programmes

Course Descriptions 2015-16

(I) Compulsory courses:

  • POLI7002 Public administration: Scope and Issues This course provides an introduction to the study of public administration in the modern state, focusing on the interdependent and changing nature of the state, market and civil society. Perspectives include work arrangements, legal-structural configurations, and policy dynamics of both historical and current significance.
    Assessment: 50% coursework, 50% examination
  • POLI8017 Workshop in Public Affairs This course introduces the latest developments in the study of public affairs in a workshop format emphasizing intensive learning, hands-on training, as well as active participation of the students. Distinguished visiting scholars will be invited to teach this workshop. Topics to be covered may vary each year, and may cut across the boundaries of different subfields in public administration and policy.
    Assessment: 100% coursework
  • POLI8026 Workshop in Managerial Skills The purpose of the course is to enable students to develop practical managerial skills in public administration, including the skills required for handling the media, harnessing civil society, coping with issues of public accountability, managing crises, and providing leadership in the departmental context. Distinguished practitioners will be invited to share their experiences with the students.
    Assessment: 100% coursework
  • POLI8027 Public Administration in Hong Kong This course will provide an overview of some of the major issues in public administration and public policy in Hong Kong. Topics include: the public administrative system of Hong Kong; the budgetary system and public financial policy; ministerialization and its impact on executive leadership and the relationship between politics and administration; the recent trends of public sector reform and alternative modes of service delivery.
    Assessment: 50% coursework, 50% examination
  • POLI8012 Dissertation The dissertation presents the results of a student’s research and should demonstrate a sound understanding of the field of study and appropriate research methods. A topic is selected in consultation with relevant teaching staff in September and the title of the dissertation is submitted for approval by 31 January of the final academic year of study. The dissertation is then researched and written and submitted for examination by 31 July of the final academic year of study.
    Assessment: 100% coursework
  • POLI8028 Capstone ProjectThe Capstone project in the Master of Public Administration is a group-based learning-in-action project. It addresses and proposes possible solutions to a contemporary issue in public administration in Hong Kong. Its underlying purpose is to ensure that students grasp the essentials of applied research and analysis in a selected area of public affairs. A topic is selected in consultation with relevant teaching staff in September and the title of the capstone project is submitted for approval by 31January of the final academic year of study. The project is then researched, written and submitted for examination by 31 July of the final academic year of study.
    Assessment: 100% coursework

