Undergraduate Module Descriptor

POC3119: The Modern Civil Service: Working in Government

This module descriptor refers to the 2019/0 academic year.

Please note that this module is only delivered on the Penryn Campus.


NQF Level 6
Credits 15 ECTS Value 7.5
Term(s) and duration

This module ran during term 2 (11 weeks)

Academic staff

Dr Nick Kirsop-Taylor (Convenor)


POC1014 The public policy process



Available via distance learning


In this module you will learn about the historical and social roots of the civil service as a critical component in good governance. You will learn about the emergence of different forms of civil service and bureaucracy through a broad internationally-situated series of cases including (though not exclusively) the Roman civil service, the Shang dynasty bureaucracy, the Napoleonic bureaucratic model and the British civil service.  You will learn about the ‘emergence’ of the modern civil service and will be introduced to the key forms and structures that the agencies and institutions of the executive can take.  You will engage with a number of critical key debates in contemporary discourse including issues of public accountability, funding, and professionalism.  Through the experiences of a range of guest speakers you will get the opportunity to learn about the contemporary ‘lived experience’ of the civil servants. 

The weekly seminars will offer you the opportunity to understand and progress along personal professional journeys towards civil service entrance exams in general, and the UK Fast Stream in particular.  In seminars you will undertake reflective activities, trial entrance exam activities, and undertake preparatory exercises for the Fast Stream selection process.  This process will be captured in a reflective portfolio, with a professional CV and personal biography as the tangible products to help you on the next step of your postgraduate career.  In summary, this module will give you the dedicated time and support to maximise your post-graduate opportunities for civil service careers.  

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