School of Policy Studies

School of Policy Studies
School of Policy Studies

Frequently Asked Questions about...


The PMPA Program

What is the difference between the Professional MPA and full-time MPA programs?

The degree is the same; the learning experience and class schedule are different. The Professional MPA program is designed for individuals with significant employment experience in the public sector or policy-making roles who wish to continue in full-time employment, while pursuing graduate studies in public policy and administration with other in-career professionals.

The MPA program is a one-year, full-time program. The majority of MPA students are recent university graduates who are looking to develop their skills and knowledge in governance and policy analysis for entry-level roles in the public and not-for-profit sectors.

Admission Qualifications

I completed a three-year undergraduate degree many years ago.  May I enroll in the Professional MPA program?

Professional MPA applicants who do not meet the normal academic requirement for admission, i.e. a four-year undergraduate degree, with a minimum B+ (or GPA 3.3) in the last two years of study, must provide other evidence of superior academic potential. This may be demonstrated by superior academic performance in formal degree studies, post-degree studies at the senior undergraduate or graduate level, or a strong score on the Graduate Admission Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT).

I have a four-year undergraduate degree with great grades and four years employment experience in the public service.  May I enroll in the Professional MPA program?

Professional MPA applicants must have five years of professional experience at the time of their enrolment in the program as well as meeting the academic qualification.

Application Process

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

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

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

You may check the on-line application service to see what documents are received, noting that it may take the School of Graduate Studies a few days to update your status on-line. If you do not see that your documents have been received after a reasonable time, contact us at

I am a Queen's graduate. Do I need to make arrangements to have my transcripts sent to you?

An applicant who previously attended or currently attends Queen’s University may email the School of Policy Studies, with his or her student number, and request that the School obtain a unofficial transcript for their application file.

When will my references be contacted?

On the submission of your application, with payment of the application fee, the School of Graduate Studies will contact your referees by email if you have provided their names and contact information as part of your application.

You should advise your referees that they will be contacted by email.  You may wish to follow up with them soon following the submission of your application to ensure that they have received the electronic reference form (and that it has not been relegated to their JUNK mailbox).  Any missing documentation will delay the review of your application.

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

For assistance in completing the reference form, referees should contact Queen's Graduate Studies by email at or by telephone at 613.533.6100.

May my referee(s) submit a letter of reference in place of the reference form?

Referees, especially those who know an applicant in a professional setting, may submit a letter of reference, rather than complete the online reference form.

What should I do if I want to provide 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 and application number on each page of an attachment sent to us by email.

Can I send supporting documents before I submit my application?

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

When can we expect notice of an admission decision?

Our goal is to provide notice of decision to all PMPA admission candidates (who have submitted a completed application) within one month of the completion of their file, beginning in May.

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 a few days to update the status of your application, especially at peak times in the winter months.

If you do not see that your documents have been received after three weeks, contact us at

Advanced Standing

I have previously taken courses in political science, public administration and economics.  Does this qualify me for advanced standing in the program?

When your application is being reviewed for admission, any overlap between previous degree studies with the Professional MPA curriculum will be identified. You may be granted an exemption from one or more of the core courses. In each case, you will be required to take a substitute course in place of any required course from which you have been exempted.

Only graduate courses that have not credited towards a degree, diploma or certificate, will normally be considered for advanced standing on admission to the Professional MPA program.

Deferment and Reapplication

I have been accepted to the program but am now unable to begin my studies as planned.  May 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 in a future year.

We retain all applications on file for one year. If reapplying for admission within one year of a previous application, candidates normally need only to submit a new application and application fee. On receipt of the new application, we will bring transcripts and letters of reference forward to the new application. By sending an advisory email to, application documents will be expeditiously brought forward to the new application file.

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

My application was refused.   How can I improve my eligibility for admission?

Professional MPA applicants must meet two qualifications.  They must normally have a four year undergraduate degree with a minimum B+ standing in their last two years of study and five years of employment experience in the public sector or related activities.

An applicant who does not meet the minimum academic requirement may take a minimum of two fourth-year or graduate courses , with a B+ standing, to demonstrate their superior academic potential or earn a strong score on the Graduate Admission Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Admission Text (GMAT).

An applicant with less than five years of related employment experience may reapply when he or she meets this qualification.

Can I apply to take one or two courses, without formally applying to the Professional MPA program?

Yes. If you meet the minimum academic and employment qualifications for admission, you may apply to take up to two courses as a special student in one academic term. Special students may enroll in elective courses only.

You must submit a formal application, with the requisite application fee, to the School of Graduate Studies and indicate at that time the courses in which you propose to enroll as a special student. You must also submit two copies of academic transcripts from the post-secondary institution(s) that you have attended. ;

Program Fees

What is the tuition fee for the PMPA program?

Professional MPA students pay tuition fees for each course in which they enroll.    Fees are due at the time of registration and may be paid in full at the beginning of the term or by monthly bank debit. A modest student assistance levy is also assessed each term.

The Office of the University Registrar (OUR) publishes fee information each year.  For further information, see:

Other Questions: Please send them to: