Please enable javascript to view this page in its intended format.

Queen's University

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    1. About the MPA Program
    2. Admissions Qualifications
    3. Applications Process
    4. Following Decisions
    5. Deferment and Reapplication
    6. Financial Support
    7. Of Special Interest to International Students
    8. Program Fees
    9. Other Questions


    1. About the MPA Program

    What is the difference between the MPA and PMPA programs? To which should I apply?

    The MPA program is a one-year, full-time Master of Public Administration program. The majority of MPA candidates are recent university graduates who are looking to develop their skills and knowledge in governance and policy analysis for future roles in the public service or the non-profit sector. Mid-career candidates join the program to change or upgrade their skills and knowledge in public policy.

    The PMPA program is for a two-year, part-time program for individuals who have a minimum of five years employment experience in the public sector or related activities. It allows candidates to continue in full-time employment, while pursuing graduate studies in public policy and administration.

    May I begin my studies in January or May?

    No. You may begin in the MPA and PMPA programs only in September. Core courses offered in the first term provide a foundation for winter and spring term courses.

    I wish to apply as a special student to take one or two courses. Is this possible? What do I need to do?

    Yes. If you meet the minimum academic requirement for admission, you may apply to take up to two courses as a special student in one academic term. You must submit a formal application (and application fee) to the School of Graduate Studies through the online application system and indicate at that time the courses in which you propose to enroll. As part of your application, you must submit two copies of academic transcripts from the post-secondary institution(s) that you have attended.

    Special students may enroll in elective courses in which the maximum enrolment has not been met.

    When is the internship offered?

    Full-time students who have completed their program of study are eligible to compete for and accept a one-term co-op position with the Government of Canada through the MPA Internship (MPA-890). A small number of students choose this transitional school-to-work program each year.

    What do graduates do on completion of their MPA studies?

    On degree completion, the majority of MPA graduates take up their first career placement in a policy analysis or research role with a federal or provincial government department within three months. About 15 percent of graduates choose to continue their education in another professional program.

    I have completed my undergraduate studies in French at a Quebec university. Do I need to take the TOEFL?

    No, you need not take TOEFL.

    Do you offer a PhD program in Public Administration?

    No, we offer only professional programs at the graduate level in Public Policy. We also offer a one-year professional graduate degree program in Industrial Relations (MIR).

    2. Admission Qualifications (Additional information for International Students appears in a separate section at the end of this document)

    I am very interested in enrolling in the MPA program but do not have a “B+” standing in my last two years of study. How can I improve my eligibility for admission?

    Candidates who do not have a minimum “B+” (or 75-79% or 3.3 GPA) in their last two years of university study should not apply to the program. The size and strength of the applicant pool means that they will not qualify for admission.

    Individuals who do not meet the minimum academic qualification for admission must complete at least one additional year of post-degree studies, at the senior undergraduate or graduate level, preferably with a minimum “A-” (or 80 percent or 3.6 GPA) average standing. In addition, a strong score on the Graduate Admission Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) may improve your eligibility for admission.

    I meet the minimum admission (B+) requirement for the MPA program. Will I be accepted? Are there any exams I can take to get admitted to the program?

    Meeting the minimum admission requirement does not guarantee admission to the MPA program. As we receive many more applications than we have places, we must refuse qualified, but less competitive, candidates.

    I have a three-year general bachelor’s degree. Can I enroll as a qualifying student to complete the MPA program?

    The School of Policy Studies does not offer qualifying courses. Admission candidates who do not have a four-year degree must complete an additional year of full-time study at the senior undergraduate or graduate level, earning a minimum “B+” (or 75 percent or 3.5 GPA), to be considered competitive for admission. Post-degree studies can be completed at any accredited post-secondary institution.
    I am currently in my fourth year of an undergraduate program. Therefore, my transcript shows grades for the first three years and some (or none) of my fourth-year courses.  How will you calculate my average?

    When submitting their application, most applicants are still enrolled in their final year of an undergraduate or graduate degree program. The Admissions Committee will then look at the candidate’s last two years of full-time studies and their first term grades (when available) in their current year of study.

