Skip to main content

Waterloo MPS

Go Search
New Atlas
Atlas, A-Z
Atlas Maps
MPP/MPA Programs
Core Topics
Illustrative Courses
Topic Encyclopedia
Concept Dictionary
Career Tips
Best Practices Project

MPP/MPA Curricular Types
Program Rankings by Curricular Attributes
Curriculum Comparison Tables - North America
Curriculum Comparison Tables - Outside N. America
Professional Program Features
Patterns in Specialization
Comparisons with International Affairs Programs
PA & IA Degrees from THE Top 50
Noteworthy Practices
Credit and Course Equivalencies
MPP/MPA Core Competencies
PEACO Algorithm
Albany Rockefeller
American SPA
ANU Crawford
Arizona State SPA
Beijing Normal
Berkeley Goldman
Bocconi Milan
Brunei IPS
Calgary SPP
Cambridge POLIS
Canberra SGP
Carleton SPPA
Carnegie Heinz
Chicago Harris
Colorado SPA
Columbia SIPA
Concordia DPS
Cornell CIPA
Dalhousie SPA
Duke Sanford
Edinburgh AoG
ÉNAP Québec
Exeter Politics
FGV Brazil
Florida Askew
GW Trachtenberg
Georgia SPIA
Glasgow SSPS
Griffith GBS
Harvard Kennedy
Hertie Berlin
Hong Kong DPPA
Illinois Chicago
Indiana SPEA
Jindal Delhi
Kansas SPAA
King's SSPP
LSE Inst Pub Aff
LSE Government
Macquarie PIR
Maryland SPP
Melbourne MSG
Michigan Ford
Michigan State PS
Moncton DAP
New Mexico SPA
New South Wales
NYU Wagner
North Carolina
Northwestern SPS
Ohio Glenn
Oregon PPPM
Ottawa GSPIA
Ottawa SPS
Oxford BSG
Pennsylvania Fels
Pittsburgh GSPIA
Princeton Wilson
Queen Mary SPIR
Queen's SPS
Rutgers SPAA
Ryerson DPPA
Sac State PPA
Sask-Regina JSGS
SciencesPo Paris
SF State DPA
Simon Fraser SPP
Singapore LKY
Stanford GPPP
Sydney GIR
Sydney GSG
Syracuse Maxwell
Tenn State CPSUA
Texas Johnson
Tokyo GraSPP
Toronto SPPG
UCLA Luskin
UC London SPP
USC Price
Victoria SPA
Vic Wellington
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 and MPA Programs

University of Waterloo, Faculty of Arts - MPS

Program Comparison Highlights

Institutional Structure: The University of Waterloo Master in Public Service is a collaborative program within the Faculty of Arts. 

Curriculum Design: The Waterloo MPS is relatively recent addition to the Canadian public affairs Master's landscape. The program’s first class of graduate students began the program in September 2010. Its curriculum is distinctive in at least three respects: 1) it is specifically focused on training for civil service positions; 2) all its courses (except for a spoken French course) are designated as required, and, for the co-op stream degree, 3) a mandatory two-term co-op placement. Our PEACO calculations below suggest that typical students take about 55% of their course work in policy-oriented subjects and 45% in management-oriented subjects, and that about 30% of the courses have a high math/economics content. This places the Waterloo MPS in the "medium course requirement, management-oriented, higher math-economics content" curricular type, along with such programs as the Albany MPA and the Rutgers MPA (see MPP/MPA Curricular Types). The competency gap analysis below suggests that Waterloo MPS students graduate with approximately 38 course-weeks of shortfall in the core-competency subject matter identified in MPP/MPA Core Competencies, including shortfalls of 6 course-weeks in each of: Public Financial Management; Evaluation and Performance Measurement; and Macroeconomic Policy. On the other hand, this student would graduate with well over the minimum competency requirements in Economic Analysis; Democratic Institutions and Policy Process; and Socioeconomic and Political Context.

Professional Program Features: The program includes the essential professional feature of required co-op placements. Its website does not currently list former practitioners or research activities.

