Citizens have a right to expect both accountability in their governments and quality in the public programs and services they receive. In support of that right, trained program evaluators use social science research tools to check the effects of public programs. Their technical talents—whether exercised in governments, international development agencies, consulting firms, businesses or non-profits—add enormous value by measuring and communicating program performance, effectiveness and impact. People skills are equally important: the job of an evaluator requires asking the right questions, recognizing clients’ unique interests, as well as managing processes that require collaboration but may involve conflict.
Our online graduate Diploma in Public Policy and Program Evaluation (DPE) prepares you to take on the roles of evaluators and managers of evaluation. Because the DPE is delivered exclusively online, you can complete it while employed without the need to relocate to the National Capital Region.
Our graduates now serve as evaluators and policy analysts in all levels of government and in the private and nonprofit sectors, working in areas of ethics, oversight, audit and performance measurement. Many of them have used the DPE to acquire the Credentialed Evaluator (CE) designation offered by the Canadian Evaluation Society (CES). They bring not only a technical facility, but also an understanding of where evaluation fits into the broader contexts of public policy, strategic management and accountability. As a consequence, the evaluations they perform are culturally relevant, methodologically rigorous and comply with professional ethical guidelines.
Each year, the six online courses that compose the DPE are framed around a set of real-world clients and evaluation projects, linking the conceptual with the concrete. The courses introduce you to the theories and approaches of public sector evaluation as practiced in Canada and internationally. They provide you with a grounding in quantitative methods and benefit-cost analysis to describe and measure the outcomes of public sector investments and programs. They develop your ability using qualitative methods to gather evidence, formulate evaluation questions and create research designs. Finally—working in groups, and under the supervision of seasoned practitioner-instructors—they guide you in the practice of evaluation. Learning by doing, you will plan and design a study in consultation with a client, derive and validate findings, make and present your recommendations.
A cohort of experienced and aspiring professionals from across Canada and abroad enter the DPE each year. The cohort size is capped to ensure a diversity of backgrounds, but preserve individual attention. The structured online delivery format includes organized discussions, pre-recorded lectures and real-time sessions, with regularly paced readings and assignments. The courses are delivered by faculty from the School of Public Policy and Administration, as well as seasoned practitioners bringing particular expertise.
Students enter the DPE in the Fall term. The six online single-semester courses are offered across four consecutive terms of study, including Summer—a pace that enables students to complete the program in 16 months while remaining employed.
Upon completion, students may apply up to four of the six diploma courses toward the Master of Public Policy and Administration, thereby reducing its length.