Economics for Public Policy

See policy through an economic lens

If you are working within public policy, it is highly likely that you will come across professional economists and their reports. This course aims to prepare you for these interactions by introducing you to the language and concepts of economics for public policy and by encouraging you to become a critical consumer of economic analysis.

You will learn about what markets can achieve, why they sometimes fail, and what governments can do in response. You will also explore how governments can raise revenue through taxation and alleviate shocks to the macro economy.

Economics for Public Policy is certified by CPD UK’s (Continuing Professional Development) Certification Service.

Find out how you could complement the skills built on this course with those developed on another. Discover our government and public policy multi-course pathway and discounts.


8 weeks (3-5 hours of study per week recommended)


May, August, October 2024

Next start date:

3 August 2024 (deadline 1pm (GMT) on 2 August 2024)


£1740 (inclusive of VAT)*

*Discounts are available to alumni, those working in the public sector and certain geographical regions. Register your interest to learn more.




Certificate of completion

CPD logo that reads: CPD CERTIFIED - The CPD Certification Service


This online course is designed for those who wish to enhance their understanding of how economics concepts can be applied to public policy.

This course is for you if:

  • you are an early-to-mid-career civil servant wanting to move into a specialist or management position;
  • you are an experienced professional in a strategic position wanting to update your formal knowledge and equip yourself with the tools needed to remain effective and current;
  • you work for an NGO or government organisation, and you want to interact more effectively with policymaking in your day-to-day work.


There are no specific entry requirements for this course. However, please be aware that it is a master’s level course, so will take a certain level of commitment. Learners are expected to dedicate 3-5 hours a week to their studies, with all activities and tasks taking place online.

About the course

On this eight-week online short course, you will explore some foundational principles of economics and learn how to apply economic theory in a policy formulation context.

You will learn about what markets can achieve, why they sometimes fail, and what governments can do in response. You will also explore how governments can raise revenue through taxation and alleviate shocks to the macro economy.

All your course content, tasks and activities will be accessed online, giving you the opportunity to learn from Oxford University academics, and gain a public policy qualification, from wherever you are in the world.

Watch the one-minute video below for an overview of the course.

“I was able to broaden my knowledge and skills beyond the technical, especially on designing and implementing programs that are efficient, effective, and evidence-based. Through the course, I have the gained competencies that will enable me to communicate economic concepts, feasibility and analysis to stakeholders in a clear and understandable manner.”

Oyinlola Adewoyin, Chief Engineer at the Lagos State Ministry of Works and Infrastructure


Course outcomes

On this online course, you can expect to learn the language and concepts of economics for public policy, including about ‘mainstream economics’, economic rationale for government intervention and the financial challenges of public policy. You will also receive a certificate to support your career progression. See our full learning outcomes section for more detailed information.

This programme is also certified by CPD UK. Learners will be able to request their CPD certificate after successfully finishing the course, using their certificate of completion as proof of eligibility. The course has an estimated 40 hours of learning, equating to 40 CPD points.


Upon completion of the course, you will receive a certificate that will support your career progression and enhance your resume. You will have developed practical skills and solutions that you can take into your workplace, where they will have an immediate impact on your organisation. This programme is also certified by CPD UK.

Note, the onus is on students to request these CPD certificates at the end of their studies. The University and its partners accept no responsibility, and cannot be held responsible, for the claiming or validation of hours or points.

On this online course, you can expect to achieve the following:

  • Be able to explain what ‘mainstream economics’ is, identify relevant applications, and appreciate the limitations of this approach;
  • understand the economic rationale for government intervention in a variety of global settings, and critically appraise specific policy responses;
  • appreciate the challenges associated with the design and finance of public policy, both in theory and practice.

“It is a great opportunity to learn from one of the most prestigious centres of learning in the world, if the person can afford the fees and make time to study around their normal daily work and other engagements.”

Mobolaji Idowu, Project Manager at the Wildlife Conservation Society, Nigeria Program


You will study eight modules over the course of eight weeks. It is a collaborative learning process, week-by-week, so you will have ample opportunity to discuss key policy topics with your peers and a course Facilitator.

Activities will include set readings, reflection exercises, multiple-choice questions and discussion forums. Your Facilitator will guide you through these activities and provide feedback at each stage. These activities are not formally graded but you will need to participate in each to successfully complete the course and qualify for your certificate.

The final assessment, completed in module eight, will be your main summative assignment and marked by your Facilitator. Accompanying this in your final week will be a summative quiz. Altogether, the work you produce in your assessment week will be worth 50% of your final grade.

  • Fees and Funding

    The total cost of this short course is £1,740 (inclusive of VAT), with discounts available to Oxford University alumni, those working in a public sector role (evidence is required) and those who choose to study more than one of our online courses (our multi-course pathway).

    It is possible to pay your fees in two instalments, laying down a deposit (and reserving a space) before settling the final balance and securing your place on the course ahead of its start.

    For more information about our deposit scheme or discounts you may be entitled to, please feel free to email us.

    Considering asking your employer to fund your studies? Read our blog on the best way to approach them for sponsorship.

  • Learning experience

    In addition to learning from our expert world-leading academics, you will also benefit from a course Facilitator who will provide academic guidance throughout your learning journey.

    Upon completion of the course, you will receive a certificate that will support your career in real terms. You will undertake an independent project that you can take into your workplace, potentially creating an immediate impact on your organisation. The Facilitator will:

    • comment on weekly discussions on specific topics;
    • provide feedback on all project tasks; and
    • give comments and feedback on all activities.


    Your work on this course will bring theory to life through practical examples which you can apply to your own role:

    • interactive simulations
    • knowledge checks
    • case studies
    • discussion forums
    • practical exercises
  • Live sessions with course experts

    During the programme, you will have the opportunity to attend live sessions with your Facilitator and fellow students. All sessions are optional. If you cannot attend, you will have full access to recordings after each one.

    Week one: welcome and introductions

    This session is a chance to meet your Facilitator and introduce yourself to your peers. The Facilitator will give you an overview of the course, and you will have the chance to ask any questions and to have an open discussion with other learners.

    Week five: Q&A and final assessment preparation

    At this stage in the course, it is a good time to hear reflections and general feedback from your Facilitator on any common misunderstanding or themes identified in the discussions and assessments. You will be able to ask your questions and engage in an open discussion with your peers. There is also the opportunity to look ahead and receive feedforward before your final assessment.


Frequently asked questions

What are the entry requirements for Oxford's Evidence in Public Policy course?

“This is a great opportunity to delve into specific topics of relevance to your career and/or interest in an environment that is self-paced. It also enables one to develop, gain knowledge, be challenged, and enhance or build new skills in a premier institution with a renowned organisation.”

Dr Roni Ajao, Executive Director of a public sector consultancy in the UK

Enrol on the course today.

Request for information 

Complete the form and a member of our team will be in touch to tell you more about this course. We’ll also send you email updates and remind you of key dates.
(All fields marked with * are required) 

Calls may be recorded for quality and training purposes. By submitting your information, you agree that we may contact you via email, phone, SMS or WhatsApp.

Your details will be used to supply the information you requested and in accordance with our Privacy Policy. Further information can also be found in our Terms and Conditions.