Program Summary


University: University of Waterloo

Location: Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Degree: Master of Public Service (MPS), Master of Public Service Co-op (MPS Co-op)

Marketing Approach: "A professional training program for Canada's next public servants. The Master of Public Service is a graduate co-op program that equips students with the knowledge, skills, and experience they need for a public service career at any level of government in Canada." (At, accessed 13 May 2015.) "Unlike graduate programs in public policy, the MPS program aims to prepare students for a range of public service responsibilities. Unlike existing graduate programs in public administration, Waterloo's co-op program contains a structured range of courses, a required 8-month co-op work term and a collaborative team project where you investigate a pressing public issue and produce a professional policy report." (At, accessed 13 May 2015.) 

Degrees Awarded per Year: Enrolment in the MPS program is typically around 44 students per year. (At, accessed 13 May 2015.)

Academic Unit within University: A collaborative program within the Faculty of Arts.

Posted Tuition: Students can expect to pay approximately $16,000 for the 20-month, full-time program, plus co-op fees ($616 per co-op term), at accessed 13 May 2015. 

Concentration/Curriculum OverviewMPS students complete ten advanced graduate courses from September to April, taught by instructors from a range of academic disciplines, such as Accounting, Economics, English, French, Political Science, and Sociology. They also benefit from the participation of senior-level public servants, who give special seminars and lead classes. From May to December, they complete eight months of co-op employment with a government department or agency. The final program component is a Major Team Project, in which teams of students simulate a realistic public service assignment, leading to a professional, thorough analysis of a salient public issue. (At, accessed 13 May 2015.) The program is described as intensive: "While UW graduate regulations state that full-time graduate students may work up to 10 hours per week outside their program, MPS students are strongly advised against doing part-time work during the first two terms of courses. Students will be very busy with their five required courses, and should not jeopardize their program achievements with extra-curricular work. During the two terms of co-op work, students will be earning an income. During the final term (5th term), when students are back on campus for their major project, part-time work outside the program MAY be manageable." (At, accessed 13 May 2015.) 

Degree Requirements

Summary: When applying to the Master of Public Service program, students have the option of taking the Co-op program or the Regular program. The full-time Master of Public Service Co-op program takes 20 months to complete. The program of study includes ten required courses, eight months of co-op work, and a major team project. Students may also complete the program in 12 months without co-op, if they have at least one year of paid public sector experience.

Duration: Co-op Program Structure: 20 months (two terms of full-time study, 2 co-op terms, 1 term major group project); Regular Program Structure: 12 months (two terms of full-time studies, 1 term major group project)

Number of One-Semester-Equivalent Courses Required for Completion: 14

Number of Required Courses: 14. 

Note 1: The two required co-op terms are counted as 2 one-semester-equivalent courses.
Note 2: The required major group project term is coutned as 2 one-semester-equivalent courses.

Number of Electives Typically Taken (difference between above two entries): 0

Number of Electives Offered within Program: 1

Note 3:  PS 616 Spoken in French Context is an optional course, taken as "extra to degree", which means that it appears on a student's transcript, but the grade does not count toward their academic average.

Comprehensive Examination: No

Thesis Required: No

Internship Required: Yes, for the Co-op Program option.

International Study Required: No.

Co-curricular Activities Supportive to Degree

Professional Development and Career Support: Yes. Career advisor arranges seminars and workshops on resume writing, interviewing, etc.  Students have online access to government and employment opportunities.

Student-run Journal: Not referenced on program website.

Applied Projects: Yes, the Major Group Project.

Pro Bono Consulting: Not referenced on program website.

Courses Offered: The full list of 2014-2015 MPS courses are found at

Note 4:  The above course listing includes two economics courses and no financial management courses while the program listing at includes two financial management course and no economics courses. Our PEACO calculations and Course Map are based on the former.

Course Outlines and Syllabi Online: The School does not post its syllabi on its website.

