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Degree Requirements

Academic requirements for our graduate program can be found at Faculty of Graduate Studies—Program Requirements.


MPPAL courses cover the essential curriculum that forms the core of any public policy and administration program, but they also include substantial original content focused on a more comprehensive consideration of social justice issues, public law, administrative law, public sector ethics, and human rights.

Students move through three conceptual modules, with 9 credits in each:

  • Public Management and Finance;
  • Law, Administration and Ethics; and
  • Public Policy and Analysis.

Each module must be completed in its entirety. The last module provides students with the option of completing a research paper or a public policy issue and development course.

Students normally progress as a cohort. The specific order in which courses are taught may vary from year to year (see Current Course Schedules). However, students must complete the Research Methods and Information Systems and Program Evaluation and Public Policy Analysis courses in Module 3 before embarking on the Major Research Paper.

The Public Management and Finance module emphasizes the skills, knowledge, and behaviours that are essential to an effective lower-middle level public sector manager. These include a firm understanding of the basics of public administration, as well as effective change management, leadership, human resources management, public finance, and accountability mechanisms.

PPAL 6000 3.0 - Public Management
An introduction to the major themes of Canadian public administration in the context of multicultural diversity and globalization. The course reviews the machinery of government, the development of public policy, the management of change, risk management, and business-government relations.

PPAL 6010 3.0 - Leadership and Human Resources Management
With a particular emphasis on the public sector environment, this course examines the role of the leadership and the human resources management function in developing policies and practices which contribute to the achievement of public service objectives.

PPAL 6020 3.0 - Public Finance and Accounting
This course teaches students the basic principles of finance and accounting that are relevant to the public sector (balance sheet, income statement, cash-flow statement, notes to financial statements, cost-benefit analysis) and includes an overview of the public sector budgeting process and the management and control of public sector expenditures.

Law, administration, and ethics is designed to provide students with the tools to deal competently with legal and ethical matters in public affairs.

PPAL 6100 3.0 - Canadian Constitutional Law
This course provides students with the key concepts in constitutional and administrative law that they need to function effectively in the public sector at all levels. The impact of judicial review, the rule of law, multiculturalism and diversity are highlighted.

PPAL 6120 3.0 - Administrative Law and Ethics
This course covers the basic principles of public sector ethics, and shows how the principles behind privacy and access to information legislation are derived from these ethical principles. Codes of ethics and ethics counsellors are examined.

PPAL 6130 3.0 - Equity, Policy, Law and Planning
An examination of the public service response to diversity, including approaches to strategic and operational planning that emphasize public consultation. The focus is on rights, equality, difference, and the impact of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms on good policy development practices.

[within Module 3, students must complete PPAL 6200 and PPAL 6210 and one of either PPAL 6230, and PPAL 6250.]

Public policy and analysis is designed to provide students with a firm understanding of the skills of program evaluation, and with relevant analytical tools regarding public policy development and the public policy cycle.

PPAL 6200 3.0 - Research Methods and Information Systems
This course provides students with the basic knowledge necessary for the systematic collection of data in the public service, for understanding such data, and for using management information systems effectively, as well as an introduction to e-government.

PPAL 6210 3.0 - Program Evaluation and Public Policy Analysis
This course provides students with the analytical tools needed to evaluate a public sector program. This includes identification of goals and objectives, survey research methods, cost-benefit analysis, choosing appropriate indicators of success, and the role of program evaluation in the policy cycle.


PPAL 6230 3.0 - Topics in Public Policy
This course allows students to investigate areas of public policy of specific interest to them. Students meet in class and conduct an independent reading project to learn approaches to the analysis of public policy, undertake research, and present papers on their specific public policy interests/research.


PPAL 6250 3.0 – Major Research Paper
An independent research project leading to a major research paper on a policy field of choice (e.g. e-government, health policy, environmental policy, justice policy, social welfare policy, transportation policy, foreign affairs policy, taxation policy). Students will have the opportunity to share their projects with other students in their cohort at a final research seminar.


  1. Completion of the core course, PPAL 6140 3.00 Court Organization and Management (also cross-listed as GS/LAW 6719 3.00)
  2. An internship (to be completed by all students without substantial work/work related experience in the justice system)
  3. A Major Research Paper (MRP) or Topics in Public Policy course paper, related to justice system administration.

Note that for all students except those master’s students registered with the Schulich School of Business or the Faculty of Environmental Studies, PPAL 6140/LAW 6719 is an additional requirement, over and above the regular degree requirements, and may not be counted toward the course requirements for the masters or Doctoral degrees.

For graduate diploma students registered in Schulich or ES programs: Graduate diploma students must write a research paper beyond the normal degree requirements on a topic related to justice system administration approved by the Coordinator.

For any questions about the diploma, please contact Prof. Soren Frederiksen, the diploma coordinator, at

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The Graduate Program in Public Policy, Administration and Law at York is an exciting environment to pursue innovative, socially engaging, career-ready education. Contact our Graduate Program Administrator to learn more.