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Hands-on Courses

Earn course credit – plus essential, in-demand employable skills and experience in our field. You’ll get an unpaid part-time position within an organization where you will focus on a clearly defined project. This opportunity allows you to network within your chosen field and develop valuable work experience while also putting theory into practice.

The School of Public Policy & Administration has four unique experiential courses to choose from. Do not miss out on these opportunities to enhance your CV! These courses have a proven track-record of translating into jobs. Honours standing recommended.

AP/PPAS 4111 3.0 – FALL; AP/PPAS 4112 3.0 – WINTER

The current state of the international refugee protection regime will be examined to reveal the underlying forces and dynamics at the root of the critical problems and the probable solutions facing those seeking international protection. The second course in the series analyzes specific international asylum and refugee issues from an interdisciplinary perspective. Students will conduct independent research on international asylum and refugee issues and will have an Experiential Education opportunity with an organization working with refugees.

Past partner organizations include: YMCA; New Settlement Services; FCJ Refugee Centre; Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture (CCVT); Sojourn House; and UNHC

AP/PPAS 4200 6.0 FALL/WINTER 2023-2024

An applied analysis of specific areas of public policy chosen to reflect current public debates. Students apply their knowledge of policy analysis in the context of case studies and/or real world projects with community partners.

Prerequisites: 78 credits including AP/PPAS/POLS 3190 6.0 Public Administration.
Course credit exclusions: AP/PPAS 4300 6.0, AP/GL/POLS 4300 6.0.
Recent partner organizations include: ServiceOntario, Ontario Ministry of the Environment, City of Vaughan Emergency Planning, Ontario Legislature Internship Program, United Way of Greater Toronto, Institute of Public Administration of Canada, Association of Municipal Managers, Clerks and Treasures of Ontario and National Ballet School of Canada.

AP/PPAS 4310 3.0 – FALL 2023; AP/PPAS 4320 3.0 – WINTER 2024

Provides students with the fundamental methodological tools necessary to evaluate the effectiveness of government and NGO programs. Students will learn to develop research designs for formative evaluations, summative evaluations and needs studies. Students will have an opportunity to put research designs into practice for program evaluations in partnership with public and not-for-profit sector organizations.
Both courses must be taken in the same year.

Prerequisites: AP/PPAS/POLS 3300 6.0 Statistics for Social Sciences or similar undergraduate course.
Past partner organizations include: Institute of Public Administration of Canada; Municipal Governments: City of Toronto, City of Vaughan, City of Richmond Hill, Town of New Market, Town of Aurora; Ministries of the Ontario Government: Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs; Attorney General; Children, Community and Social Services, Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade; Education; Environment, Conservation and Parks; Government and Consumer Services, Health, Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries; Infrastructure; Labour, Training and Skills Development; Long-Term Care; Municipal Affairs and Housing; Natural Resources and Forestry; Solicitor General; Transportation.

AP/PPAS 4995 6.0 – FALL/WINTER 2023-2024

Public policy and administration students in their fourth year may take an independent, individually supervised reading and research course, which combines volunteer work experience in an agency with an academic analysis of that experience. Enrolment is by permission only and permission will be granted only in September depending on the number of placements available and the competitiveness of the student pool. In the meantime, students should put their name on the wait list form for this course.

Prerequisite: AP/PPAS/POLS 3190 6.0 or equivalent or permission of the course director. 
Recent Past partner organizations include: Municipal Governments: City of Vaughan, Ministries of the Ontario Government: Attorney General; Children, Community and Social Services; Solicitor General; Transportation; Public and Business Service Delivery and Treasury Board Secretariat.

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Looking to collaborate with our students on projects?

We welcome all government and non-profit organizations to contact us and submit student projects.

Experiential Education Partner Testimonial from the 2021-22 Academic Year

We were impressed with how the students engaged and listened to us in order to ideate, and make recommendations for TACoE. We were equally impressed with the resiliency of the team, when they were faced with real life organizational experiences, such as changing deadlines, modifications of proposals by the clients, or restrictions to data they wanted due to security or privacy concerns. With each new challenge the team pivoted to provide us with an appropriate response. Ultimately the student team developed three different recommendations for TACoE, all of which were informative and useful. This was an experiential learning opportunity for TACoE, which challenged my team to think creatively and laterally about the work we do.

— Ruth Bankey

Principal Policy Analyst for the Research and Innovation Lab Directorate and the Head of the Text Analysis-Analytics Center of Expertise (TACoE), Canada Revenue Agency


What is a placement?

You will apply for a position within an organization, where you’ll practise and develop the skills learned in your course.

Will I be paid?

No. You’ll receive course credit because each placement experience is tied to a particular course. 

Will I be graded?

Yes. You’ll be assigned a supervisor who will guide you through the experience and evaluate your performance. 

How long is the placement?

You will work part-time so you can continue your studies. The length varies by course. 

How do I apply?

You’ll get a job description that outlines the application process, which usually involves a resumé and cover letter, interview and references. 

Will I be insured while on placement?

Students who are on an unpaid placement are fully insured by York University. 

In my placement, I worked alongside the Safety Policy and Education Branch at Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation to develop safer transportation policy. Through coursework, I have also delivered team projects with the City of Vaughan and the Ontario Legislature Internship Programme. These opportunities to translate classroom experience into practical environments were paramount to polishing my skills and served as key examples when it came time to interview.

— Gurkamal Dhahan
BPA, Class of 2020

Learn more from current students and alumni.

Alumnus Gurkamal Dhahan