Public Policy Analysis for Scientists, Engineers, and Health Professionals

Summary:  An intensive course designed to help scientists, engineers, and health professionals be more competitive for fellowships and jobs in science and technology policy by learning how to conduct public policy analysis.


Educational Outcomes:  


During this class, students will learn:

  • What policy analysis is and why it is important

  • The eight-step process to do a public policy analysis based on the 4Es (effectiveness, efficiency, equity, and ease of political acceptability)

After completing this course, you will be able to:

  • Be more competitive for public policy related fellowships and jobs because you can demonstrate your abilities through a vetted product produced during the class.

  • Participate more actively and with greater impact in dialogues about public policy during the interview process or during meetings with policymakers through a better understanding of public policy decision-making criteria.

  • Develop the core information of most interest to policymakers as a foundation for your discussions and the communication products.


Class Description:

Policy analysis provides a systematic process to analyze public policy options to respond to a societal challenge such as COVID-19, climate change, and homelessness.  It involves identifying the underlying problem, key decision-makers, stakeholders, policy question, and policy options.  These options are then analyzed to identify which is likely to be the most effective, efficient, equitable, and ease of political acceptability.  Once that analysis is concluded, the analyst makes a recommendation based on those criteria.  The analyst then communicates the results to policymakers and the public. Topics covered include:


  • What is policy analysis and why is it important?

  • Eight step process for public policy analysis (a slight modification of Bardach’s Practical Guide to Policy Analysis)

    • Step 1.  Define the problem in the form of a question

    • Step 2. Assemble some evidence

    • Step 3. Construct the Alternatives

    • Step 4. Analyze the Alternatives based on the 4E Criteria (Effectiveness, Efficiency, Equity, Ease of Political Acceptability)

    • Step 5: Project the Outcomes (Introduction to Program Evaluation, Cost-Benefit, Stakeholder, and Prince Analysis)

    • Step 6: Confront the Tradeoffs

    • Step 7:  Decide

    • Step 8. Tell Your Story


You do not need to take the Level 1 class to take the Level 2 class.

How it Works:  You can go through the material at the pace that works for you.  The content of the class is presented through short-taped lectures of about 15 minutes on our learning management system called Ruzuku.  You will then practice the content of each lesson through exercises. The instructor then provides individual feedback on each exercise within Ruzuku.


During the 6-weeks of the class, there will be a one-hour live Q&A session where you can ask questions and students can volunteer for their exercises to be "workshopped."   The date and time for the weekly Q&A session will be determined by the vote of the registered participants.  Evening and weekend options will be offered.

Although the Q&A sessions occur over in 6 weeks, it sometimes takes longer for students to complete the exercises.  You will continue to receive feedback for up to 4 weeks after the Q&A sessions end through Ruzuku.

In addition, you have three individual coaching sessions with a date/time based on your schedule and long-term instructor email access and to the Academy's Slack, which includes announcements of jobs, fellowships, seminars, and workshops.

Level 2: Public Policy Analysis for Scientists, Engineers, and Health Professionals

©2020 by Science and Technology Policy Academy.