Values and Public Policy - Political Philosophy in Practice, Certificate | Part time online | University of Oxford | United Kingdom
56 days
1740 GBP/full
1740 GBP/full
Tuition fee
Apply date
Start date


This eight-week Values and Public Policy - Political Philosophy in Practice online course from University of Oxford’s Blavatnik School of Government will teach you the skills to understand the key moral and ethical value concepts that should inform public policy. Study alongside like-minded thinkers and learn to apply political philosophy to policymaking.

Visit the official programme website for more information


What is the purpose of government? This is the fundamental question you will examine when studying this ground-breaking short course, delivered by the Blavatnik School of Government and Pearson, leaders in online learning. 

You will learn to think critically, drawing out the key values that should be considered in this question.

The Values and Public Policy - Political Philosophy in Practice programme from the University of Oxford promotes critical evaluation of the thinking that should underpin good policy decisions and reflection on the moral complexities that policymakers must engage with. 

It explores practical dilemmas when the idea of government’s purpose may conflict with fundamental values, virtue and morality.  

Throughout this online course, you will: 

  • identify where the moral and political meet, recognising when issues of public policy are not solely technical but involve fundamental values and conflicts between these values; 
  • enhance your understanding of the key-value concepts that should inform public policy; 
  • develop skills of reasoning about and resolving ethical dilemmas and be able to communicate conclusions and the reasons for them; and 
  • critically scrutinise your own ethical and political assumptions, and reflect on the moral complexities of policymaking scenarios that you have or may find yourself in.

Upon successful completion of the course, you will understand the key moral and ethical value concepts that should inform public policy, knowledge which will have immediate benefits to your career. You will also receive a certificate that will support your career progression and enhance your resume.

Programme Structure

You will study eight modules over the course of eight weeks. 

It is a collaborative learning process, so you will have ample opportunity to discuss key policy topics with your peers and a course Facilitator – a professional with a relevant background who will provide academic guidance throughout your studies.

  • Module 0: Getting started 
  • Module 1: Introduction to foundations 
  • Module 2: The common good 
  • Module 3: Distributive justice: property, tax and welfare 
  • Module 4: Distributive justice: social justice 
  • Module 5: Authority and resistance: democracy, its rivals and its pathologies 
  • Module 6: Authority and resistance: human rights and civil disobedience 
  • Module 7: Philosophy in public life 
  • Module 8: Summary
The final assessment, completed in module eight, will be your main summative assignment. It will be marked by your Facilitator and will be worth 50% of your final grade.  


  • Jonathan Wolff – Alfred Landecker Professor of Values and Public Policy
  • Tom Simpson – Associate Professor of Philosophy and Public Policy

Key information


  • Part-time
    • 56 days
    • 3 hrs/week

Start dates & application deadlines




  • Semi-structured
  • No Attendance
  • Individual work/assignments (with online group discussions)

Academic requirements

We are not aware of any specific GRE, GMAT or GPA grading score requirements for this programme.

English requirements

We are not aware of any English requirements for this programme.

Other requirements

General requirements

  • This distance learning course is designed for you if you need to interact with, understand and interpret policy as part of your job.
  • You should consider this programme if you work in an NGO, an agency, the public or private sector, in journalism or the civil service.
  • There are no entry requirements for this short course, though it is expected that you will have had some exposure to politics/political theory and philosophy before joining. It is also expected that you have career experience working with policy, in any industry.
  • In addition, please be aware that this course 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.

Tuition Fee

To always see correct tuition fees
  • International

    1740 GBP/full
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the tuition of 1740 GBP for the full programme during 56 days.
  • National

    1740 GBP/full
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the tuition of 1740 GBP for the full programme during 56 days.
  • Discounts available to alumni and those working in the public sector. Evidence required.


The Blavatnik School of Government and Pearson believe that access to finance should never be a barrier to studying. Discounts on our online short courses are available to Oxford University alumni, those working in a public sector role and living in certain geographical regions* (evidence is required).

It is also possible to pay your fees in two instalments. The first payment will be a deposit to reserve your space on the course, and the second will settle your balance ahead of the course start date.

We also encourage employers to fund their employees on our online short courses. If your employer funds more than one employee, they can benefit from a corporate discount; the more employees they sponsor, the higher the discount they can receive.

* Eligible countries currently include Brazil, India, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Peru, Columbia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Jordan, Egypt and all of Africa.

Studyportals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.

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Values and Public Policy - Political Philosophy in Practice
University of Oxford


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