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Curriculum of Public Governance

Tilburg University’s Public Governance program covers the main topics of public administration, which are crucial to understanding Public Governance. Five trajectories can be identified, which complement each other and together lay the foundation to make you an expert in the field of Public Governance:

  • Macro-level: How are governments organized?
  • Meso-level: How do organizations function?
  • Micro-level: How are policies made?
  • Multi-level: How do networks function?
  • Research skills

Throughout the Public Governance program, you will find courses which fall within one of the trajectories, allowing you to switch between the different perspectives constantly.

Macro-level: How are governments organized?

The macro-level focuses on governments and on political and administrative systems. Taking an interdisciplinary, international perspective, you will study how the fundamentals of state are organized from the point of view of law, economics and public administration.

Macro-level: examples of courses

The macro-level brings you courses such as Political Science, in which you are introduced to the various models of state, political institutions, and models of democracy.

The course Macroeconomics and International Economics introduces the principles of macroeconomics, and to the role of government institutions in economics as a whole. It explores how a country’s economic performance is affected by international trade and exchange rate policies, and gives an overview of essential international economic arrangements and institutions such as the European Union, International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

In the second year, Constitutional Law introduces you to core constitutional concepts such as the rule of law, legality, sovereignty, liberty and equality, to the various traditions of constitutionalism, and to the various systems of government as they can be distinguished from a legal perspective.

Meso-level: How do organizations function?

The meso-level focuses on organizing principles: you will analyze how public organizations function from the public administration, economics, and legal perspectives. You will look at core themes, such as leadership in public and semi-public organizations, organizational ecology and culture, and public management.

Meso-level: examples of courses

In the course Introduction to Organization Studies you will study different organizational structures and basic organizational principles, while the course Comparative Cross-Cultural Public Governance, focuses on how cultural differences influence the way organizations operate and relate to one another.

Institutional Economics and Political Economy will focus economics in a political context. It focuses on broad categories of governance principles (the market, self-regulation or the state), and the role and impact of democracy, including differences in political regimes.

The Strategic Public Management course introduces you to the core concepts, models, and perspectives of public management and to crucial strategic management skills in public organizations in a cross-cultural setting.

The course Administrative Law will introduce you to the core concepts of administrative law and to administrative law traditions across all legal and political systems. You will study the impact of administrative law in privatization processes, the regulation of market dynamics, and more.

Micro-level: How is public policy made?

The micro-level zooms in on policy-making and decision-making: how is public policy created? Within what setting, and which elements play a role? You will delve into public policy making from a variety of different angles, and study decision-making theories such as public choice theory, game theory, and behavioral economics.

Micro-level: examples of courses

Examples of courses that fall within this trajectory are Public Policy Making, Microeconomics, Policy Analysis in Public Administration, and Media, Information Technology and Policy. Microeconomics will help you become acquainted with fundamental microeconomic theories of individual decision-making (of, e.g., consumers, producers and workers) and market interaction. Within Public Policy Making, you are introduced to theories of public policy-making and decision-making, and to rational, institutional, normative, social-constructivist and network perspectives on policymaking. The course Media, Information Technology and Policy puts a focus on governance in an ever digitizing world, looking at the role of social trends, the rise of new media and big data.

Multi-level: how do networks function?

Connecting all various viewpoints is the multi-level focus. This trajectory analyses the interplays between the macro-, meso- and micro-levels of public governance from the perspective of multilevel governance. You are introduced to theories of network governance, multilevel governance, collaborative governance, policy network theory and the like.

Multi-level: examples of courses

Within this trajectory, you’ll find courses such as Comparative Local Governance, where you are familiarized with the main challenges of local governance worldwide. The course has a truly comparative perspective since it compares local government practices across five countries. It uses the state-of-the-art technology of the digital classroom to link students and teachers to their fellows at other departments across the globe, making it into a genuine global classroom.

Another course within this trajectory is Law, Technology and Society, which introduces you to the interactions of technology and society, and provides you with a basic understanding of the implications of technologies (e.g. ICT and biotechnology) for law and the challenges of regulating these technologies.

Research skills

In addition, there is a focus on acquiring the necessary research skills for you to understand and conduct your own research in a course such as Methods & Techniques of Social Science Research. You will get ample practice throughout the program, by setting up and executing your own qualitative and quantitative studies. Also part of this trajectory

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