    I have applied for admission to the MPA program and another graduate program at Queen’s University? Do I need to submit two sets of transcripts and reference letters?

    Yes. You must submit two copies of transcripts for each application that you submit to Queen’s University. In addition, you must submit new letters of reference for each application. The Graduate School does not share application documents among departments.
    I am a Queen’s undergraduate student. Will you get copies of my transcripts directly from the Registrar’s office or do I have to make arrangements to have transcripts sent to you?

    Students who previously attended or currently attend Queen’s University will no longer be required to submit official transcripts from Queen’s University when applying for graduate study when you indicate that previous study was undertaken at Queen's University.  

    You are required to email us with your student no. to request a copy of your internal record.  An unofficial transcript will be printed and added to your application by program staff.  

    Grades in my Master’s program are much better than at the undergraduate level. Can I be accepted to the program based on my Master’s degree grades only?

    Grades in your Master’s degree program will be considered, in addition to your grades in your final two years of undergraduate study. The improvement in your grades will be noted positively.

    3. Application Process

    I am not sure of my “Research Interests” at this time. Do I need to complete this section of the application form?

    This section provides an opportunity for you to tell us about your specific policy interests. You do not need to complete this section, if you are interested in public policy and management more generally.
    You may enter “To be determined” and proceed to the next question.

    I have many policy interests. How many should I list in this section?

    Remember this is a professional, not research, graduate degree program. Sharing your general policy interests with us helps us to learn more about you and collectively may guide us in planning optional courses in future.

    I am still completing my undergraduate degree program and do not have any professional work experience. How do I complete the section that asks for Professional Work Experience?

    You may type “None” in one set of the questions and leave the rest blank. This will allow you to proceed to the next question. Applicants to the part-time Professional MPA (PMPA), as well as mid-career candidates to the MPA program, will complete this section.

    In the resume section, should I include all of my summer work experiences? I have had several jobs but none of them have been in government or policy-related roles. Should I also include my volunteer experience?

    In this section, you should provide us with information about your recent employment and volunteer experience (ie. paid and unpaid work).  We are especially interested in knowing about summer or part-time employment, volunteer work and/or student leadership activities during the last three to four years (i.e. since university entrance).

    How important is professional experience to winning a place in the program?

    Academic standing is the primary criterion in our assessment of MPA candidates. Other activities, including work experience, volunteer roles and leadership activities, as well as the information provided by your referees help us to learn more about your strengths and capabilities. While not determinative to our admission, they are important as supportive documents.

    PMPA admission candidates should have a minimum of five years of continuing full-time employment experience in the public sector or related activities.

    When will my references be contacted?

    The Graduate School will contact your references by email immediately (if you provide email addresses on your application) following your formal submissionof the application (after paying application fee using credit card).

    May I provide more than two references?

    Yes. You may provide the contact information for a third reference but you only need two references.
    Please advise your referees to check their email (“IN” and “JUNK” mailboxes) for the electronic reference form. They should receive this email soon after you submit your completed application.

    By submitting your application early, your referees are more likely to submit their letters before the application deadline. This means that your application will receive earlier consideration.

    My referees are having trouble completing the on-line reference form. Can you help?

    For assistance in completing the reference form, please ask them to contact the Queen’s Graduate School by email at or by telephone at 613.533.6100.

    Where can I find Statement of Interest?  What should I include in the statement ? How long should it be?

    You will not find a tab for “Statement of Interest” or for “Resume” on the application form. However, after you complete "Reference Information", save and continue, the section for "Resume" will pop up.  After you save and continue, you will get  Statement of Interest.

    The statement of interest provides an opportunity for you to tell us more about yourself and in particular your reasons for wanting to enroll in the Queen’s MPA program. The statement should be 250 words or less (no more than 2000 characters).

    If, for any reason, you do not find “Resume” or “Statement of Interest” questions, you may email these two documents, as attachments, to to include them to your file.

    What do I do if I have to submit more information than there is space provided in the on-line application?

