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Carleton SPPA

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Sask-Regina JSGS
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Singapore LKY
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Syracuse Maxwell
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UCLA Luskin
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Virginia Batten
Warwick PAIS
Waterloo MPS
Washington Evans
Western LGP
York Glendon
Carleton Paterson
Columbia SIPA
Toronto Munk
NYU Wagner MPA with Int Spec'n
Rutgers (Bloustein)


MPP/MPA Programs

Carleton University, School of Public Policy and Administration (SPPA) - MAPA

Program Comparison Highlights

Institutional Structure: Carleton's Master of Arts in Public Administration is delivered through the School of Public Policy and Administration, an academic unit within the Faculty of Public Affairs. Most teaching staff hold faculty appointments within the School. Unlike many such schools in other universities, SPPA delivers only one professional Master's degree; other cognate professional degrees such as the MA in international affairs are delivered by other academic units. With annual admissions of approximately 70, the Carleton MA is one of the largest MPP/MPA programs in Canada and in the top quartile in North America.

Curriculum Design: The Carleton MAPA degree requirement of 15 courses is in the middle quintile of the programs reviewed. Our PEACO calculations below suggest that typical students take about 76% of their coursework in policy-oriented subjects and 23% in management-oriented subjects. Typical students take about 23% of their coursework in subjects with high math-economics content. This places the Carlton MAPA in the "medium course requirement, policy-oriented, higher math-economics content" curricular type, along with such programs as the American University MPP and the Syracuse MPA.  Among peers in its curricular type, the Carleton MAPA has an average proportion of required courses, a relatively high number of program-specific courses on offer and a very high proportion of the coursework of a typical students is in program-specific courses taught within the school. The competency gap analysis below suggests that a Carleton MAPA student taking the required courses and a random selection of listed electives would, on average, graduate with approximately 28 course-weeks of shortfall in the core-competency subject matter identified in MPP/MPA Core Competencies, including shortfalls of 9 course-weeks in Leadership Skills, and shortfalls of 3 or 4 course-weeks each in Communication Skills, Democratic Institutions and Policy Process, Ethics and Accountability, and Evaluation and Performance Measurement. 

Professional Program Features: The Carleton MAPA makes extensive use of current and former practitioners in its teaching. Its courses do not use case studies as intensively as some other programs but most of its courses do involve specific public policy and management applications. Students have access to professional development modules, career counselling services and co-curricular activities with a professional focus. There are no courses with a requirement for undertaking a project with an institutional client. There are 9 research centres and initiatives and many of the faculty have a moderate to active practice-orientation in their research.

Program Summary


University: Carleton University

Location: Ottawa, Canada

Degree: Master of Arts in Public Administration (MAPA)

Marketing Approach: "Canada’s oldest and largest multi-disciplinary graduate school, the School of Public Policy and Administration at Carleton is dedicated to producing leaders in public service. After 60 years as a leader in education for public administration, SPPA has several thousand alumni, many of whom occupy top positions in governments across Canada and around the world, as well as in the private and voluntary sectors. ... Our Master of Arts in Public Administration is a professionally relevant academic degree that provides a strong foundation in both the theory and practice of public sector management and policy analysis. ... Academically rigorous and professionally relevant, the School’s multidisciplinary MA program provides students with a blend of analytical and professional skills in preparation for diverse careers working in or with government, private and non-profit organizations, or for further graduate study in areas relevant to public policy and administration." (At and, accessed 30 January 2014.)

Degrees Awarded per Year: TBD [Information will be requested from the School]

Academic Unit within University: School of Public Policy and Administration within the Faculty of Public Affairs. This faculty is also home to the Departments of Political Science and of Economics, as well as the Norman Patterson School of International Affairs and the Schools of Social Work and of Journalism and Communication.

Affiliated Research Centres: SPPA has 9 affiliated research centres and initiatives: Carleton Centre for Community Innovation; Centre for Urban Research and Education; Centre for Governance and Public Management; Carleton Sustainable Energy Research Centre; Carleton Research Unit on Innovation, Science and Environment; Centre for Women in Politics and Public Leadership; Regulatory Governance Initiative; and Ontario Network for Sustainable Energy Policy (see accessed 6 July 2014).

Posted Tuition: $7,453 per year for domestic students entering in 2013 (at

Concentration/Curriculum Overview: The MA program is multidisciplinary, and can be completed in four terms of full-time study.  It provides students with a blend of analytical and professional skills that will prepare  them  for a career in the public sector, or for further graduate study.  See the Graduate program for details.

During the first year of the program, students focus on the core courses that address the central political, economic, organizational and normative aspects of public policy issues.  In that first year, students typically take seven core courses which provide the basic skills and knowledge that are essential for a career in the public and non-profit sectors, and which also prepare students for the elective courses that they will take in the second year of the program.  During the second year, students customize the program according to their personal or professional interests by selecting elective courses from four concentrations.

