School of Policy Studies

School of Policy Studies
School of Policy Studies

Master of Public Administration [MPA]

Queen's MPA is a one-year, multidisciplinary program for full-time students. The program has been preparing students at the entry and mid-career levels for leadership roles in public service and policy-making for more than thirty-five years. Graduates hold positions as ministers and senior officials in all three levels of government, as well as providing leadership in hospitals, community organizations and national associations across Canada.

The program's emphasis is on public policy, and the broad social, economic and political context within which public organizations operate. The program aims to develop policy leaders. Policy leadership requires skills in policy analysis and the capacity to implement new solutions. Policy and management are clearly interdependent. Without an understanding of the basic purposes that public organizations seek to achieve through policy, management is an empty process. Without the management skills to translate commitment into action, policy goals are empty promises.


Policy and Delivery Roadmap

Policy Roadmap [image]



The MPA curriculum includes core courses in economics, policy analysis, governance, management and quantitative methods. Through elective courses in the School or other Queen's departments, and an optional master's project, students apply their skills to the analysis and resolution of concrete policy and management problems.

The School has strengths in health policy, the third sector, social policy, and global governance. Courses are normally offered in each area every year, in addition to many courses on other topics in public policy, governance, economic and quantitative analysis, and public administration. 

Classroom activities emulate organizational settings, requiring students to work together to complete projects, practise effective writing and presentation skills, use new electronic technologies and manage their time effectively.

Co-curricular Activities

Students in the MPA program also benefit enormously from the wider mandate of the School of Policy Studies to act as a bridge between the academic world and the world of public affairs. The School maintains an active program of visiting speakers, conferences and publications on critical issues of public policy, and students interested in the issues under debate are encouraged to participate. Site visits for briefings with senior policy analysts in Ottawa and Toronto in the fall and Washington, DC in the winter, enhance students' knowledge of domestic and international policy issues.

Career Support

Career support activities help students prepare for their job search and future workplace, with the majority taking up full-time employment soon after completing their MPA studies. Some students opt to combine formal studies with on-the-job training, through a four-month cooperative education placement with a government agency or other organization through the MPA Internship.

Professional Foundations is a unique series of interactive workshops, panel discussions and one-on-one coaching opportunities designed to help prepare Queen’s MPA students for their transition from graduate school to the professional workplace.  It also includes information sessions on specific employment opportunities, such as the Government of Canada’s annual Post-Secondary Recruitment program (Fall 2017) and the Ontario Government’s Summer Policy Coops as well as conversations with employer representatives from various sectors.

In 2017-18, the focus in the fall term is on “Getting a Job”; the focus on the winter term is on Career Planning.  Three workshops have been planned for each term.  Each session combines employer perspectives with best practices in job search and career planning strategies, facilitated by Christine Fader.

Fall Term

  • I.Know Who You Are:  Essential for Success
  • II.Your Resume and Cover Letter
  • III.Interviews and Other Career Conversations

Winter Term

  • IV.Options Outside “Big” Government
  • V.Professional Ethics and Values
  • VI.Getting It Right on the Job

Resume reviews in the fall and mock interviews in the winter supplement these workshops and employer information sessions.  The School also maintains a password-protected employment board and resources for MPA students. 

Professional Foundations is coordinated by Lynn Freeman, Associate Director, School of Policy Studies and Christine Fader, Career Specialist, Queen’s Career Services, with support from Jamshed Merchant and numerous other faculty.   MPA student representatives are also members of the Career Planning Committee to support and advice on program offerings.

Coop/Internship Employment

A majority of students choose to complete a coop or internship, normally with the Government of Canada, Ontario Public Service or other government agency, in the summer or fall, following completion of their MPA studies. Such opportunities provide valuable on-the-job training for new entrants to the workforce and sometimes serve as a direct bridge to new employment with the same or another employer.

A limited number of awards are available in the Fall Term to help coop students meet tuition and relocation expenses.

Together these activities contribute to a rich and rewarding learning experience that is unsurpassed in Canada and matched only by the best public policy programs in the world. Students surveys and the high placement rate enjoyed by our graduates confirms the value of the Queen's MPA experience! 

Networking Opportunities 

Throughout the year there are numerous opportunities for current students to meet Queen’s MPA alumni in informal and more formal settings.  Recent graduates regularly lead panel discussions as part of the Toronto and Ottawa briefings and participate in Professional Foundations; they attend speakers and other special events; and may sometimes be willing to share their experience with current students.   Some actively seek to recruit new graduates to their workplaces.

Our faculty and fellows, generous with their time, are also often willing to facilitate contact between a current student and a member of their professional network