    Only in exceptional circumstances should you provide us with additional written information. In that case, you may send additional information to us at Please include your name or application number on each page.

    Can I send my supporting documents before I submit my application?

    Yes, you may send your transcripts and other supporting document prior to submitting the on-line application form. We will match them with your application when we receive your application.

    What additional documents do I send and where do I send them?

    You need not send additional documents. All that we require are two copies of your transcript(s) and references (if your professors/referees are unable to send them electronically or prefer to send hard copy). We do not require both electronic and hard copy of the same reference. These documents are to be mailed to the following address:

    School of Graduate Studies 
    Gordon Hall, Room 425
    74 Union Street
    Queen's University
    Kingston, Ontario, Canada K7L 3N6


    I would like to apply online but my professors would like to send their reference in hard copy format. Do you accept references in letter format?

    Yes, your professors may mail your reference in hard copy format on our standard reference form or in letter format. If they choose letter format, you may print off the form (as a PDF) from the online application site.  They can complete and mail it directly or you may submit them in sealed envelopes, to the above address.

    When can we expect notice of an admission decision?

    Our goal is to provide notice of decision to all MPA admission candidates (who have submitted a completed application) in April.

    How will I know when you have received my transcripts and reference letters?

    You may check the on-line application service to see what documents we have received, noting that it may take us a few days to update your status on-line at peak times in the winter months. If you do not see that your documents have been received after three weeks, contact us at

    4. Following Decisions

    I have previously taken courses in public administration, economics and statistics courses. Will I get credits for these?

    If you accept our offer to join the MPA or PMPA, we will review your transcript(s) in the summer prior to your enrolment to determine if you are eligible for an exemption from one or more of the required courses. You will be required to take a substitute course for any core course from which you have been exempted. More information on this will be provided with notice of your exemption status.

    I have taken political studies courses in my undergraduate program. Do I have a better chance of being accepted into the MPA program? Will taking certain courses in my undergraduate program improve my chances of getting accepted?

    As previously mentioned, academic performance is the primary criterion in the determination of admission candidates. We do not give preference to candidates who have completed any particular program or studied at any particular institution, including Queen’s University.

    We welcome diversity in our classes. In each MPA class, for example, are students who have completed their undergraduate programs in as many as 25-30 different fields at more than 20 post-secondary institutions in Canada and abroad. They have a broad range of other experience and interests, all of which contribute to a rich and supportive learning environment.

    5. Deferment and Reapplication

    I have been accepted to the program but am unable to take your admission offer. Can I defer my admission to the next academic year?

    The School of Graduate Studies does not defer admission offers. Candidates who do not accept an admission offer may reapply for admission at a future date.

    We retain all applications on file for one year. If reapplying for admission within one year of their previous application, candidates may need only to submit a new application and application fee. On receipt of a new application, we will bring transcripts and letters of reference forward to the new application.

    Candidates reapplying for admission after one year must submit new transcripts and letters of reference as well as a new application.

    I declined your admission offer last year. If I reapply for admission, will I be accepted?

    Candidates who receive an admission offer are normally competitive for admission in a subsequent year, although there can be no guarantee of admission in a future year. Some admission candidates may improve their competitive status, depending on how they spend the intervening period.

    My application was refused last year, even though I met your admission requirement. Can I apply again this year? What are my chances of my being accepted this year?

    You are welcome to reapply for admission. Before reapplying for admission, it is useful to consider whether you are able to provide new or additional information that will strengthen your application and improve your eligibility for admission. For example, if you previously applied while in your final year of another program and did very well in your final term, having your final grades for the first round review may be significant to improving your competitiveness for admission.

    The size and strength of the applicant pool means that we must refuse many qualified candidates. If you just meet the minimum qualifications, were previously refused admission and have no new information to strengthen your candidacy for admission, it is less likely that we will make you an admission offer.

    When making application, please try to include on the application form all the information that you think relevant to members of the Admissions Committee in considering your candidacy.

    6. Financial Support

    Am I eligible for financial support? 

