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The Institute of Political Economy at Carleton University is the only graduate program of its kind in Canada. Since its founding in 1989, the Institute has developed an international reputation as one of the top destinations in North America for studies in political economy—an interdisciplinary approach to the study of power and the (re)production of social relations in contemporary societies.

The interdisciplinary nature of our programs attracts students from diverse undergraduate backgrounds such as Sociology, Political Science, Geography, Journalism, Environmental Studies, Legal Studies, Communications, History, and Economics. Students are given the freedom to define their own research topics, enrol in courses from other departments, and work under the supervision of a wide range of recognized experts.

Through the application of diverse critical political economy analyses, students are able to rigorously explore contemporary Canadian and global issues such as finance, migration and borders, labour and power relations, environmental justice, Indigenous resurgence, race and racism, gender and sexuality, colonialism, food sovereignty, and community activism.

“The Institute serves as a crucial nexus for students and academics alike. It is one major reason why, in the eyes of many Canadian social scientists, Carleton University is one of the very best research and teaching institutions in the country.”

 — Prof. William Carroll, University of Victoria

Core seminars at the Institute are small (usually 10-20 students), giving students the opportunity to study closely with leading Canadian and international scholars. Every year, two distinguished scholars with international research profile spend a semester each in residence at the Institute, teaching as visiting professors during the fall and winter terms.

Alumni of Political Economy have completed their theses, research projects, and dissertations on a wide range of important issues and have followed their research interests to help influence positive change in both the private and public sectors. A significant number of our MA graduates go on to pursue doctoral work at Carleton or at top universities in North America and the UK, in a range of disciplines. Others have found work for the federal and provincial governments, NGOs, and trade unions immediately following graduation.  Visit our Alumni page, which features a number of alumni profiles, for a glimpse into the career paths of Political Economy graduates.

Interdisciplinary degree programs in Political Economy

The Institute offers three programs, with a total of six diploma or degree options.

Admission is competitive. Each year, the Institute attracts a small but outstanding cohort of students to our MA program from other Canadian universities and from abroad.  We also partner with nine other Carleton departments in offering a collaborative PhD program, and in 2020 we admitted our first students to the Diploma Program in Work and Labour.  More information about our graduate diploma and graduate degrees is here:



COVID-19 Service Update: As Carleton University continues to follow Ottawa Public Health guidelines, we are currently working in person and remotely during our regular business hours (8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday). For specifics please go here. More information on Carleton’s COVID response can be found here.