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Queen's University

School of Policy Studies

Advanced Standing and Off-Campus Course Approval

Students in the MPA and PMPA programs may seek approval for advanced standing in graduate courses that they have taken before entering the program and may also seek approval to take off-campus courses as part of their MPA/PMPA program. Requirements and procedures for seeking these approvals are summarised below. 

Course eligibility criteria 

The School of Policy Studies applies the same eligibility criteria to advanced standing and off-campus courses. Courses submitted for approval must be: 

  • offered for credit by an accredited institution in a graduate degree program; 
  • evaluated (i.e. include assignments or exams that are graded); 
  • of comparable credit weight to graduate courses offered at Queen's University; 
  • related to public policy and administration as the type of course that SPS would offer in its MPA/PMPA program but is not offering at the time the application is made; and, 
  • cannot duplicate work already completed by the student. 

Advanced standing 

The School of Graduate Studies provides that: 

Credit may be given to students for prior coursework completed in another program when appropriate. Such requests are considered on their individual merits. Where the request is accepted by the appropriate graduate co-ordinator and approved by the Graduate Committee for Planning and Policy Programs, the student’s coursework requirement within their graduate degree program at Queen’s will be reduced accordingly. In exercising its discretion in this regard, the Graduate Committee will generally apply the following guidelines: 

  1. The prior course was not used by the student to obtain a degree. 
  2. The prior course was not used to obtain admission. 
  3. The prior course does not duplicate the content of another course taken by the student. 
  4. The course is equivalent in hours and level to the course within the Queen’s program for which it is to substitute. 
  5. A graduate course from the Queen’s program taken as part of a co-ordinated degree program may be considered for advanced standing, notwithstanding 1. and 2. above. 

In addition to these criteria, the School of Policy Studies requires that applications for advanced standing be: 

  • for a maximum of two courses; and 
  • made at the time of application but no later than during the first week of the first term of a student’s enrolment in the Queen’s MPA program. 

Applications should be sent to the MPA Coordinator and must include a transcript showing that a minimum “B” grade has been achieved. 

Off-campus courses 

MPA and PMPA students enrolled at Queen's University may be permitted to take up to two elective courses at another institution, as a visiting student or on exchange study. Courses approved for advanced standing are considered to be equivalent to off-campus courses and so count towards this maximum i.e. if one advanced standing course has been approved, a student may only seek approval of one off-campus course; if two advanced standing courses have been approved, no off-campus course approvals may be sought. 

All students completing courses off-campus must arrange to have two copies of their original transcript, showing final grades in courses completed at another institution sent to the School of Policy Studies. A student must obtain a minimum “B” grade to receive MPA degree credit for courses completed off-campus. 

Approval Process 

For both advanced standing and off-campus study, students must submit a formal written request to the MPA Program Coordinator that must include a copy of a sufficiently detailed course outline that it can be assessed against the above criteria. If a sufficiently detailed course outlines is not available, it is the student’s responsibility to obtain additional information from the offering institution. 




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