    A limited number of entrance scholarships will be awarded to select applicants whom the School of Policy Studies Scholarship Committee deem to have the strongest overall application based on undergraduate marks, statement of interest, experience, and letters of reference. These scholarships vary in amount from $2,500 to $5,000.

    How do I apply for financial support?

    A separate application for scholarships is not required. All qualified candidates who submit a completed admissions application will be automatically considered for an entrance scholarship or endowed awards held by the School of Policy Studies.

    Are bursaries available from Queen’s University? How do I apply for bursary support?

    Non-repayable grants are available to all Queen’s students who have a demonstrated financial need. This is based on, but not restricted to, the following factors: family income, number of dependents in the family, applicant’s assets (including savings), the full cost of the program of studies, books and supplies, and basic living costs.

    Generally bursary recipients are also assessing other forms of assistance such as government loans or a personal student loan or line of credit.

    Are part-time PMPA students eligible for financial assistance?

    No, PMPA students are not eligible for Queen’s graduate awards. They may apply and be considered for bursary support on the basis of demonstrated financial need.

    Will indicating financial need on my application jeopardize my chances for admission to the MPA program?

    No, not at all.

    Are there special scholarships or other funding designated for International students? How do I apply? Are student loans available to International students?

    International students are eligible for the same graduate fellowships and awards as are Canadian students. International students may also apply for bursary support and loans from Queen’s University on the same terms as others.

    7. Of Special Interest to International Students

    I do not have Internet access or a credit card to pay the application fee. Can I still apply for admission to the MPA program?

    In either of these circumstances, you may submit a paper application, accompanied by a certified cheque or money order payable to Queen’s University. To receive a paper application, please send a request with your mailing address to us at:

    What additional documents are needed to complete my application?

    These additional documents are required:

    1) Two copies of your official transcript from any post-secondary institution(s) attended

    2) Two academic letters of reference in electronic or hard copy on the forms provided

    3) Students for whom English is not a first language must also provide evidence of their proficiency in English, such as a TOEFL score (minimum 250 on the computer-based test or 600 on the paper-based test completed within the last two years), IELTS (7.0) or equivalent MELAB

    GRE and GMAT score is not required; however, the MPA Admissions Committee may recommend GRE or GMAT if they are unable to make a decision based on your transcript.

    I have one original copy of my transcript from a previous university and will not receive another copy. Can I send you a photocopy?

    Photocopies of transcripts or other supplementary documents are not acceptable. If you are unable to provide an official transcript, you may provide a certified or notarized copy of the original document(s).

    My transcript is not in English. Is it still acceptable?

    All supplementary documents must be in English. Documents originally prepared in another language must be translated and submitted with certification that the translation is a true copy.

    Can I apply first and then take the TOEFL/IELTS/MELAB and GRE/GMAT tests?

    If English is not one of your first languages, you should provide notice of your demonstrated proficiency in English at the time of your application. We will not review any application until this information has been provided. You may submit the GRE or GMAT score at a later date.

    Who do I contact to write the English Language and GRE/GMAT tests?

    For TOEFL information, please contact:

    For information on MELAB (Michigan English Language Assessment Battery), contact:

    For information on IELTS (International English Language Testing System (IELTS), contact:

    What is your institution/school code for submitting my TOEFL and/or GRE/GMAT score(s)?

    The institution/school code for TOEFL and GRE is 0949.

    Further information for International students, is available on the School of Graduate Studies’s website.

    8. Program Fees

    What is the tuition fee for the MPA or PMPA program?

    Full time students pay tuition fees, student activity fees and the student assistance levy. 

    Part time students pay course fees and the student assistance levy. PMPA students normally take four courses each year. 

    Fees are due at the beginning of each term and may be paid in full or by monthly bank debit. 

    The Office of the University Registrar publishes fee information. Please check fee tables for domestic (Canadian) and International students at

    9. Other Questions

    If you have other questions, please send them to us at:

    School of Policy Studies, Robert Sutherland Hall
    Kingston, Ontario, Canada. K7L 3N6. 613.533.3020