BPAPM Specializations: Focusing your Program of Studies

Specialization Guide – For students who commenced the program in Sept. 2020 or later

Specialization Guide – For students who commenced the program between Sept. 2016 and Sept. 2019

Specialization Guide – For students who commenced the program in Sept. 2015 or earlier

After your first year of public affairs and policy management studies, which include an introduction to political and economic conceptions of the state and public policy and interdisciplinary understandings of public institutions and processes, you will begin to focus your studies by selecting a specialization and one of nine related policy areas. The four specializations, and nine policy streams within them, accommodate a wide range of policy interests and prepare you for a number of possible career paths and future studies.

Of the 20 credits that make up the BPAPM degree, 8 credits will relate to your selected area of specialization, including 6.5 credits from relevant courses offered by contributing departments (in addition to your 4th year PAPM courses). In year two of your studies you will commence your specialization requirements with 1.0 credit, moving to 3.0 credits related to the specialization in year three and 2.5 credits in year four, along with PAPM 4000 (capstone seminar) and PAPM 4908 (honours research essay).

The BPAPM specialization requirements were recently updated to enhance current policy relevance and to support a wider range of policy interests and possible career paths. We offer four specializations, each containing policy streams that reflect specific policy areas within the broader specialization field. This has enabled us to expand from the original 7 policy areas to offer study in 9 areas. All policy areas in the original 7 BPAPM specializations are retained, either in the form of updated specializations or as subsidiary policy streams (policy concentrations within the specialization), and we have incorporated emerging new areas of public policy concern (environmental and sustainable energy, security and intelligence). The new specialization scheme helps to ensures that the BPAPM is up to date and relevant for students encountering today’s world of public affairs, sustaining our reputation of providing an excellent background for careers as public policy professionals or for further graduate studies in a wide range of disciplines.

1. Communication and Policy Studies:
The policy issues associated with the practices and changing forms of communication. Students in this specialization will pursue common specialization requirements, and choose 3.0 credits in one of two subsidiary policy streams, within the 8 credits required for this specialization:
Policy Stream in Communication Technologies and Regulation: Policies concerned with publishing, broadcasting, telecommunications, internet, information systems; impact of digital and other technological transformations; regulatory regimes and rights (expression, access and privacy).
Policy Stream in Strategic Public Opinion: Policy advocacy and persuasion, strategic communication, polling and opinion research, political campaigns and market intelligence.

2. Development Policy Studies:
Policies to promote legal, political and economic advances to improve conditions in underdeveloped countries or disadvantaged communities domestically. Students in this specialization will pursue common specialization requirements, and choose 3.5 credits in one of two subsidiary policy streams, within the 8 credits required for this specialization:
Policy Stream in Rights and Human Development: International and comparative national/regional social, political development issues and human rights.
Policy Stream in Global Economic Relations: The economic and related political dimensions of globalization and development challenges, the local impact of international economic policies (e.g., trade, finance and monetary).

3. International Policy Studies:
The international issues and policy challenges facing states and international institutions in an increasingly connected world. Students in this specialization will pursue common specialization requirements, and choose 3.5 credits in one of two subsidiary policy streams, within the 8 credits required for this specialization:
Policy Stream in International Relations and Conflict: International responses to, and management of, problems related to international peace and conflict.
Policy Stream in Security and Intelligence: Responses to terrorism, international and national security policies, intelligence and threat assessments, defence policy, and the political and legal implications of these policies.

4. Public Policy and Administration:
This specialization focuses on the analytical and managerial public policy skills, and an understanding of pressing public issues of concern to Canadian governments and NGOs. Students in this specialization will pursue common specialization requirements, and choose 3.5 credits in one of three policy streams, within the 8 credits required for this specialization:
Policy Stream in Social Policy: Policies concerned with social welfare and income security, health and education.
Policy Stream in Economic Policy: Policies concerned with the public operations and activities under federal, provincial and municipal jurisdictions, related fiscal and taxation issues, relations between public and private sectors.
Policy Stream in Environmental & Sustainable Energy Policy: Local, regional, national and international environmental and energy policies, protection of environments and integrity of air, water, land, flora and fauna, managing energy demands and sustainable alternative sources.

A Note on Selecting a Specialization:

Students are encouraged to hold off on choosing or committing to a specialization until the conclusion of year one of the program. For many students the specialization they have in mind when applying to the program or at the beginning of first year will be different from the one they end up choosing. Keep an open mind during your first year of studies and with your introductory courses nearing completion you are in a better position to make an informed choice about a specialization. A specialization information session will also be held at the end of Winter Term for all first year students, with more details on the specializations, presentations and an opportunity for you to ask questions. Students formally choose their specialization by completing a “Change of Program Elements” form on Carleton Central and further details about this process will be provided at the information session.