Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2005-2006 (archived)




Type Open Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2005/06 Module Cap None. Location Durham


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To enable students to appreciate the social and political environment of management in the public sector.
  • the characteristics of management in this context.
  • and to understand how the environment affects the practice of public sector management.


  • The political and social environment of the public services.
  • the distinction between public and private administration.
  • administrative philosophy.
  • ethics in public service.
  • open government.
  • efficiency, effectiveness and economy.
  • accountability.
  • decision making.
  • policy planning.
  • public personnel administration.
  • principles of administrative law with special reference to the practice of public administration.
  • the ombudsman.
  • The institutions of central and local government.
  • New Public Management.
  • central-local relations.
  • decentralisation.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of the module, students are expected:
  • to be familiar with the literature of public administration, both philosophical and empirical.
  • to have developed a deep and critical understanding of the component parts of the module.
  • to have further developed their ability to study independently.
  • to have further developed their writing and analytical skills.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • By the end of the module you should be able to:
  • critically evaluate theories and ideas current in public administration and management
  • apply theory to practice
  • think and work independently, including the discriminate use of judgement in assessing evidence and arguments, and assess the relevance and validity of others??? views
  • write a well-supported argument
Key Skills:
  • Written communication - present and critically analyse data
  • Problem solving
  • Initiative - work without supervision
  • Computer literacy
  • Numeracy
  • Review, plan and evaluate data

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Teaching is by lectures, tutorials and support for student-centred learning. Learning takes place through attendance at lectures, preparation for and participation in tutorial classes and private study (inlcuding student-centred learning). Formative assessment is by means of two 1500 word essays. Summative assessment is by means of an unseen written examination plus 2500 word essay.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 21 1 Per Week 1 Hour 21
Seminars 8 4 in Term 1, 4 in Term 2 1 Hour 8
Structured Reading Week 1 In term 2
Preparation and Reading 171
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Examination Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
one two-hour written examination 100%
Component: Assignment Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
one written assignment of 2500 words max. 100%

Formative Assessment:

1500 word essay

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University