We live in an era of profound economic, social, technological and environmental challenges. These challenges are complex and intersecting. They cross jurisdictions. And in order to address them, societies and their governments need individuals with the desire and skills to be effective players in the processes and organizations through which public policies are decided, implemented and evaluated.
If you want to be among those individuals, then our Master of Public Policy and Administration can provide the skills to get you there: interpreting and applying input from diverse sources, identifying tradeoffs and ethical concerns, and making and acting on evidence-based recommendations. Through academically grounded course work, co-op opportunities, professional workshops and extensive networking opportunities, our graduates become versatile, analytical and independent thinkers who are well-connected, informed and ready for a range of substantive careers working in or with the public sector.
Our alumni include Yaprak Baltacioğlu, current Carleton University Chancellor, who was identified by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as “one of Canada’s most distinguished, most respected public servants.”
For more than sixty years, our graduates—now in the thousands—have helped their societies and governments address the challenges of their day. They serve as deputy ministers, officers of Parliament and policy analysts at federal, provincial or municipal levels. They include leaders of government relations offices within businesses, executive directors of NGOs and senior officials of international organizations. Many go on to complete PhDs to teach or to work in a research capacity. Together with current students, our alumni form a network that spans Canada and abroad, fostering ongoing learning and professional opportunities.
Our approach to comprehending what governments can or should do starts with real-world situations, and then brings to them the understanding that allows identification of key considerations and influences, their interconnections and their responsiveness to policy tools. The MPPA enables you to develop that understanding through core courses that connect the concrete to the conceptual, that balance theory with practice. These courses introduce you to the types of modern challenges that governments now face and the fundamental techniques of policy analysis. They provide a grounding in the research methods to measure the need for and effects of public policies and programs. They enable you to recognize multiple forms of markets and transactions, the effects of incentives and the ways in which economies do or do not serve the material well-being of their populations. The courses also prepare you to anticipate and work with government institutions, the central skills required by public managers, and the legal and ethical frameworks in which they function. A final-year capstone course gives you the hands-on experience of working in teams to develop strategies to address a particular policy problem.
Students entering the MPPA come from across Canada, and from a variety of educational backgrounds including the social sciences, humanities, natural sciences or engineering. The first two terms of full-time study focus on material key to understanding the issues and processes of public policy and administration. The final terms allow students to specialize—whether to complete a concentration in Indigenous Policy and Administration, or to focus on areas such as health, sustainability, evaluation or public management. A student-run peer-reviewed journal on public policy encourages originality and analytical rigour in course work, providing a publication venue for the best papers.
The School’s faculty link the academic and professional worlds of public policy through their teaching and research. As well, seasoned practitioners, guest speakers and study tours bring immediacy and practical insight to the program. Many students build career experience by completing one or two terms of paid co-op work with a federal, provincial or municipal government department, or in the private or nonprofit sectors.
The Master of Public Policy and Administration is made up of ten required single-semester courses and four electives. It can be completed in five or six terms of full-time study, including two terms of full-time co-op work. The program can be completed over a shorter period without the co-op terms, or over a longer period through part-time study.
Please see the Graduate Calendar for detailed information on the degree structure and course descriptions.
Information on Admissions
Please see the Graduate Calendar for admission requirements.
For an estimate of tuition fees, please use the fee estimate calculator.