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.  

HA9001 Theories of Public Policy (core)
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 (subfield core)
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.

HA9006 Introduction to History of Political Thought (subfield core)
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 (subfield core)
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.

HA9009 Research Methods 2 (core)
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.

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.

HA9208 ASEAN in the 21st Century (IR)
This seminar aims to offer students the in-depth, comprehensive knowledge and analyses of potentials, strengths, and limitations of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Through class discussions, students will learn history, characteristics, and functions of ASEAN from the material and ideational perspectives. With these knowledge, students will gain an ability to analyze the ASEAN’s utility (potentials and limitations) and raison d'être by employing not only International Relations (IR) theories, but also theories in other fields (e.g. psychology, sociology, history).

HA9209 European Integration (CP)
This course introduces you to the politics and policies of European integration. 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 Approach To International Relations (IR)
This course is a research seminar in quantitative approaches to international relations. We will learn how to use R in the first few class meetings. Then we will cover relevant scholarly articles to study the recent development in the field of international relations. It covers a wide range of topics and methodologies, which helps students to find and develop their research project.


HA9211 The Practice Of International Relations (IR)​
This course is an applied seminar for students aspiring to careers in foreign affairs. Through a series of simulations, discussions and lectures, you 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 Democraatic 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. 

HA9302 Psychoanalysis & Politics
In this course students will examine a selection of some of the most influential contributions to the study of the intersection of psychoanalytic and political theory. Mostly eschewing Sigmund Freud’s own political analyses, we begin with an investigation of some of the most notable articulations of his metapsychology, or the philosophy of the psychical apparatus. The psychoanalytic starting point is the recognition of an unconscious, an inner subjective life that fundamentally structures our specifically human existence in indeterminate ways. This recognition poses fundamental challenges to various established models of political reason. It can no longer be taken for granted, for example, that political determinations may be potentially grounded in transparent and rational processes of reflection and deliberation that are capable of fully revealing to us our collective interests and goods. Rather, political theory must recognize the unconscious desires, emotions, affects, and motives that subterraneously influence our outward behaviours and orientations. Through the study of various 20th century clinical analysts as well as social theorists influenced by psychoanalysis – such as Wilhelm Reich, Herbert Marcuse, Norman O. Brown, Cornelius Castoriadis, Franz Fanon, and Jessica Benjamin –  we will investigate various important political issues complicated by the Freudian discovery of the unconscious, including the psychology of fascism, the desire for voluntary servitude, the nature of autonomy, the ground of gender hierarchy, and many more. After having completed the course students will have gained a deeper appreciation of the psychological factors and motivations which influence the decision-making of political actors.

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.​