  • The Policy Analysis Concentration covers the theory, methods and practice of policy analysis, as well as the specific issues and challenges of certain policy fields.
  • The Public Management Concentration focuses on the institutions and practices of modern states, including the theoretical and technical approaches to accountability, leadership, evaluation, fiscal control, ethics, and organizational development.
  • The Innovation, Science and Environment Concentration considers  the problems  that confront governments, firms and society in making and implementing innovation, science and environment policies.
  • The International and Development Concentration examines the economic and social problems confronting citizens, national administrative systems and policy makers in different jurisdictions throughout our increasingly integrated and competitive world.

Students have the opportunity to conduct independent research by including a directed study, research essay or thesis among their electives.  What is more, they are able to gain professional experience during the degree by participating in the Co-operative Education Program. Most of the co-op positions are with the federal public service, but positions are also available with provincial, territorial and municipal governments, as well as the private and non-profit sectors.

Degree Requirements

Summary: In the first year, students typically take seven core courses which provide the basic skills and knowledge that are essential for a career in the public and non-profit sectors, and which also prepare students for the elective courses that they will take in the second year of the program.  During the second year, students customize the program according to their personal or professional interests by selecting elective courses from four concentrations. To complete a concentration, students must complete at least four of the courses listed as electives for that concentration. A course cross-listed between concentrations qualifies for either concentration but may count toward only one of them.

Duration: 2 years (four terms of full-time study).

Number of One-Semester-Equivalent Courses Required for Completion: 15

Number of Required Courses: 7

Number of Electives Typically Taken (difference between above two entries): 8

Number of Electives Offered within Program: 44

Comprehensive Examination: No

Thesis Required: No

Internship Required: No

International Study Required: No

Co-curricular Activities Supportive to Degree

Professional Development and Career Support: Not described on website

Student-run Journal: Not described on website

Applied Projects: Not described on website

Pro Bono Consulting: Not described on website

Courses Offered: The full list of 2013-2014 SPPA courses for Fall 2013 are found at and those for Winter 2014 are found at and many have course outlines. (Note that course outlines for courses delivered in the 2012-13 academic year can be found at: and With permission, students can also select graduate-level courses offered by other units at Carleton University. The courses offered by the School of Public Policy and Administration in the two-semester academic year of 2013-14 have been assigned to Atlas subjects in the map below. Required courses are indicated by (R). Courses used by the Atlas as Illustrative Courses are marked with an asterisk (*).

Course Outlines and Syllabi Online:  Carleton SPPA provides syllabi for most of its courses at

Instructional Distribution (PEACO Profile): The table below indicates the distribution of instruction offered, based on the course assignments to subjects in the Course Map below, weighted by estimated enrolment determined by the PEACO Algorithm.

Curricular Type Parameters
Number of Courses Required for Graduation 15.0
Math-Economics Subjects (EA, QM, Macro, Fin Markets) 23.4%
Policy-Oriented Subjects 76.4%
Management-Oriented Subjects 23.6%
Enrolment-Adjusted Course Distribution
Analysis and Skill Subjects 34.6%
  - Policy and Management Analysis 11.2%
  - Economic Analysis 6.7%
    - Quantitative  and Analytic Methods 16.7%
  - Leadership and Communication Skills 0.0%
Institutions and Context Subjects 20.1%
  - Democratic Institutions and Policy Process 7.8%
  - Ethics, Rights and Accountability 1.1%
  - Socioeconomic, Political, and Global Contexts 11.2%
Management Function Subjects 10.2%
  - Public Financial Management 2.3%
  - Evaluation and Performance Measurement 1.1%
  - Other Management Functions  6.8%
Policy Sector Subjects 35.0%
  - Macroeconomic Policy 7.8%
  - International Development 4.5%
  - Health 3.4%
  - Other Policy Sectors 19.3%
                              Total 100%
Core Competency Gap Analysis (in Course-Weeks)
Course-Weeks in Core Subjects taken by Typical Student 129
Surplus or Shortfall Relative to Core Competency Requirement
  - Policy and Management Analysis (CCR = 18 course-weeks) 2
  - Economic Analysis (CCR = 12) 0
  - Quantitative  and Analytic Methods (CCR = 12) 2
  - Analytic Methods (CCR = 6) 10
  - Leadership Skills (CCR = 9) -9
  - Communication Skills (CCR = 3 courses) -3
  - Democratic Institutions and Policy Process (CCR = 18) -4
  - Ethics, Rights and Accountability (CCR = 6 courses) -4
  - Socioeconomic and Political Context (CCR = 6) 8
  - Global Context (CCR = 3) 3
  - Public Financial Management (CCR = 6) -2
  - Evaluation and Performance Measurement (CCR = 6) -4
  - Human Resource Management (CCR = 3) -1
  - Information and Technology Management (CCR = 3) -1
  - Macroeconomic Policy (CCR = 6) 8
  - Environment and Sustainability (CCR = 3) 3
Subject-Matter Shortfall for Typical Student (Sum of Shortfalls)  -28


Source: At and related sites (last accessed 24 February 2015).