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


Math-Economics Subjects (EA, QM, Macro, Fin Markets)


Policy-Oriented Subjects


Management-Oriented Subjects


Enrolment-Adjusted Course Distribution

Analysis and Skill Subjects


  - Policy and Management Analysis


  - Economic Analysis



  - Quantitative  and Analytic Methods


  - Leadership and Communication Skills


Institutions and Context Subjects


  - Democratic Institutions and Policy Process


  - Ethics, Rights and Accountability


  - Socioeconomic, Political, and Global Contexts


Management Function Subjects


  - Public Financial Management


  - Evaluation and Performance Measurement


  - Other Management Functions


Policy Sector Subjects


  - Macroeconomic Policy


  - International Development


  - Health


  - Other Policy Sectors




Competency Gap Analysis (in Course-Weeks of Instruction)

Course-Weeks in Core Subjects taken by Typical Student


Surplus or Shortfall Relative to Core Competency Requirement

  - Policy and Management Analysis (CCR = 18 course-weeks)


  - Economic Analysis (CCR = 12)


  - Quantitative Methods (CCR = 12)


  - Analytic Methods (CCR = 6)


  - Leadership Skills (CCR = 9)


  - Communication Skills (CCR = 3 courses)


  - Democratic Institutions and Policy Process (CCR = 18)


  - Ethics, Rights and Accountability (CCR = 6 courses)


  - Socioeconomic and Political Context (CCR = 6)


  - Global Context (CCR = 3)


  - Public Financial Management (CCR = 6)


  - Evaluation and Performance Measurement (CCR = 6)


  - Human Resource Management (CCR = 3)


  - Information and Technology Management (CCR = 3)


  - Macroeconomic Policy (CCR = 6)


  - Environment and Sustainability (CCR = 3)


Subject-Matter Shortfall for Typical Student (Sum of Shortfalls)


Additional Parameters

Total Courses Listed


Courses Designated as Required (inc. Specialization Reqs)


Archetypal Public Affairs Subjects (P&MA, EA, QM, DI&PP)


Archetypal International Affairs Subjects (I&GC, ID, DS&FR)



Source: At;;;; (accessed 25 September 2013).

Page Created By: Laura Davidson on 2 October 2013; updated by Ian Clark on 19 June 2014 and Dave Marshall on 3 April 2015. Last updated by Ian Clark on 13 May 2015.

Waterloo MPS 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

  PS 618-Public Policy Development (R)

 Economic Analysis

  PS 625-Economics and Public Policy I (R)
  PS 626-Economics and Public Policy II (R)

 Quantitative Methods

  PS 624-Research Methods & Data Analysis (R)

 Analytic Methods

  PS 621-Project Management in Government (R)

 Leadership Skills

  PS 620-Effective Leadership and Management (R)

 Communication Skills

  PS 614-Communicating with Diverse Audiences (R)
  PS 616-Spoken French in Context

Multiple Subjects

 Capstone Courses, Internships, Major Projects, Theses, etc.

  Co-op Work Terms (2R)
  Major Team Project (2R)

Institutions and Context

 Democratic Institutions and the Policy Process

  PS 611-Government, Politics & the Public Service (R)

 Ethics, Rights and Accountability

 Social and Political Context

  PS 613-The Politics of Difference in Canada: Challenges and Policy Responses (R)

 Intergovernmental and Global Context

Management Functions

 Public Financial Management

 Evaluation and Performance Measurement

 Human Resources Management

 Information Management and Technology

 Program and Service Delivery

 Regulatory Policy and Management

 Nonprofit Management and Advocacy

  PS 623-Government, Business, and Civil Society (R)

Policy Sectors

 Macroeconomic Policy

 International Development

 Social Policy and Welfare



 Employment, Labour and Immigration

 Cities, Urban and Regional Development

 Environment and Sustainability

 Agriculture and Resources

 Science, Technology and Innovation

 Industry, Trade and Investment

 Energy, Transport and Infrastructure

 Defence, Security and Foreign Relations

 Policing and Justice Administration

 Arts and Culture

 Financial Markets

 Other Policy Sectors

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