What is the Clayton H. Riddell Graduate Program in Political Management?

It is a one year full-time masters degree program that will prepare students for careers as senior staff members to elected representatives, political managers and strategists, government relations consultants and political liaison officers for civil society organizations. The program will directly influence the quality of political practice and decision-making in Canada.

What’s the need?

Political staff play a key role in the development and implementation of public policy at the federal, provincial and municipal levels. Despite this, until now they have received no formal training in political management. The Clayton H. Riddell Graduate Program will equip political staff to become better political managers and administrators. The result will be better public policy for Canadians.

Where will they work?

Graduates will work in municipal, provincial and federal politics as legislative assistants, strategists for political parties, campaign managers and senior government advisers, among other positions.

Graduates could also find employment with non-governmental organizations, advocacy groups and in the private sector.

Degree type?

The program will award a master’s degree in political management.

How long is the program?

Pursued full-time, the degree will be completed in 10 months.

How much does the program cost?

The program, on average, costs $12,500 for tuition for all 3 terms (books, supplies, and living/other expenses are not included in this amount).

When was it created?

The program formally began in September 2011.

Is there funding available for students in the program?

Every student admitted into the program will be considered for entrance scholarships and bursaries. The amount of funding awarded to a student varies each year. Due to the nature of the program, there are no teaching or research assistantships available.

How many students are admitted?

A maximum of 25 students will be admitted each year.

Who teaches in the program?

Courses are taught by core faculty who are seasoned political practitioners as well as credentialed and experienced academic teachers and researchers, and also by experienced Canadian political managers drawn from the offices of elected officials, political parties, non-governmental organizations and political consultancies, giving students the benefits of a balanced mix of academic learning and practical experience.

What kinds of courses are offered?

There is a spine of required courses in institutions and governance, strategic communications and political management. Elective courses include polling and opinion research, political campaigns, political advocacy and marketing and media, among others. The program is delivered in class on campus.

Is this program available elsewhere?

The Riddell Program in Political Management is an important first for Canada, and one of which Carleton University is especially proud.

The best-known and largest similar program is the Graduate School of Political Management (GSPM) at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., which had its origins in New York City in 1980. Carleton University consulted with the GPSM as the Riddell Program was being designed, and with the Bliss Institute for Applied Politics at the University of Akron, Ohio.  We are grateful for the counsel of our American colleagues, but the Riddell Program has been created with parliamentary politics and democracy in mind, and Canadian parliamentary politics in specific.