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.
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.
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 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.
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!