of each Independent Study module is determined by the student and assigned faculty member. The actual topics in each syllabus will depend on the area of interest of the student and faculty member. In this course, students are expected to read widely both classical and contemporary readings under guidance of the faculty.


HA9889 Directed Readings In Political Science And Public Policy
This course is tailored for students wishing to conduct an in-depth examination of a topic that is not covered by existing graduate courses. It enables students to explore a body of literature on their chosen topic under the guidance of their supervisor or course instructor. The topic can be related to their proposed dissertation or any topics relevant to political science, public administration or public policy. The content and requirements of each directed reading course are determined by the student in consultation with his/her supervisor or course instructor. These include the reading list, assignments to be completed, timeline, arrangements for frequency of meetings, and mechanism for feedback. The final detailed syllabus will be subject to the approval of the Head of Programme, prior to the commencement of the course.

  • Courses and requirements are subject to review and change. 
  • Not all courses are available in one given semester. 
  • ​Courses will be offered on the basis of student intake, research areas and availability of faculty. 
  • Please click here​ for the courses that will be offered in a particular semester.​