Graduate Diploma in Public Policy and Program Evaluation: Facts and Questions for Applicants
- 1. For whom is this program designed?
The program is designed for those applicants who want dedicated study of the field of policy and program evaluation. It takes an international approach by referring to the emerging and prevailing literature. However, application of key concepts and approaches is usually based in the Canadian context. This does not preclude examination of international initiatives should students in the cohort wish to explore these.
Many types of individuals apply for this program. Typically, however, the program appeals to those who work within or with public sector organizations. These can be public servants at any level of government, nonprofit organizations, consultants working with public institutions, and private sector officers or managers who have responsibility to work with public institutions. Many applicants tend to hold a graduate degree and are looking for advanced study, but the program attracts many junior applicants who are wishing to enter the field. The DPE has a broad appeal and can accommodate many learners at different stages of their careers.
- 2. How is this program designed?
The DPE is 16 months long and cannot be fast-tracked. It constitutes six courses: 4 preparatory courses and 2 practicum courses. It runs from September to the following December for four consecutive semesters: fall, winter, spring/summer and fall. The program provides a collaborative cohort-based experience and students complete courses consecutively with each course building on the last toward a completed practicum/evaluation report.
Two preparatory courses are taken in the first fall term (PADM5441: Evaluation Theory and Practice; and, PADM5442: Quantitative Methods in Evaluation), followed by one preparatory (PADM5443: Qualitative Methods in Evaluation) and one practicum course in the winter term (PADM5445: Evaluation Design), then one preparatory course in the spring/summer term (PADM5444: Benefit-Cost Analysis in Evaluation), ending with the final practicum course in the second fall term (PADM5446: Data Analysis, Findings and Reporting).
The practicum project is determined in the first fall term. Students are encouraged to come to the program with ideas for a practicum client and potential project ideas. Students work in groups of two to four people over the duration of the DPE.
- 3. When does the program begin?
The program is designed as cohort-based. This means that all students proceed through the program together and learn from each other’s experiences in integrated study. As such, there is only one intake in the fall (September). There is no winter term intake.
- 4. Can courses be completed individually?
Given that the program is designed to be cohort-based, it is discouraged that students take courses individually, but are not prevented from doing so. Because DPE courses are exclusive to DPE students, those students who want to take courses individually would have to wait until the following year to take courses that were missed. In addition, courses build toward the completion of a practicum, which means that course content and assignments are geared toward supporting their projects.
- 5. Can I continue to work full-time while taking the DPE?
Yes! The DPE has been designed for working professionals and can be completed at a pace to allow students to continue with full-time employment. The online format allows for greater flexibility.
For those courses that provide synchronous learning opportunities such as classroom-based discussion, such activities are held typically in the evening (5:30 onward Eastern Standard Time [EST]). Many groups work on their projects during the evenings or on weekends.
Typical study time per course is approximately 5-6 hours per week per course. Work on practicum projects is often built into this time allocation, but this allocation may increase as practicum assignments become more complex. These time allocations tend to be in line with expectations in a regular in-person graduate course that is based on 3 hours of classroom instruction and 3 hours of preparation (e.g., preparing readings, weekly assignments, etc.).
- 6. Where can I find description of the SPPA faculty along with their research interests?
Each faculty member has a profile.
- 7. Can the DPE be used to obtain the Credentialed Evaluator (CE) designation with the Canadian Evaluation Society (CES)?
Yes! The program is designed to crosswalk to each of the Canadian Evaluation Society competencies, and those stipulated by the Treasury Board Secretariat for those interested in a career with the federal government. Upon completion, students are encouraged to apply for the CE credential.
- 8. What is my student status in the DPE program?
All DPE students are registered as full-time students for the first fall semester. This ensures that provincial tuition subsidies are available for the duration of the program.
After the first fall term, students will have the option to change their status to part-time. For those students receiving student assistance such as OSAP, it is important that they follow OSAP regulations and remain full-time in the program throughout. For all other students, changing their status to part-time after the first term is advised in order to reduce tuition costs.
It is important to note that a student’s status in the DPE is not based on the number of courses one is taking. Unlike a regular undergraduate or graduate degree, status is based on standing in the diploma overall. If you would like more information on this, please contact the Graduate Administrator, Ashley McKee.
- 9. When are applications due?
The deadline for applications for the DPE is June 15 each year.
- 10. Is the program completely online?
Yes, this program is offered completely online. Courses take advantage of online learning tools and provide frequent opportunities for synchronous and asynchronous interaction. Students are required to work on an actual evaluation project with dedicated effort relating to a real evaluation client.
- 11. What are the admission requirements for the program?
The admission requirements for the program is a completed bachelor’s degree or equivalent with an overall average of B+ or better. The program also considers mid-career applicants who do not hold an undergraduate degree, but who have demonstrated relevant professional excellence over several years.
- 12. What documents are required for the application?
Applications are submitted online, on Carleton 360, and you will be required to upload all required documents, which include:
- Curriculum Vitae/Résumé
- Language proficiency (if required for international applicants)
- Two letters of reference (one of these from an academic reference is preferred)
- Statement of Intent
- All relevant transcript(s)
- Writing sample of an academic work
For the Curriculum Vitae/Résumé, there is no required format or specified length.
For the LANGUAGE REQUIREMENT students should demonstrate that their use of English is strong enough for graduate studies at an English-language university. For Carleton’s language proficiency guidelines, please see the Graduate Studies page regarding International Students: English as a Second Language.:
Your referees should have the ability to speak to your capacity to excel in the program based on observations or evidence of graduate level work. Professional referees especially should provide evidence of superior abilities in research, writing, cognition and teamwork.
Your Statement of Intent should be no more than one page, single spaced. In it, please outline briefly: academic and/or professional experience; as well as personal and professional goals and how the program will build on that experience in order to help you reach those goals. If you feel there is anything else that we should know, please feel free to include it.
All TRANSCRIPTS should be submitted from post-secondary institutions you have attended.
The writing sample should be approximately 10 pages long. This should serve as an example of your writing capability. Applicants should be the sole author ideally. Please submit the entire paper in PDF format (i.e. if your paper is greater than 10 pages).
- 13. When and how do I complete my comprehensive exams?
Passing a comprehensive examination is another requirement of the program. Comprehensive exams are normally held in the summer after the first year, once all core course work has been successfully completed. The exam will be based on the four core courses and will occur in early August.
- 15. Are there any scholarships or bursaries available?
There are no scholarships or bursaries available for the DPE program.