We live in an era of profound economic, social, technological and environmental challenges. Our students rise to the challenge of addressing complex issues. The Master of Public Policy and Administration prepares students to interpret and apply input from diverse sources, identify tradeoffs and ethical concerns, and make evidence-based recommendations.

Program Overview

The Master of Public Policy and Administration (MPPA) prepares students for exciting careers tackling today’s most pressing social and economic challenges. Students learn to interpret and apply insights from diverse sources, identify tradeoffs and ethical concerns, and make evidence-based recommendations.

Through academically grounded coursework, including the MPPA Capstone, co-op opportunities, professional skills workshops, and extensive professional networking opportunities, the MPPA provides a comprehensive and rigorous preparation for many diverse careers.

Our graduates become versatile, analytical, and independent thinkers who are well-connected, informed, and ready for careers working in or engaging with the public sector. Graduates from the MPPA work in governments; consulting firms specializing in public policy; corporate government relations divisions; and governmental and non-governmental organizations at the national or international level.

Where can a master’s degree in Public Policy and Administration take you?

“Anyone who wants to be a leader of tomorrow, should go to Carleton today.” Arun Thangaraj (MAPA/97), Deputy-Minister, Transport Canada

Our students dive into real-word issues to discuss what governments can or should do. They learn to identify key considerations and influences, interconnections and responsiveness to policy tools. Our core courses connect the concrete to the conceptual, balancing theory with practice. Our students learn about the types of challenges governments face and the techniques of policy analysis. Grounded in research methods to measure the need for and effects of public policies and programs, our courses prepare students to work with government institutions, the central skills required by public managers, and legal and ethical frameworks. A final-year capstone course gives students the experience of working with a team to develop strategies to address a national policy problem and receive expert feedback from practitioners with decades of experience in politics and public administration.

The Experience

MPPA students come 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 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 Data Science, or to focus on areas such as health, climate and sustainability, evaluation, or social policy.

SPPA’s world class faculty link the academic and professional fields of public policy through their teaching and research (see more on SPPA’s  faculty research). As well, seasoned practitioners, guest speakers, and study tours bring 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.

Degree Structure

The MPPA is made up of  nine required single-semester courses and five electives. Electives may be completed as four individual courses, as two courses and a major research essay, or as a MPPA thesis. To complete a research essay or MPPA thesis, you must find a faculty supervisor to support your work.

All applicants to the program are eligible to receive Advanced Completion Credit for certain courses completed during their undergraduate degrees, reducing the number of MPPA courses required to finish the degree. In particular, Students in Carleton’s Bachelor of Public Affairs and Policy Management should consult requirements for our accelerated pathway options that can reduce the required or elective courses they must complete for the MPPA.

The program can be completed in five or six terms of full-time study, including two terms of full-time co-op work. Please see the Graduate Calendar for detailed information on the degree structure and course descriptions.

Degree Options

The MPPA program has a variety of electives, program add-ons, and other opportunities that students can pursue to complement their studies.


Concurrent Graduate Diplomas:

Students can also receive special designation for completing a series of professional skills workshops, honing the practical skills they will need to thrive in their policy careers.