(II) Elective Courses

  • POLI7001 Human Resource Management This course addresses public service human resource management in and beyond Hong Kong from a variety of perspectives. It appreciates the key significance of aligning people, systems and action in government and governance. The alignments are forged within contexts and traditions and, more specifically, are bound by capacity needs and expectations and by associate laws, policies and practices. They involve the appointment, promotion, development, motivation, remuneration and performance of people, subject to leadership, change and reform.
    Assessment: 50% coursework, 50% examination
  • POLI7003 Public Policy: Issues and Approaches This course introduces students to the study of public policy by reviewing the main theoretical approaches in the field and examining key policy issues in Hong Kong. The course covers three areas: (a) the basic concepts used in analyzing the policy process and the political and institutional contexts of policy making; (b) the major theoretical approaches to the study of policy making, policy implementation and evaluation and (c) case studies of important policy issues in Hong Kong.
    Assessment: 60% coursework, 40% examination
  • POLI7004 Public Management Reform Over the last 10-15 years, established systems of public management have been subject to widespread and often radical reform. This has involved the adoption of various strategies of decentralisation, corporatisation and privatisation, resulting in numerous mixes of public and private activity in which partnerships, contracts and other means of forging relationships are of considerable significance.
    Assessment: 50% coursework, 50% examination
  • POLI8001 Bureaucracy and the Public In the age of New Public Management, the distinctiveness and the identity of the “public” seem to have been largely lost. This course seeks to (1) “rediscover the public” in public administration by evaluating the plausible conceptions of the public in relation to the bureaucracy; and (2) consider institutional design to strengthen collective capacities for achieving public purposes through public administration.
    Assessment: 50% coursework, 50% examination
  • POLI8002 Ethics and Public Affairs This course focuses on the normative aspects of public policy and public administration. Using concepts and arguments which are mainly derived from moral philosophy, the course examines the ethical justifications for, and the moral implications of, the policy choices and conduct of public officials.
    Assessment: 100% coursework
  • POLI8003 Financial Management This course examines the nature, processes, causes and effects of budgeting as a fiscal instrument to enhance economic growth, as a mechanism for the allocation of scarce resources, and as a management tool for executive planning and financial control.
    Assessment: 50% coursework, 50% examination
  • POLI8004 Government and Law This course examines the legal regulation of governmental powers at the constitutional and administrative levels. Topics include: the constitutional development of Hong Kong under ‘One Country Two Systems” and the Basic Law; principles of constitutional and legal interpretation; constitutional protection of human rights under the Basic Law and the Bill of Rights; the nature of judicial review of administrative actions; exercise of discretionary powers by administrative officials; principles of judicial review and their application in actual cases.
    Assessment: 50% coursework, 50% examination
  • POLI8005 Government and the Economy The course surveys the objectives pursued by government in managing the economy, the means employed in pursuit of those objectives, and theories concerning government''s economic behaviour.
    Assessment: 50% coursework, 50% examination
  • POLI8006 Policy-making in China This course focuses on the public policy-making system in China and includes an examination of policy-making in specific sectoral areas, such as industry, agriculture and foreign policy.
    Assessment: 50% coursework, 50% examination
  • POLI8007 Policy Problems in Hong Kong This course concentrates on the policy making process in Hong Kong, with particular reference to pressure groups, public opinion and the allocation of resources. Use is made of case studies of the formulation, implementation and effects of economic and social policies.
    Assessment: 60% coursework, 40% examination
  • POLI8008 Public Administration in China This course examines the context of public administration in contemporary China; party and state institutions; public personnel management; and the formulation and implementation of public policy.
    Assessment: 100% coursework.
  • POLI8009 Policy Design and Analysis This course focuses on conceptual and analytical skills and techniques required for understanding, and suggesting solutions to, policy problems. It examines major components of public policy analysis – problem definition, policy design, and policy assessment.
    Assessment: 60% coursework, 40% examination
  • POLI8011 Selected Topic in Public Policy This course examines selected topics addressing the key issues in the theory and practice of public policy. It is offered from time to time as resources permit.
    Assessment: 100% coursework
  • POLI8014 NGOs and Governance This course examines the relationships between and among the state, market and civil society with particular reference to the work of those not-for-profit organizations and associations which are normally referred to as NGOs. It focuses on the legal-structural dimensions of NGOs and the ways in which they operate in the production, provision, ownership, regulation and facilitation of various goods and services.
    Assessment: 60% coursework, 40% examination
  • POLI8018 Management Information Systems The course examines key principles and practices of information systems and a range of analytical approaches concerning the needs of modern management. Topics include: the organizational foundations and management of information systems and resources; different types of computer-based information systems and decision support tools; and analytical potential in e-management and e-government.
    Assessment: 50% coursework, 50% examination
  • POLI8019 Comparative Public Administration Reform Reform of public administration in many countries is increasingly becoming an important instrument for achieving policy goals. A comparative analysis of reform directions allows us a better understanding of governance systems internationally. The course will examine the institutional arrangements and relational factors between civil service, politicians, and civil society in a selected number of countries.
    Assessment: 50% coursework, 50% examination
  • POLI8020 Administrative Research and Programme Evaluation This course provides an overview of methods of social inquiry employed in pursuing research projects in academic and policy settings. Both the conceptual and empirical dimensions of the subject are explored. On the empirical side, considerable attention is accorded to qualitative methods. The policy-related component is focused on methods of public programme evaluation commonly relied upon to determine the need for government intervention and its effectiveness.
    Assessment: 50% coursework, 50% examination
  • POLI8021 Organization Theory and Management This course examines the fundamental theories of (i) organizational behaviors; (ii) organizational structures; (iii) decision making processes; and (iv) organizational management with particular emphasis on public organizations. Emphasis is placed on the application of theory to various organizational settings including public and nonprofit organizations, and the local, state and federal levels of bureaucracies.
    Assessment: 50% coursework, 50% examination
  • POLI8022 Comparative Public Policy This course explores public policy-making as both a political process and a problem-solving process. It seeks to critically investigate and compare the ways in which policy problems are addressed in different countries. In so doing, we will develop an understanding of how and why policy problems persist, as well as the policy instruments and institutions that have evolved in response.
    Assessment: 60% coursework, 40% examination
  • POLI8023 Selected topics in public management: Collaborative governance Recent transformations of state, private, and society have increased the importance of collaborative governance in terms of formulating, determining, and implementing public policy. Collaborative governance requires the governments to engage the public, private, and civil society stakeholders at multi-levels. This course will offer students to gain a solid understanding of the role of collaborative governance in contemporary public administration.
    Assessment: 100% coursework
  • POLI8024 China''s Governance in the Reform Era This course aims to analyze the key issues shaping the governance of China during the reform era. It will examine institutional and policy challenges critical to China’s governance, such as leadership succession, civil service and administrative reforms, central-local relations, regional development, state-society relations, social inequality, globalization and the growing integration between Hong Kong and the Mainland.
    Assessment: 50% coursework, 50% examination
  • POLI8025 Public Administration in Action This course offers a critical analysis of public administration in Hong Kong, with particular reference to the introduction and expansion of the Principal Official Accountability System. It examines the principles of public governance, the unique features of the HKSAR Government including its relations with the Mainland authorities and its participation in regional and international affairs.
    Assessment: 100% coursework
  • POLI8029 Non-profit Management This course will advance students’ understanding of nonprofit management and how government could work with nonprofits in carrying out public policies or delivering public services. It will draw upon theories advanced by the scholarly community and provide case studies for in-depth analysis of key themes in nonprofit management, such as legal framework and institutional environment, governance, public and nonprofit partnership, accountability, contracting, strategic planning, and leadership.
    Assessment: 100% coursework
  • POLI8032 Selected topics in public administration: Administrative leadershipThis course is offered by the leading scholar in administrative leadership who is a visiting professor at HKU. Part of the class will be offered intensively face-to-face in early September when Professor Van Wart will be in residence in Hong Kong. Classes are scheduled for three Wednesdays (September 2, 9, 16), two Saturdays (September 12, 19), and one Friday (September 11). This means that the first part of the course is accelerated with a lighter schedule thereafter. The other classes will be online in October (there are high-quality video lectures for each of the chapters covered during this time) and the final exam is online in November. Students will review the major theories and practices of leadership. The class will provide students with the opportunity to discuss the theories via concrete cases in each session and make presentations in teams. The paper for the course is an applied exercise in which students interview an administrative leader of their choosing using the framework provided in class. The class is well-suited to students interested in reviewing their own leadership strengths and weaknesses, seeking higher management positions, and learning how to develop subordinates more effectively.
    Assessment: 100% coursework
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