New online course on evidence in public policy – enrol now

Martin Williams is co-director of the Evidence in Public Policy online course

The Blavatnik School is launching a new online short course aimed at understanding how to devise and implement policies informed by facts, rather than opinion or instinct.

Now more than ever, people around the world care deeply about the use of evidence to inform governments’ policy decisions. At the same time, online learning has become the new normal for many people.

The new Evidence in Public Policy is an intensive, eight-week course which puts the science of evaluating policy into practice; it is delivered entirely online so that everyone around the world will be able to benefit from Oxford’s excellence in teaching.

The course is based on our Master of Public Policy and is co-directed by Blavatnik School's faculty Martin Williams and Julien Labonne.

Enrolment is open now for the first intake of students starting on 1 May; an early bird discount is offered to those who enrol by Friday 17 April.

Students will work through eight modules, introducing the concepts of causality, randomised control trials, how to find and apply evidence and how to evaluate the impact of a policy. There is also an independent assignment due at the end of the programme.

The course, delivered in partnership with Pearson, is designed for those who need to be able to evaluate the impact of policies anywhere in the world. In particular, early- to mid-career civil servants, experienced professionals in international organisations or not-for-profits, or those running for office (or already in office) will find this course particularly useful.

Martin Williams, Associate Professor in Public Management and course co-director, said: “All around the world, there is a clear need for better governance, and using evidence to inform policy decisions is an important part of achieving this. The Blavatnik School’s new online course will guide participants in how to gather, interpret, and apply evidence to policymaking and service delivery, so that they will be better placed to support their government, not-for-profit or public sector organisation.”

Julien Labonne, Associate Professor in Economics and Public Policy and course co-director, said: “Everyone agrees that policy should be informed by evidence, but it tends to be seen as an abstract and technical exercise that risks ignoring local context. In this online course we teach participants the key technical skills they need to gather and critique evidence, but also delve into the practicalities of how to consider how evidence from other places should be applied in each policymaker’s own context.”

Watch the video below for a taste of what the course is like, and visit to find out more about the course structure, modules, and details on how to enrol.