Page Created By: Ian Clark on 15 September 2013, last updated 21 April 2015. Updating and editing may consist of substantive and/or formatting changes. Unless otherwise noted, however, information regarding a program's structure, curricular offerings and PEACO score is based on the program as it was on the date of page creation. The content presented on this page, except for the assignments of courses to Atlas subjects, the Instructional Distribution analysis, and the Commentary is drawn directly from the source(s) cited above, and consists of direct quotations or close paraphrases.


Carleton SPPA Course Map
 C o u r s e s  O f f e r e d,  l i s t e d  b y  P u b l i c  P o l i c y  a n d  M a n a g e m e n t  S u b j e c t

Analysis and Skills

 Policy and Management Analysis

  PADM 5116: Policy Analysis and Contemporary Governance (R)*
  PADM 5411: Organization Theory*
  PADM 5415: Strategic Management in the Public Sector*
  PADM 5472: The Politics of Management - Thinking like a Manager*
  PADM-5472 Managing Policy and Process in a Federal Government Policy Organization*

 Economic Analysis

  PADM 5111: Microeconomics for Policy Analysis (R)

 Quantitative Methods

  PADM 5114: Research Methods and Design II (R)
  PADM 5218: Analysis of Socio-Economic Data

 Analytic Methods

  PADM 5215: Cost-Benefit Analysis*
  PADM-5272: Risk Assessment and Management*
  PADM 5113: Research Methods and Design I (R)

 Leadership Skills

 Communication Skills

Institutions and Context

 Democratic Institutions and Policy Process

  PADM 5117: Public Management (R)*
  PADM 5413: Law of Public Authority I

 Ethics, Rights and Accountability

  PADM 5412: Ethics and Accountability in the Public Sector*

 Socioeconomic and Political Context

  PADM-5115: Introduction to State and Society (R)*
  PADM 5213: Gender and Public Policy*

 Intergovernmenatal and Global Context

  PADM 5421: Globalizing Public Management - Measuring and Monitoring Governance*
  PADM 5872: Global Social Policy
  PADM 5211: Canadian Intergovernmental Relations*

Management Functions

 Public Financial Management

PADM 5214: Budgetary Policy in the Public Sector*
PADM 5416: Budgetary Management for the Public Sector*

 Evaluation and Performance Measurement

PADM 5420: Policy and Program Evaluation*

 Human Resources Management

  PADM 5418: Human Resource Management

 Information Management and Technology

  PADM 5472: Technology and Public Administration*

 Local Government Management

 Regulatory Policy and Management

  PADM-5220: Regulation and Public Policy*

 Nonprofit Management and Advocacy

  PADM-5815: Civil Society Organizations and Development*
  PADM 5212: Public Policy and Civil Society - Options and Issues in Financing the Third Sector*
  Carleton PADM-5423: Third Sector Governance and Management*




Policy Sectors

 Fiscal, Montetary and Tax Policy

  PADM 5112: Macroeconomics for Policy Analysis (R)
  PADM-5223: Economic Policy in Canada*

 International Development

  PADM 5818: Theories of Development*
  PADM 5816: Program Evaluation in Developing Countries
  PADM 5813: The Evolution of World Bank/IMF Policy*
  PADM 5814: Program and Project Management

 Public Finance and Social Policy

  PADM 5224: Aboriginal Policy - The North*
  PADM 5228: Social Policy


  PADM 5221: Health Policy in Canada*
  PADM 5222 - Economics and Health Policy
  PADM-5229: The Health of Populations*


  PADM 5227: Education Policy

 Employment, Labour and Immigration

 Cities, Urban and Regional Development

  PADM 5422: Urban and Local Government*
  PADM 5619: Urban Sustainability

 Environment and Sustainability

  PADM 5618: Environmental and Ecological Economics*
  PADM 5620: The Science, Politics and Economics of Global Climate Change
  PADM 5572: The Politics and Policy of Water

 Agriculture and Resources

  PADM 5616: Natural Resource Management*

 Science, Technology and Innovation

  PADM 5611 - Science, Technology and Innovation Policy*
  PADM 5672: Innovation Policy

 Industry, Trade and Investment

  PADM 5612: Industrial Policy, Innovation and Sustainable Production
  PADM 5225: Trade Policy*

 Energy, Transport and Infrastructure

  PADM 5515: Sustainable Energy Policy*
  PADM 5615: Politics and Policy of Energy in Canada*
  PADM-5510: Energy Economics*

 Defence, Security and Foreign Relations

 Policing and Justice Administration

 Arts and Culture

 Financial Markets

  PADM 5472: Responsible and Impact Investing

Important Notices
© University of Toronto 2008
School of Public Policy and Governance